Good afternoon and thank you for coming to the UNC East-West Corridor People Centre.
We continue today with our screening exercise as we prepare for the upcoming local government elections.
The enthusiasm and the number of people putting themselves up to serve and take Trinidad and Tobago forward is a clear sign that the country is ready to shake off the scourge of the Keith Rowley administration.
Yesterday, we learned of the Government’s newest and possibly most expensive distraction, the decision to set up a Commission of Enquiry into the acquisition of land for the Point Fortin Highway.
I indicated that this is the latest example of the Keith Rowley-led administration to deflect attention from his Government’s incompetence, mismanagement and inability to govern.
We are in the fourth year of this PNM Government, and after they have spent over $229 billion, there is nothing to show for it. Keith Rowley’s Six Game changers have turned into six massive failures.
I started yesterday and I reiterate today – if there is any evidence of any wrongdoing, deal with this in law.
The Government mentioned the decision was based on a report by the Ministry of Works which supposedly claims there were discrepancies in the process. We call on the Government to make this report public immediately.
What Rowley needs to do, is have a commission of inquiry into what happened to the more than $229 BILLION spent over the last 4 years with citizens still unable to access basic health care, with tens of thousands of jobs lost, roads and bridges in disrepair, government buildings lacking maintenance, police offices needing to be abandoned because they are unsafe, Ministries being starved of funds for basic supplies of toiletries to public servants, some staff not being paid for months, suppliers being owed millions for everything from health supplies to construction work.
Why doesn’t PM Rowley have a Commission of Enquiry into the Minister who it is alleged took 21 million dollars in cash bribe from a contractor engaged in roadworks even before the ink on the contract would have dried? Now the contractor after paying his inducement upfront cannot get paid for his work.
Where the 229 billion gone?
Where the money gone?
The lives of average citizens have become worse under Rowley.
Imagine in Trinidad and Tobago people have no jobs to take care of their families, lack proper housing, have latrines and Rowley’s solution is to build a pool for them to swim in.
We need a commission of inquiry into why hundreds of millions were spent to destroy the sea bridge to Tobago, to cancel a contract and then cover up the millions spent behind boats that kept shutting down operated by companies with all kinds of question marks, secret deals stink of corruption.
Everyday citizens are being fired, retrenched and losing jobs. And instead of creating investment, he is seeking to give more taxpayers millions to his friends.
People have been suffering for 4 years, many surviving in fear of how to make ends meet daily… because the PNM believes all they are worth is a two-month job before election and promises they have no intention of keeping.
ASK YOUR PRIME MINISTER WHERE THE MONEY GONE?
The country already knows… big shot friends, family and financiers of the PNM. They get by the millions for 4 years….what have the people got?
This Commission of Enquiry set up by the PNM is a farce, given that it is intended to look into the process of land acquisition of this project, to determine whether there is any ‘breach of duty’ or any potential criminal or civil liability by any person or entity involved in the process.
If the report which was mentioned by Minister Stuart Young is as damning as he would like people to believe, why not take the matter to the authorities?
We do not support putting on this show, which will cost taxpayers millions of dollars when there are serious issues that are affecting people that need to be addressed.
Commissions of Enquiry are used for matters of serious public importance; what is the serious public importance here?
Under the Government I led, we conducted Commissions of Enquiry into:
- The CLICO Collapse- Affected a large cross-section of the public
- The HCU Collapse- Also Affected a very large cross-section of the public
- The 1990 Coup attempt – Affected the entire country
- Las Alturas – extremely significant as it dealt with serious building deficiencies that stood to severely impact the lives of persons who were to call those buildings home. It also dealt with the gross negligence of Keith Rowley as Minister of Housing at the time and Noel Garcia as managing director.
Those are issues that required serious ventilation by the use of a COE.
The issues raised by the Minister were quite narrow in nature, that is, they are simply to deal with Valuation Issues. So is it really necessary to have a full Commission of Enquiry to determine such an issue? A COE is used for much broader issues, as it stands, this will be a complete waste of resources.
The Government has been engaging in procurement of goods and services in the absence of fully implemented public procurement legislation. They have shown that they cannot be trusted.
They’ve claimed “savings” in the Curepe Interchange project, however the public deserves to know who benefitted from the State’s acquisition of land in this project – particularly, the well-known Kay-Donna drive-in property which is purportedly owned by a Government Minister.
Additionally, the family of the Attorney General is collecting rent money with no lease, this also warrants immediate investigation.
I stress again that the Government I led followed proper processes in executing this project, which has greatly benefited the people of South Trinidad.
This Rowley Government is one that has run out of ideas and is running on the fumes of their 2015 election campaign.
The people of Trinidad and Tobago elected this government to lead not to blame the UNC for five years.
As we move closer to elections, we expect that this Government, bankrupt of ideas, will try more tricks and attempts at maligning the United National Congress.
Expect more political witch hunts in the weeks and months ahead, because this Government has done nothing for the people of Trinidad and Tobago and have only sought to take care of their friends, family, and financiers.
Again, I ask what of the $100 million in fake oil by the Prime Minister’s “bestie”? Where is the investigation into this serious matter?
The Government moved with haste to shut down Petrotrin and send thousands of workers home, and today we are hearing of problems with at least one of the companies – Paria Fuel. If anything warrants a Commission of Enquiry – this is one.
I want to ask the people of Trinidad and Tobago – now that the Government has announced this – do you feel better? Has this made your lives better in any way? I’m sure the answer is no, because this does not do anything to address the problems people are facing on a daily basis.
I urge you – do not be distracted, do not be fooled by these attempts to cast aspersions on the UNC. The UNC will continue to work towards improving the lives of people, and preparing to return good governance to our nation.
The citizens of this country deserve decisive and competent leadership during this difficult time. The people of this nation are fed up. I am calling on Dr. Rowley to give the people of this nation what they are calling for – call the General election now.