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He can’t see clearly
Finance Minister Colm Imbert has to be like blind singer Stevie Wonder, as he clearly can’t see T&T’s real situation, says Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
“It’s not about percentages and figures (which Imbert referred to), it’s about the people. While he paints a rosy picture of recovery, people are home, jobless, wondering when the recovery will come for them,” Persad-Bissessar added in Parliament yesterday in response to Imbert’s mid-year review boasts.
“But it’s the same old, same old paradigm by Government plus: people are living in poverty, at the mercy of criminal elements, depressed over joblessness, T&T’s now a nightmare republic.
Life in this country has never been so nasty, brutish and short as now.”
She added: “So when you ‘turn the corner - as he claims T&T’s doing - you’re really seeing a cliff in front of you.”
Replying to Imbert’s positive energy sector news, Persad-Bissessar said nothing has really changed.
“He (Imbert) remains handcuffed to the energy sector, which is exposed to external shocks. Same paradigm as before. But the energy sector can’t put us on a sustainable path and he’s said nothing about how Government will increase production and incentivise the sector,” she said.
Persad-Bissessar called out Government for “maxing out” its overdraft with the Central Bank. She also noted that the Rowley-led Government had earned more revenue in its first three years than her People’s Partnership government did in its first three years.
“Yet they suffering the people with taxes! Where the money gone?”
Persad-Bissessar said Government had fooled the people, calling for belt-tightening, “and now you’re saying things ‘booming’! Why didn’t you spend the money - why did you allow a child to die?”
“You had the money, what do you have to show for spending $110 billion in three years - nothing tangible! The only things PNM has delivered on is taxes! They had revenue, but they chose to spend less than $4.60 cents a day - less than the price of doubles. All of that for (Imbert) to come and beat his chest now and say ‘how great am I’.”
She said Imbert had failed to deliver on his 2016 promise to balance budgets by 2018.
“Today he says we still have a deficit, so he failed to bring balance. PNM stands for ‘Promises Never Materialise’.”
Persad-Bissessar also slammed Government’s allocation on Tuesday of $796 million from the Infrastructure Development Fund to 18 divisions for specific projects.
“If things are ‘booming’ so much now, why take it from the IDF. This shows Government’s failure to generate revenue despite a host of taxes,” she said, calling for Government to stop taxing the public.
She added that Imbert’s proposed share-sales of Clico assets would only raise revenue in a one-off effort. She also said the Prime Minister and “his merry men” will soon be jetting off to the Far East while the new “Galleons’ Passage” ferry is down with water pump problems in Mexico.
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