Planning and the Economy Minister Dr Bhoendradatt Tewarie says Trinidad and Tobago is being prevented from advancing because of politics.He was making his contribution to yesterday's Senate debate on a Government motion to increase water rates to companies on the Point Lisas Industrial Estate. The new rate is to be introduced next month.
Tewarie said the People's Partnership Government was elected for a five-year term and should be allowed to serve its full term. However, he said, the Opposition was using almost every national issue as a means to destroy the Government.He said he was particularly concerned about Opposition Senator Fitzgerald Hinds' use of a newspaper article to attack the Government yesterday.
"We create the conditions in which, when one Government comes into office, we will make sure that it achieves nothing or make sure that we help it to fall before the five years, or make sure that we make governance impossible," the minister said.He added: "And then, when the next Government comes into power, we spend the other five years doing the same thing. The end result of that is zero."
After a short pause, Tewarie said those remarks were probably said "inappropriately because of the nature of the document (motion) before us for debate today. "But I say it because of the manner I saw Senator Hinds use the article in the newspapers and because of my own knowledge of what happens in this country."
Tewarie said at a more appropriate occasion he may elaborate on that issues "because I have learnt from the state of emergency and the things I have seen, that this country is not sometimes what it seems."Tewarie said the culture of a nation "is affected by the way its leaders create the conversation in the public space."He added: "This kind of thing worries me. It worried me when the state of emergency came up as an issue and the manner in which that was dealt with.
"Two years from now when you look at the facts you will see that a lot of it (attacks by the Opposition) was alarmist and unnecessary. "It worried me when the state of emergency came to an end and people were making various statements of a certain kind and in two years' time you will realise it was all huff-and-puff."He said every issue in T&T created conditions for intense, unnecessary, politically expedient accusations that "lead us nowhere as a country."
Tewarie said T&T was facing many serious challenges. "The challenges are going to become fiercer in the coming years. This very water that we are talking about is going to be a major challenge in Trinidad and Tobago," he added.He pointed out that Bermuda, which could fit in Tobago five times, had a per capita income of $60,000. "A country like the Cayman Islands, which is hardly a piece of land on the water, has a per capita income of nearly US$55,000."
Tewarie added: "Trinidad and Tobago must get to the point where it can make a quantum leap in per capita income terms; also in terms of equity and spread and development strategy that allows the whole country to benefit out of the development process."He said a lot of things which happened in T&T must be made visible so the population would have a better understanding of things.
The minister said part of "our responsibility as leaders is to help them to see more clearly, not to create the conditions for more clouds, more nebulousness, more lack of discernment, more uncertainty about what is true and what is not."He said the leaders of T&T owed citizens "more than anything else is, at least, a disposition to clarity."