Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley spent two hours on his feet in the House of Representatives Friday rebutting the Budget Speech presented last Monday by Finance Minister Senator Larry Howai without presenting sound arguments or verifiable data to demonstrate his suggestion that the People’s Partnership government presented a “shameless” fiscal package.
In a media release Friday, the PRO of the United National Congress (UNC), Rodney Charles, said, “What was interesting about Dr. Rowley’s presentation was a clear commitment to return to policies of the former Manning PNM administration, which the people overwhelmingly rejected in 2010.
“Principal among them was talk of a return to Vision 2020, a suggestion to bring back the hated property tax and a pledge to establish the T&T Revenue Agency, which would have cost the country nearly half a billion dollars and put more than 2100 workers on the breadline.”
Charles also noted Dr Rowley’s pledge to commission another mass transport study that cost the taxpayer $565 million and the PP government is still paying back the loan for that project.
“So having wasted more than half a billion dollars on that project that the people rejected, Rowley is now planning to spend more for a feasibility study, which he plans to ignore, and then proceed to build a mass transit system that is not feasible and too costly,” Charles stated. He also noted Rowley’s plege to build smelters, which have been scrapped, while at the same time questioning gas supplies for an energy plant to be built by Mitsubishi Corporation.
The UNC official said Rowley based his whole argument on a “fiscally irresponsible” government and praised the PNM government that he himself had called the most corrupt ever. “He was fired in 2008 and then proceeded to call the Manning government the most corrupt ever and accused them of excessive waste,” Charles declared.
The Opposition Leader sidestepped the question of “Baby money”, intentionally ignoring the rationale for the measure to help underprivileged citizens and suggested that the government did not have a clear plan. “He deliberately ignored statements made by the PM to clarify details of the plan,” Charles said.
“This is a people’s measure that is part of the Kamla Persad-Bissessar government’s overall plan for poverty eradication,” Charles noted, adding that it demonstrates a commitment from the Prime Minister to use the country’s wealth to help every citizen.
Charles referred to a statement in the Express newspaper, “Of all the arguments made against this measure, the most absurd is that the $500 per-month will encourage women to recklessly make babies…In any case, $500 a month is hardly sufficient incentive to have a child. But it can make a significant difference to a mother trying to make ends meet with a household income under $3,000.”
Charles said, “Dr Rowley’s contribution for two hours demonstrated clearly that he and the PNM have no clue about what is required to run a government. He did not present any clear critique of the budget that has been supported by all but the PNM and he certainly did not show a plan beyond the failed PNM policies that he himself rejected.”
For further information please contact: Rodney Charles – Phone: (868) 322 1766