What Kamla met in 2010 was many times worse than what this gov’t inherited. She had a plan, Colm simply galleries
Imbert seems set to be remembered as the most condescending, talkative and clueless Minister of Finance in our history. He is busy trying to convince the population that the PNM inherited a wasteland. But what are the facts? The Kamla Persad- Bissessar administration was able to achieve economic growth in 2012, 2013, 2014 and were she Prime Minister today the economy would not be at a standstill.
On October 5, the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean projected growth of 1.0 percent in 2015 for this country. But you will never get these facts from this Minister.
His crocodile tears seem even more disingenuous when one looks at what the PNM left in 2010. Will he tell the population of the massive debts left by his administration? Billion dollar debts spawned from the over $20 billion CLICO fiasco, the Ministry of Housing, WASA, HCU, Petrotrin (Gas to Liquids) and monies owed to contractors totally over 50 billion dollars.
The Minister would not tell the population about the outstanding 83 wage negotiations that the Persad- Bissessar Administration settled.
Despite inheriting an abysmal state of affairs, Prime Minister Persad- Bissessar instructed her team to fix the problem. Contrast this with the PNM who stuck in a PR loop keep trying to convince themselves and the population of dire circumstances. Every time Colm speaks the sky is falling.
Will he admit to the population that when he assumed office the Heritage and Stabilization Fund stood at US $5.7Billion? That in the wake of periods of falling oil and energy prices and inheriting an economy with two successive quarters of negative growth the last administration managed this economy without withdrawing from the fund.
In the five years Kamla Persad- Bissessar led this country, foreign direct investment tripled from $500 million to $1.5 billion. Our Gross Reserves stood at US$10.39b – 11 ½ months import cover. So what is this sad song this Minister keeps singing? It seems he is simply unprepared, unqualified and ill-suited for this job.
Since coming into office, he has extended VAT, increased gas prices, removed laptops, withdrawn from the HSF, ramped up borrowings with an imminent US $1 billion road show, and reports of cuts to GATE. He has simultaneously increased the cost of living, reduced employment levels, placed us in more debt and closed down a number of necessary infrastructural projects. He appears incapable of articulating a policy leading to sustainable development, economic diversification or job creation. He never answers question on how increased revenues from taxes and borrowings or the money taken from the HFS will be spent. Just vague assertions of budgetary support. He appears to be borrowing to fund consumption and not investments.
Dr Rowley took a gamble and the country looks set to pay the price. In the absence of an economic policy, he placed a PNM “spin doctor” as our Minister of Finance.
This Minister must now tell the estimated 25% unemployed and underemployed constituents in Naparima how he plans to create sustainable, well paying jobs. He must tell this year’s estimated 500 or so tertiary level graduates in the constituency, what kind of employment opportunities they can expect.
Member of Parliament for Naparima