Last update: 05-Dec-2013 3:57 pm
Thursday, December 05, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Rowley accuses govt of blocking IMF report
Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley says the Government has effectively blocked the International Monetary Fund from publishing its report on the prevailing economic status of this country. Rowley said the decision was made before the presentation of the 2014 budget last month and the report which was produced was still unavailable. He was speaking at a political meeting at Edinburgh 500, Chaguanas, on Monday as part of the party’s campaign for the October 21, local government elections.
Rowley gave a reason why the Government opted to keep the report secret. “We suspect and we know there were some serious considerations for the budget debate in that (IMF) report, not the least of which is the humongous amount of subsidies the Government is paying from the Treasury to certain State enterprises and other bodies which would alarm the people of this country,” Rowley said. He identified WASA as one of the State enterprises which was a beneficiary of such subsidies.
Noting that WASA was formerly under the Public Utilities Minister, Rowley said a Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources was created by the Prime Minister for Ganga Singh, a former acting CEO of WASA. Rowley said WASA’s “humongous numbers (debt) would have been noticed by the IMF and it would have commented on it.”
Parliamentarians would also have used that information against the Government in the budget debate, he said, so the Government decided to “just not give permission (to the IMF) for it to be made known.” He said there were numerous other similar instances which would have required the Government to account. The Diego Martin West MP said the removal of the subsidy to national airline Caribbean Airlines Ltd and the subsequent injection of significantly higher funds would have been also commented on by the IMF in its report.
“This Government is one of deceit,” Rowley added. He said the Government was simply concerned about looking good for the local government elections on October 21 and the November 4 by-election in St Joseph. Finance and the Economy Minister Larry Howai and Singh could not be contacted for comment on Rowley’s claims. Rowley described Jack Warner’s Independent Liberal Party as “a conman show, a one-man show, it is Jack Warner play-thing.”
Rowley said polls which claimed the upcoming elections were basically a fight between the PNM and ILP were baseless and manipulated by Warner himself.
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