On behalf of the United National Congress and as Chairman of the UNC, I wish to extend New Year’s greetings to all citizens of our twin-island state as we prepare to face the realities of 2016.
As you know, we recently held our internal election in which members of our party chose me to be the UNC chairman for the next two years. I take my added responsibilities as seriously as those of the parliamentary representative of the people of Pointe-a-Pierre.
Politics is about people and advancing their welfare and that is the main philosophy that has guided our party since its birth, 26 years ago. During that time we have always focused on keeping an open dialogue with the people, this helped shaped our policies in government for the eleven years that our party held office.
I want to assure you that as we navigate the rough waters under the PNM administration our party would remain vigilant at all times, seeking your interests and keeping the Dr. Rowley administration accountable to you.
We are entering uncharted political waters with a government that is both vindictive and divisive. This is compounded by a lack of vision and no clear policy on how to deal with the downturn in our economic fortunes caused by the collapse of oil and gas prices.
The past Government led by UNC leader and former Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar understood the problem and had devised measures to cope with the economic issues without transferring hardships to the population. Sadly, the present administration has done the opposite of this.
Instead of pursuing feasible plans to take us through these tough and challenging times they have chosen to blame the predecessor government for everything and at the same time impose hardships on the people. That is the reality we face from an administration that never had a plan and continues to govern on an ad hoc basis, creating strategy impulsively and whimsically instead of having a reasoned, professional approach to dealing with issues for the benefit of all citizens.
However, I wish to assure you that the UNC remains up to the task and our leader is committed to maintaining a strong alternative government to represent your interests while keeping the government accountable every step of the way.
While the government presents a picture of doom and gloom the UNC knows that we can be optimistic about the future because we have a plan to deal with these tough times. We understood the problem and developed plans to cope without having to transfer the burden to you.
For the last 5 years our Peoples Partnership Government achieved unprecedented delivery with no new taxes imposed on the population. In less than 120 days this vicious Rowley government has increased the price of fuel, will be imposing VAT on the majority of the 7000 food items that our government made zero rated and are threatening increased utility rates and the return of the dreaded property tax. Not one laptop has been delivered and their latest attack has been the non-replacement of textbooks for our students.
As we enter 2016 let us keep faith in our future as one people and work hard to create the just society in which all of us are equal and where we can all enjoy our freedoms in the democratic society we all helped create. I have faith in you and I have faith in our party as the only political institution to take us back to prosperity.
Let us resolve to reject divisiveness and tribal politics in 2016. Let us resolve to work together to bring about the change that is necessary to free us from the present dilemma. If we work together we can achieve great things.
We will continue to work with you and I promise that our party will never fail you. Better will come if we believe in ourselves and our future and work to create the change that will benefit each of us.
We of the Opposition do not see the members of the PNM as our enemies. They are really our fellow citizens. Their leaders sometimes mislead them in order to serve their self-seeking interests. We will always welcome all citizens into our fold. We will also always work with you and seek your help to build a better Nation. Let us free ourselves from Sectoral and Partisan interests. Let us seek the greatest good for the greatest number. Let us spread happiness always on the wings of our own individual and collective success. Let us start now to rebuild our people and our Nation.
On behalf of our political leader and the rest of our UNC family I wish you a happy, constructive, positive and forward looking 2016
United National Congress