Crude oil prices continued to linger near the US$80 per barrel level on which this country’s budget is based yesterday.
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Samaroo: No signs of 1990
Prof Brinsley Samaroo says even though there are pockets of dissatisfaction everywhere as there have always been in the country, it is not sufficiently widespread to cause any serious disruption to the society. Samaroo was the former agriculture minister in the ANR Robinson-led NAR Government and gave evidence before the Commission of Enquiry into the 1990 attempted coup. He said, “I really don't see any signs of unrest similar to 1990 at this particular time.
“One of the major reasons being that people are generally doing quite well, the unemployment rate is quite low at just about four per cent. “In 1990 it was around 14 per cent, I'm not seeing that upswelling of dissatisfaction.” Samaroo said in 1990 the country was experiencing difficulty due to serious economic depression at that time, and the fall in oil prices played a key role in triggering the uprising. He said the country was now on a virtual economic high, which made the chances there would be another coup minimal.
Samaroo said the country was enjoying a good deal of prosperity, with the numerous cars on the road leading to unprecedented gridlock. He said the people were generally happy and satisfied, judging by the number of fetes, bazaars, and leisure activities they indulged in.
Samaroo said, however, there were always fringe elements of the population that were unhappy, such as the trade unions. He said for labour or political reasons, these groups found it in their interest to stir up as much discontent as possible.
Samaroo said it was mainly centred in the Port-of-Spain/Laventille area and was not widespread.