Excerpts of the Speaking Notes of
The Honourable Kamla Persad-Bissessar, SC, MP, Prime Minister of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Political Leader of the United National Congress & Leader of the People’s Partnership Government.
Thank you and good evening to one and all.
Seeing you in your thousands here today, my heart is filled with humility and love.
My spirit is soaring in the light of your goodness and goodwill and, my cup is full and runneth overin gratitude and faith.
Seeing you here in your thousands, fortifies my view that no weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment, thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.
That is why we must continue to put the Lord in front to lead us as we walk behind.
For five long years, sometimes difficult but always eventful years, you have stood by my side;
You have inspired me and yes, sometimes you have even chastised me;
But you never gave up on me!! And I never gave up on you. For you are rock and my strength.
You never gave up on me as I spearheaded a Government hewn out of your hopes, your dreams, your aspirations striving to achieve all that is progressive, all that is humane, all that is equitable and all that is just for this our blessed motherland, Trinidad and Tobago.
And here you are again, standing so tall, so resolute, giving me your strength and courage once more, infusing me with your powerful, invincible spirit of valour and faith to tell me that, as long as we hold hands and continue the great fight we began five years ago to develop our Mighty Nation of freedom, prosperity and equality for all, which our fore parents dreamt of, we will walk towards victory once more.
And I say my sisters and brothers, that in this season of renewal and rebirth, let us never forget the ills and evils that once plagued our land and which brought us to that fateful day in 2010.
Five years ago today, history was made.
And let me make it clear that it was not Kamla Persad-Bissessar who made this history as the first woman Prime Minister.
No. It was you, the people, who made history.
AN ACCOUNT OF THE GOVERNMENT’S PERFORMANCE
And as we commit here today to move forward for another five years in Government, let me give you an account of the unprecedented, people centred policies we have implemented and work we have done in the past five years.
You all know the country we met in 2010. Take a look, a good, honest look, of the country we now have today.
There is no doubt that it is truly a better place, where citizens at every single level are better off in every possible way.
Indeed, it feels as if we went through the decades of trials and tribulations under the PNM regimes to get this far.
My dear citizens, in 2010 and 2011 we struggled to move our country from the steep -4.4% decline in 2009, to recovery and growth.
We succeeded in achieving growth in 2012, 2013, 2014 and, will continue in 2015 because we are working to ensure that despite the fall in the price of oil, there will be no slippage or fallout and we are working to ensure a continuing flow of investment.
In the past 5 years, 21 Production sharing contracts/licenses to conduct exploration and drilling activity have been signed by the Minister of Energy. These are worth abt $2.0 billion US – $13B tt in investment. This has created many jobs.
· BP has approved a $2.1 billion US (TT $13b) investment for the Juniper project. This entails the fabrication of a platform in La Brea. 300 direct jobs have already been created from this project.
· BHP is currently exploring T&T’s deep-water province where the oil resource potential could be in the vicinity of 3 to 8 billion barrels of oil, depending on how successful they are.
· Mitsubishi of Japan have committed to an investment of $987 million US (abt $6b TT) in a Methanol to DME petrochemical complex in La Brea in partnership with Massy and NGC.
This is a true Public-Private Partnership – international and local with benefits in the petrochemical sector and with potential for manufacturing further downstream.
This will create about 2000 construction jobs.
Shell’s CEO, Ben Van Beurden has said that T&T was very important to his company’s overall $70 billion US acquisition of BG.
That takeover of BG will be finalized over the next year with positive implications for Trinidad and Tobago.
In 2012 T&T was ranked 69th in the Fraser Institute Global Petroleum Survey. This measures attractiveness to investors. In 2014 we were ranked 44th – a movement of 25 places.
This shows we are moving in the right direction and that Trinidad and Tobago is advancing as a destination for Energy investments.
THE STATE OF THE ECONOMY
These last five (5) years have not been easy but we have come through and we have done well to achieve modest growth in the circumstances.
· We have also brought inflation down to less than 7%, (June 2010 13.6%).
· We have created thousands of jobs (55,800 jobs).
· There are now 638,000 people in the workforce.
· We have brought the unemployment rate down to 3.1% from June 2010 4.8%). This means that 93.9% of the labour force is gainfully employed.
