Following the recent local govt elections, a call for a general elections is being made. The grounds for such an election are at best spurious and unwarranted. It therefore amounts to the political rhetoric of the season. What are the facts surrounding the governance of the country by the Peoples Partnership?
In 2010, the country was being touted as a failed state. Today the country has seen a reversal in negative growth and for the last four quarters has seen growth in its GDP averaging between 1.2 and 1.5 percent. And this growth comes in the wake of the CLICO and HCU matters which have been resolved in the interest of the depositors.
Secondly, the confidence in TT as an investment destination has improved with new foreign investment of approximately 2.5 billion US dollars coming in the last year. It is during the tenure of this administration that the Japanese brought their first investment mission to TT in 19 years resulting in a major joint venture. The number of high level visits from China, USA and Latin America is testimony of the new image of TT in the international community.
Apart from these notable achievements, food production has made a positive contribution to GDP. And while persons are loathe to accept the official police statistics on crime reduction the fact is that serious crimes have been reduced under this administration. Poverty which was a major thrust of the government in its manifesto of 2010 has also been reduced. The most recent launch of the Nursing Academy in El Dorado is testimony to the intent of the govt to create sustainable jobs for its young citizens in an area where we have been importing nurses is cause for congratulations. The Debe Campus of UWI which is still being criticized by the PNM as unnecessary demonstrates that the PNM is really biased against people south of the Caroni.
The leadership of the PM is being used to lay the foundation for this call for general elections. The reality is that the achievements which also include a stable democracy, financial stability, adherence to the constitution and freedom of the press as well as freedom of speech have all been upheld under her tenure as PM. In addition, this country despite several elections enjoys political stability This is no doubt due to the strict adherence by the PM to holding elections as they are due and to respecting the outcomes. On this point of maintaining a stable democracy and respecting the right of citizens to vote “on time” the PM stands out as a true democrat. The same cannot be said of the PNM whose penchant for postponing local govt elections is well known.
The most recent showing of the UNC in the local govt elections is further testimony that the leadership of Mrs Bisssessar has a lot of currency. It also shows that she commands her support base who responded to her call to come back home! The defeat of the ILP in the Felicity Endeavour seat in the local elections after being defeated there a couple of weeks earlier shows that she has what it takes to lead a fight back. So Then, where and why is this call being made with full page advertisements?
Let us recognize the right of citizens to make such calls. That is the democracy by which we have chosen to govern ourselves. This attempt to paint the PM as unsuitable for the job started even before 2010 in the lead up to the internal elections. It even included attacks by Warner who claimed to have files on the PM. The media has been scrutinizing every word and action of the govt and the Ministers.
There is no issue with this. This is their freedom to do as is enshrined in the constitution and which we have protected. However, the media must also be objective and praise the govt for the things it has done to add value to life in the country. Interestingly there are parts of the media who do not think that this is their function. However, isn’t balanced reporting a goal of a responsible press?
Again, the govt has made mistakes but it has not run away from them. It has acted responsibly and is holding itself accountable. The Opposition is free to file questions which we answer. We have a track record that is far superior to the PNM when it comes to responding to questions filed. The PNM has filed motions of no confidence which have failed on two occasions. They have filed motions on the adjournment. We have debated these and provided the facts. The PM like it or not has moved against Ministers of her govt as was necessary. This is fearless and courageous leadership!
I have not in this response spoken about the infrastructural work that has been done in the country. It appears that the population may not be interested in this. However, I also wonder what will be their position if these works had not been done.
Where is the disenchantment coming from? Propaganda repeated enough times becomes a “truth.” This is part of the problem. Even supporters of the partnership until recently feel victims to the propaganda machines. Now we hear from Warner that his party stooped too low. The level of propaganda against this govt has been unparalleled. Are people interested in facts? It would seem not, if one were to judge by the exposes by the Express about one political leader. It seems that corruption even perceived, as a criteria for leadership is not a factor in the minds of the population. It has led people to comment that ‘If I can share in it why worry about it?” In this regard we have sunk to a new moral low!
A call for general elections has no substance and is a part of the continuing drive to destabilize the govt and the country and to have the PM and her govt lose time and energy from the real purpose of govt which is to ensure the happiness of the people in a stable political and democratic environment. To this the PP govt is committed and therein will be our focus.
One of the bewildering facts about TT is that the leader of a political party, an aspirant to the position of PM, does not suffer a knock-out punch by the uncontested revelation that he has not paid income taxes on his vast wealth for many years!! Every decent tax-payer should find this repulsive, but this leader goes about happily campaigning! What a country?
Deputy Political Leader UNC