The recent public statements by the TTMA which indicated that some manufacturers have not yet been paid for goods delivered to Venezuela which formed part of a trade deal fostered between the governments of our nation and Venezuela in 2016 is not only proof of this government’s failed commitment to the manufacturing sector but also signs of a government which continues to abandon its responsibility of protecting our nation’s economic framework.
We in the Opposition were always concerned with this agreement given the economic hardship being experienced by the Venezuelan Government as well as this Government’s track-record of incompetence. As a result, in my capacity as the Member of Parliament for Pointe a Pierre I posed several Parliamentary Questions to the Minister of Trade and raised this issue in a number of Parliamentary debates to ascertain if Manufacturers were being paid in a timely manner. The Minister on each occasion would respond by saying that some payments were still being received for shipped goods. It is therefore unacceptable and irresponsible that over one year since these questions were first posed and over two years since goods were first shipped to Venezuela manufacturers have not been adequately compensated.
The full blame for this scenario must be placed at the feet of the Minister of Trade and Industry; Paul Gopee Scoon who was quite enthusiastic when this project was launched but yet months after, when the public relations and political mileage were maximized we have heard of no further steps to ensure all outstanding payments are collected. This was a government to government initiative and therefore certain questions must be asked; “Why has the Minister failed to take a trade delegation to Venezuela to have this issue sorted? Did Government, knowing that Venezuela would not be able to keep its financial commitment just use our manufacturers as a bargaining tool to gain access to Venezuelan natural gas?”
They called the Opposition Members unpatriotic when we questioned these deals however the issues presently surrounding these non-payments demonstrate why the Opposition did so. Therefore our nation must remain vigilante and find no comfort in the signing of the Dragon Gas Deal which took place yesterday in Venezuela as this could be all about Public relations and political gimmicks as was seen with this trade deal.
Member of Parliament for Pointe a Pierre & UNC Deputy Political Leader