THE words and claims of the Leader of the Opposition are nothing but weapons of mass distortion and his latest allegations about Government advertising has once again proven that he cannot be trusted to speak the truth to the people of Trinidad & Tobago.
This according to Trade, Industry, Investment and Communication Minister, Vasant Bharath in a statement to the media where he sought to once again correct deliberate misinformation being fed to the public by Dr Rowley.
“The Opposition Leader appears to be knocking from pillar to post, saying whatever comes to mind and hoping something gets picked up in the news. Dr Rowley is now claiming that $26M was being used through the Government Information Service Limited as political campaigning, and that he intends to write to the Integrity Commission. However, he stopped short of giving details because his information is completely incorrect and another deliberate distortion of the truth,” Minister Bharath said.
“Publicity and advertising by Government Ministries are part of broad measures used to account to the public and inform on progress by the nation and people as a whole. The People’s Partnership approach to advertising carries with it a very strong mandate for Government to remain fully accountable to the people of Trinidad & Tobago and we must ultimately ensure that accountability is not compromised.”
The Minister added: “What Dr Rowley did was to call a figure that he felt would attract news coverage, even if it meant deliberately misinforming the public. But what he didn’t say was that the previous PNM Government, of which he was part as a silent facilitator, actually spent $366M on public relations in just three years. Now that is what you call naked abuse of public funds for political campaigning.”
“We must recall that PNM expenditure on “promotions, publicity and hosting” was $107M in 2009, $128M in 2008 and $131M in 2007. These are facts that were revealed to the Parliament in 2011 in a review of draft estimates from the last year of the previous administration. And it should be noted that this was while they allocated only $110M for the operations of the Parliament, the seat of democracy, in the 2010 budget, a figure which we have now adjusted to almost $200M ($195M) by the 2015 budget.”
Minister Bharath also added: “So here it is he is again distorting facts to create illusions of corruption because he has nothing to fight, yet he is failing to explain why in three years, his own Government spent far more on public relations even in the midst of a global financial crisis and spending cuts. What this latest distortion proves once again is that Dr Rowley simply cannot be trusted to be truthful to the public, and cannot be relied upon to state the facts as they are.”