Monday, September 5, 2011


To say that the contributions of the PNM Opposition in the State of Emergency (SoE) debate in Parliament over the weekend were pithy and uninspiring is to put it mildly. The primary purpose of an Opposition in a democratic Parliament is to present achievable alternatives for or to a particular problem. Instead of coming to the Parliament with real ideas and proposals just about every Opposition speaker from Keith Rowley to Amery Browne (and everybody in between) simply attacked the Government with criticisms that on occasion were overtly racist in both tone and content and provided absolutely no alternatives to the present imbroglio.

As readers of this blog will have noted, I am one of those who is most concerned about the end result. I too have said (and continue to say) that there has to be a well thought out strategy to be able to take the country up over and out. But, I have made it clear (or tried to at any rate) that I cautiously support the Government in this SoE and that I am dearly hoping that they do in fact succeed. The fact that I can't discern an 'end game' strategy does not mean that there isn't one. And no, I personally do not have at this time any 'end game' solutions. So, we should all just sit and wait ... at least for a while. Put another way, I am prepared to give the Government a chance to make things right. Heck! it is in my/our interests that they do make things right.

But life has to go on, and one of the most important events of the year is just around the corner ... and that is the presentation of the annual budget. No thinking person in the country cannot help but be concerned. We have seen the TT dollar over the last 15 or so months slip from about TT$6.30 to US$1.00 down to about TT$6.47 to US$1.00! And the Minister of Finance has behaved as if this is no big thing and of no great concern to him. In talking to persons who should know they tell me that the main reason for this 'slippage' is because wealthy Trinidadians are taking their money out ... in other words, they do not have confidence in the Government's overall ability to manage the economy and they are betting on a continuing slide or devaluation.

Now, I have spoken with several Government Ministers and other spokesmen who assure me that the budget will change things radically for the better and that we are going to see fairly soon some big projects that will turn on the flow of dollars once more ... indeed, the Prime Minister herself spoke in Parliament over the weekend of a huge $40 billion project that is about to be launched for Invaders Bay. But these big projects have to start coming on stream now ... and 'now' means now!!

What also needs to happen is for the Minister of Finance to start to tell the country what his plans are in advance of the budget. People need hope that things will get better. One of the ways of giving them that hope is to explain to the population how you are planning things to make their lives better and what exactly you are planning. We need to see the plans and be able to understand them. We need to have an idea of when things are likely to start turning around. And we need to understand why you think that it will take the time that you say. Or, as I have said before: Explain! Explain!! Explain!!!

1 comment:

  1. Dear Senator,

    I read your latest blog about the State of Emergency.

    You make a very important point in that people will support the government's actions as long as they have hope things will get better. Let's hope that the Finance Minister will heed your advice in the upcoming budget and provide the people of Trinidad and Tobago with something that will fulfil that promise.

    Kind regards...