Elections are in the air and as some would term it “silly season.” There are many exorbitant and unrealistic promises being made by political parties. We all know the rhetoric and at a time when the economy is being stabilised, the more parties make unrealistic and vague promises, the more citizens become skeptical of their true intentions.
It is amusing and sometimes vexing to hear political parties who recently had their term in office criticise a government for things they themselves failed to do during their tenure. The call to diversify the economy without any strategic or operational plan is always one of the anthems political parties sing when attempting to get into government. No political party has said what they would have done with Petrotrin if they were in government. Opposition parties simply say it could have been handled better which may have some merit if “handled better” could be more specific. In addition to settlement packages and land for former employees, the opposition needs to say what they would have done differently.
Will these parties bring back Petrotrin if elected or if they were in government would they have continued to play political football and allow losses of $2 billion annually as suggested by the Finance Ministry. New life has been given to the energy sector with the birth of Heritage Petroleum as a leaner organisation poised to return the petroleum industry to profitability.
Dr Rowley has held the mantle and kept the country out of the hands of the IMF. Citizens realise that an IMF programme would have meant many demands. One such demand which is normal under an IMF programme could have been cutting public service jobs by as much as 20 per cent which could have translated into the loss of around 10,000 jobs. Would the Opposition have gone to the IMF instead of making moves to generate the much needed additional revenue internally?
The Opposition is promising to create 50,000 jobs but how, when and where? These are the questions which are never answered on the campaign trail during this silly season. The former administration has been branded by some as the most corrupt government in our nation’s history but they have not promised to stamp out corruption much less ventured to say how, if at all. The population wants to know that a government will make the right decisions and the difficult decisions, not with a focus of staying in power but in the best interest of all the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago. So while many are making promises be sure to consider who can deliver stability, progress and good governance.
Editor’s note: Ronald Huggins is a former PNM Senator.
St Joseph, via email