In our first 120 days in office we established the Children’s Life Fund to help sick children; in its first 9 months the Rowley Administration took $2.5 Billion from the Heritage and Stabilisation Fund.
On September 7th 2015 Dr. Keith Rowley called upon the people of Trinidad and Tobago to work together. In the nine months that the Rowley Administration has been in power, “working together” has seen the introduction of new taxes, non vatable items being reduced by thousands (being mainly essential food items), the refusal of the government to work with the Opposition in Parliament, the crime situation spiral out of control, and the citizens of our country being misled on many fundamental issues, including those related to public accounts and budgets. The citizens of our beloved country have been subject to countless broken promises and lies.
The Rowley Administration raided TT$2.5 Billion from the Heritage and Stabilisation Fund (HSF) and have arrogantly refused to inform the nation as to which specific programmes and projects this money will be spent on. They have taken our children’s savings and decided to spend it today, without a plan to replace it.
As of June 2015, the People’s Partnership Administration had grown the fund by more than US$2.1 Billion. When the PP left office the Fund was valued at US$5.7 Billion. The UNC made saving for future generations a priority when it introduced the Interim Revenue Stabilisation Fund (now HSF) in the year 2000. The establishment of this fund by the UNC was an act that prioritised children and the future of our country – a concept unknown to the Rowley administration.
We did not take a single penny from the Fund. In much more economically challenging times, we made sure to save for our nation’s children and future generations. When it seemed we might have needed to withdraw monies from the HSF, we sought other financing options. We understood always, that we were the trustees of our children’s future and could not use to the fund without a detailed plan for its use and replenishment.
Now that the Rowley Administration has discovered that it can secretly and surreptitiously withdraw monies from the HSF, will it continue to do so without consulting the nation?
Will we continue to only learn of these withdrawals through media reports?
Most importantly, will the Rowley Administration continue to withhold detailed information until they are caught with their hands in the cookie jar? Or will we one day wake up and realise that the cookies are no more!
Even worse, while the Rowley Administration is busy spending our savings in unknown ways, children are dying because they are having difficulty accessing funds from the Children’s Life Fund. See the heartbreaking news story here: http://www.tv6tnt.com/sevenpm-news/Child-Dies-Waiting-on-AGs-Approval-382319791.html.
While our children are dying because of the inability to access funding, the Prime Minister has seen it fit to purchase a new vehicle, buy paintings and fund the soca on the seas cruise despite our challenging financial times. While the PP ministers and I had pledged part of our salaries to the Children’s Life Fund to benefit our sick children, the Rowley administration is pledging their salaries to build a new Balisier House. This tells the story of the difference between a government which cares for its people and a govenrment that cares only about itself.
Things were not always as it is now in our country. I want to remind you of some of the things my government accomplished in our first 120 days in office. We:
- Funded and established the Children’s Life Fund
- Began distributing laptops to SEA students
- Removed the property tax
- Established the Ministry of the People
- Expanded GATE to include technical and vocational students
- Gave more scholarships to our children to pursue higher education than ever before in the history of our country.
- Issued $33 Million to complete the Scarborough Hospital in Tobago
- Committed monies to install Cable High Tension Barrier Systems on the nation’s highways
- Replaced the Senior Citizens’ Grant with a $3,000 old age pension, which we would further increase during our administration
- Paved 64 roads and constructed 107 box drains
- Opened 32 new bus routes using 85 busses.
Working together was not simply a tag line under my administration it was a slogan that yielded results for the people. “Working together” under this administration has proven to be no more than a mantra without results. To the Rowley administration “working together” means what is best for them, not you!
We must not lose sight of what we can do together if we put our minds to it. We can build a great nation together again.