· HSF which was at $US3.1b in 2010 is now at US$5.6b
· The foreign exchange reserves is currently US$10.8 billion
· Five thousand, six hundred (5,600) new businesses have registered in 2013 and 5,800 in 2014.
· We have attracted 1.5 billion worth of investment on average each year over the last three (3) years and the process of diversification with growth in the non-energy and service sectors is strengthening.
· Under the new Business Names Act over 9000 names were registered in 2013 and this was repeated in 2014. These represent names and brands intending to do business in Trinidad and Tobago.
· February 2015 786,297 vehicles registered. 33,683 vehicles were sold compared to 2013 when only 26,066 vehicles were registered; 2012, 27,488 vehicles were registered; 2011, 18,837 vehicles registered.
Now, does this not reflect a buoyant economy. As investment grows and diversification intensifies better and more meaningful jobs will be available to our young graduates.
PRUDENT FISCAL MANAGEMENT
But in circumstances where the price of oil and gas is depressed, we must be prudent.
That is why we recalibrated our budget at US$45 and US$2.25 for oil and gas respectively down from US$ 80 and $2.75 we had budgeted.
Thus far we have completed ¾ of this fiscal year and average prices for oil and gas is about $60 and 2.81 respectively. This means we would have received more revenue than we budgeted for.
In fact whilst we had projected a deficit, with half the fiscal year gone, we have a surplus of about $47m versus a projected deficit of $3.8 billion.
In a situation where oil and gas revenues have fallen, certain things have become more important than before.
For instance, the effective management of revenue and expenditure.
Keeping a sharp eye on the deficit.
Making the necessary fiscal adjustments to manage the economy with restraint.
These are top priority.
At the same time committing to an aggressive, sustained plan of economic growth with even higher levels of investment and an increase in exports is the complementary side of the coin.
So, living within our means and managing prudently is one side of our strategy going forward.
Another is to grow the pie so that more will be available for all.
The third is to change the pattern of expenditure without disturbing social cohesion.
That is the challenge of economic and fiscal management.
That is why one of our major planks going forward will be a dedicated effort to intensify the diversification process, to create good jobs and to promote growth.
The thrust to diversify at a faster pace depends in large measure on Private Sector Investment.
So we will focus more on Private Sector investments and public/private partnerships to stimulate the diversification thrust.
We have identified seven (7) clusters, in collaboration with the Private Sector – Finance, Information and Communications Technology, Tourism, Maritime Industries, Food Sustainability, Creative Industries and Energy and Energy Services.
We will continue to seek investment in these.
In addition, we have specific strategies for growing the Manufacturing Sector with an export orientation.
And we have IDB support to grow exports in the Services Sector.
The Services and Manufacturing Sectors create most jobs in the country.
Government will work in partnership with industry leaders in these sectors to achieve national goals and targets.
We have identified the Growth Poles in the Southwest, Central, Port of Spain, North Coast and East Tobago and we will add two more in the South East Rio Claro/Mayaro area and in the Sangre Grande area and its hinterland.
So these will be seven (7) poles of growth to spread development across the country.
In addition, within the Growth Poles we have identified Economic Zones which are differentiated to attract specific clusters of investments.
These will provide investment, jobs and new industries in different parts of our country.
There is already substantial investment and growth in the financial sector by Banks and Insurance Companies already operating in Trinidad and Tobago.
Even a company such as BHP in the Energy Sector is creating jobs in the services sector including financial services, by relocating support services from other countries to Trinidad and Tobago.
Ongoing investment and growth in Chaguaramas and Maracas in the Tourism and Entertainment Sector will create opportunities for micro and small business.
There is also investment in the Shipping and Marine Sectors with more to come.
Olindorf has been here for close to two years now and plans are afoot to establish a dry docking facility in La Brea.
Investment in the downstream Energy Sector by the Mitsubishi-Massy -NGC partnership with potential for manufacturing which I have already mentioned will develop a lot of spinoffs.
This is why we need to have a second term in office – to continue our policy transformation which needs to take deeper root and we want to continue to build on the very tangible achievements already accomplished.
In the last five years, our emphasis has been on stabilizing the lives of citizens through social support, building infrastructure in communities, to give comfort in things such as roads, drains, sidewalks, bridges, landslips, community centres, internet access, skills building and education and training programmes.
And we have focused heavily on social infrastructure in the country at large, especially in education and in health and in developing infrastructure to open up the country and to connect communities to stimulate commerce, to strengthen the transportation network and to improve traffic flows.
