Government’s mid-year review of the economy revealed two important lessons that under this PNM Trinidad and Tobago is slowly but surely becoming a failed state. Additionally, the PNM has no plan to change this trajectory.
The mid-year review provided Finance Minister Colm Imbert opportunities to report on the impact of his fiscal and monetary policies, to show citizens how their taxes are being spent and how effective the PNM’s management of the public purse has been. He had nothing of substance to report.
While the Rowley-led administration tried and failed to paint a happy picture, international economic rating agencies did not. Last month both Standard and Poor’s and Moody’s downgraded Trinidad and Tobago, with Moody’s citing “weak policy execution” noting that “Government efforts have promoted only limited economic diversification.” To put it bluntly, this Government has no plan.
Every opportunity Rowley and his colleagues have had to present a cohesive and data driven plan to move the country forward they have wasted, instead choosing to be condescending, obfuscatory and arrogant. They refuse to answer direct policy related questions because they simply cannot admit their inability to take this country forward.
The highly respected “Economist” lists Trinidad and Tobago as one of the ten fastest shrinking economies in the world, in the company of Libya, Venezuela and Syria.
The CIA’s World Factbook chart of real growth rate comparisons list TT at 212 out of 225 “countries”, falling well below our CARICOM neighbors and only out performing war-torn “nations” like Syria and the Gaza Strip. And still this Government will not admit that it is hopelessly out of its depth.
Their abject failure in dealing with national security and Trinidad and Tobago’s image globally has affected investor confidence and our tourism thrust. In May 2017, Canada updated its travel advisory on Trinidad stating, “you should exercise a high degree of caution due to a high crime rate.” Similar advisories have been echoed by the UK and US. Still this Keith Rowley administration refuses to articulate a single policy that would have a demonstrated impact on crime. They are content to list activities instead of measurable outputs.
Trinidad and Tobago’s reputation has taken a major hit globally with several major international publications exploring ISIS links to Trinidad. Examples include the New York Times article in February “Trying to Stanch Trinidad’s Flow of Young Recruits to ISIS”. Fox News notes that this country is the largest per capita source of Isis recruits in the Western Hemisphere and MSNBC’s contributor Malcolm Nance informed the world that Trinidad has more terrorist ties than countries placed under the US travel ban. Meanwhile, Keith Rowley, his Minister of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs and Minister of National Security, have all been remarkably ineffective in combating this negative international press. They prefer to keep their heads buried in the sand.
The fact remains that no one in this PNM administration has a plan to deal with any of the many crises facing this country. They have tried to blame the former Prime Minister, Mrs Kamla Persad Bissessar and her administration but as the national accounts are being updated there is mounting evidence that PNM met more reserves, savings and revenues than they reported. They met sound plans to promote growth through emphasis on the blue, silver and green economies. They took a stable economy and effectively destroyed it.
They promised that they were red and ready but after nearly two years we know this is a blatant lie. Citizens are feeling the brunt of PNM ineptitude, with the highest crime rate in years, a shrinking economy, job losses and a demoralized citizenry. Trinidad and Tobago simply cannot survive five years of this incompetence.