Four PNM Budgets and 3 Mid-year Reviews
This is Imbert’s fourth national budget, but he also had three mid-year reviews. And in all of these occasions, the Government presented no plan. All they’ve done is create more hardships for people, and blame me and the Government I led.
Tonight, three years after the PNM took office in 2015, the nation finally understands, what your MP for Naparima Rodney Charles tried to tell them over and over again during the campaign in 2015 – that Keith Rowley did not have a plan. And now the country sees Rowley for what he is. Clueless and incompetent.
All the PNM were concerned with was winning an election, so they could take care of their friends and family.
Tonight, all the unions know.
Tonight, more than 5,000 Petrotrin workers know.
Tonight, the more than 50,000 workers sent home under this Government’s watch know.
The economists, the media, the business organizations, the NGOs and civil society groups know…
They all know, what you in St Augustine and all of us here knew all along.
The PNM, led by Rowley had no plan, and they still have no plan.
And tonight, I tell you St Augustine, THANK YOU For standing up and letting the country know, that on September 7th, 2015, you rejected the PNM’s lack of vision.
Since the beginning of September to now, the country has been faced with out of control crime and a rising murder toll – now 410.
We have also witnessed a budget that ignores the hard working, tax paying middle class. Not one thing from the budget, offered a helping hand to those who contribute the most to Trinidad and Tobago.
Galloping towards Dictatorship under the PNM
And to make matters worse, just yesterday, a most disturbing development took place that raises alarms of a dictatorship in the making.
We’ve seen over the last three years alarming attempts by this PNM Government to stifle free speech, and freedom of expression. They are taking this country on a dangerous path to dictatorship and tyranny.
The Minister of Everything, Stuart Young, sent out a press release via the Ministry of Communications, warning about legal action over some call on citizens to disrupt the flow of traffic.
He accused the Opposition of being part of this call.
I wish to make it clear – if individuals wish to engage in peaceful protest, I have no problem with that. I wish to say clearly that the Opposition was not involved in any planned protest. And it was clearly an attempt by Stuart Young to malign the UNC and to create mischief.
After weeks of saying nothing worthwhile, he jumped out to issue a statement from one of his portfolios, when what he should have been doing is telling the country what the Ministry of National Security is doing about runaway crime!
But I wish to state this evening that the threats to citizens reek of repression and despotism by the failed Rowley regime.
Do you remember the threats by no fewer than five Government Ministers against public sector workers, before the recent day of rest and relaxation?
Many of you would remember previous PNM regimes beating labour protestors, who were legitimately marching for improved working conditions.
They dragged David Abdullah away from a legal protest.
In 1975, labour leaders like George Weekes, Basdeo Panday, Raffique Shah, Joe Young, and hundreds of workers were beaten with batons and tear-gassed as they attempted a public march for “peace, bread and justice.”
The PNM has always been anti-worker.
The PNM has always been anti-people.
The PNM has always been arrogant and oppressive.
The PNM has always sought to use the police in a heavy-handed manner to stop and silence public dissent.
If people are rising in protest these days it is because they cannot bear it any more.
They can no longer bear the suffering inflicted by this Rowley government.
This government has presided over growing unemployment, with more than 50,000 workers sent home. When we were in office we created 55,000 new jobs, and did not increase a single tax.
The UNC does not support illegal activity, but I am of the firm view that citizens have the right to protest within the confines of the law.
Stuart and his cronies have gotten into the habit of trying to paint opposing voices to his Government as unpatriotic.
There is nothing more patriotic than standing up against a Government that is oppressive, and more and more we are seeing the signs of a dictatorship taking root, and every single citizen should be deeply concerned.
The late US President, Theodore Roosevelt once said: “To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic but is morally treasonable to the public.”
If it is only patriotic to say nothing when you are oppressed, Gandhi would not have been able to engage in acts of civil disobedience to repressive and oppressive British rule.
If the approach of Start Young was used during the marches from Selma to Montgomery, Martin Luther King would not have been able to protest for civil rights in the United States.
I urge you – ready yourself, stay strong, stay united and focused because the end of this dictatorial and repressive Rowley regime is in sight. We will vote them out and return good governance to our beloved nation!
And don’t believe what they tell you about the average Petrotrin worker. These workers – well I suppose we have to call them former workers as the company has accelerated sending them home – these workers are not rich… They are not all senior managers.
They are hard-working middle-class people, and our middle class is the backbone of the nation.
But Keith Rowley does not know or understand who the middle-class is in Trinidad and Tobago. He is disconnected from the people.
His whole government is out of touch. They’ve living in some sort of alternate reality.