The United National Congress has launched its campaign for the Local Government Election due this year. Speaking at the party’s National Congress on Saturday, Political Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar called on members to intensify the search for prospective candidates.
“Today, I am announcing the start of our campaign to win the Local Government Election that is due this year, and if Rowley wants a general election, we will be prepared for that too,” Persad-Bissessar told party members.
As she put the UNC on an election footing, the Leader of the Opposition cited a recent report of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which has disproved claims from the Government of an ‘economic crisis’.
“This week’s IMF Report confirmed that the fundamentals of our economy are strong and that the propaganda of the Rowley Government about the last Government bankrupting the economy is nothing but a vicious lie.”
Adding that the People’s Partnership left a strong economy, with challenges emerging from reduced revenue from oil and gas, Persad-Bissessar said: “The IMF found that there are no systemic faults or deficiencies as the Rowley Government would have us believe. The real problem is that the Government does not have the ability to manage the coming economic storm.”
The former Prime Minister cautioned party supporters that continued mismanagement by the Keith Rowley administration poses the risk that Trinidad and Tobago could return to ‘the yoke of the IMF’.
“The IMF formula is to widen the VAT tax base, cut fuel subsidies and streamline the civil service. It wants to phase out some social support programmes and review GATE. The IMF is knocking on our door and the way the Rowley government is running things it may be only a matter of time before we have to live under the yoke of the IMF.”
Persad-Bissessar also told the gathering that ‘a query has arisen as to the status of employees at constituency offices. “Two persons were hired at my constituency office, one upwards of twenty years ago and the other upwards of fourteen years ago. They were properly employed and did not fall into the categories of persons restricted from employment by the parliamentary guidelines for decades.”
“It was recently brought to my attention that the Parliamentary guidelines were changed to expand the categories of persons restricted from employment to now include relatives in addition to the previous restriction on family members. After the matter was brought to my attention, I sought clarification and advice from the Clerk of the House on the said changes in the guidelines: I await responses from the Clerk and will take whatever steps may be necessary.”