Look at how much easier it is to drive from north to deep south and vice versa, or from Valencia to Sangre Grande or to Diego Martin.
And would you believe that we have built or refurbished 105 Health Centres across the country and constructed 97 schools?
And in the last month we turned the sod for two hospitals?
As we look to the future we will focus on six (6) new areas of emphasis as we continue with the five priorities budgeted for in the last five years bringing the priority areas for attention to eleven.
Let me remind you of the five key areas on which we have been working for you and with you:
Personal and National Security where we have made significant progress, but when it comes to people’s safety, it will never be enough.
People must feel safe and protected in their country and this is why we will continue our aggressive efforts to decrease every single type of criminal activity.
The first of 12 ships has arrived in TT – to lock down our maritime borders in the fight against crime.
Poverty Eradication and Human Development –
In this we have made phenomenal progress.
Social support measures have been increased and improved, pensions have been increased twice, the minimum wage has been increased twice, wages have increased across the board in our country so has land ownership and home ownerships.
And our achievements in education and training at every level have been phenomenal.
Food Security and Sustainability- food production is up, food inflation is down as is inflation generally and good linkages with the school feeding programmes and with tourism have been enhanced.
Health and Hospitals –
There have been improvements across the board also in the Health Sector.
Niggling problems continue, but we are witnessing a massive diversification and geographical accessibility programme in the health sector and major initiatives for world class facilities and service.
· Children’s Hospital, Oncology Centre, Arima Hospital, Point Fortin Hospitals. Port of Spain hospital upgrade
· Job Creation, Growth, Economic Competitiveness and Innovation. Our economy has recovered since 2010 and is buoyant, confidence is strong, investment is growing.
We still need to do more to improve competitiveness, but the disposition to innovation, competitiveness and entrepreneurship is very positive and unemployment at 3.1% means that we are getting somewhere good.
We know that the challenge is more meaningful jobs and that is why we continue to place the largest slice of our budget in education and training and that is why we will continue to pursue our agenda for diversification and growth.
At the end of this first five years, we are in the top ranks of the world’s happiest people – happiest man alive
OUR PLANS FOR THE NEXT FIVE YEARS:
So this is what we have done with the five (5) priorities over the last five (5) years and this is what we are adding in the next five years (5):
We will intensify diversification to grow the economy outside the Energy Sector in the 7 Clusters, 7 Growth Poles and 7 identified Economic Zones.
We will target work with the Manufacturing Sector to achieve higher levels of exports.
This we will also do with the ICT driven Services Sector.
This will have a positive effect on foreign exchange earnings and on good quality jobs.
Infrastructure Development including Broadband
Will serve to open up the country internally, to connect people and communities to the main arteries and centres and to stimulate commerce, business creation, growth and development and to manage transport.
This will also, prepare our country for the world and, to deepen the process of building a knowledge economy.
Addressing the issues of productivity is a major priority.
Industries cannot compete in the world and grow exports without enhanced productivity and no country can make significant progress in the world unless the people are productive, the institutions efficient and effective, and all citizens with ambition and drive, striving to do more and to do better.
So we will focus on improving the productivity in Trinidad and Tobago and we will work with Labour and Business to achieve our goals.
International Partnerships for Energy Growth
We will internationalize our energy platform through partnership with our neighbours.
We will work with Venezuela to monetize the Manatee fields which we share.
There are opportunities in Guyana and Suriname which we have begun to explore and which we will continue to pursue with increased vigour.
These opportunities can be leveraged based on our experience and know-how, acquired over our 100 year history in the energy industry.
Possibilities also exist for collaboration with Barbados which is now involved in its second round of exploration in oil and gas.
My Government has also signed a memorandum of Understanding with the IDB to collaborate globally, to establish an energy Fund for Caribbean Economic Sustainability which will transform the energy matrix in the region.
This will open up new opportunities for both the Government of Trinidad and Tobago and the Trinidad and Tobago Private Sector.
This will substantially reduce the cost of energy for Caribbean countries and make the whole region more competitive and eventually prosperous.
The Secretary-General of CARICOM, Mr. Irwin La Rocque, has written to pledge full support of this initiative on behalf of the Caribbean Community and the CARICOM Secretariat and some of our global partners are beginning to make commitments.
Governance is the fifth issue.
· We are addressing the issue of corruption through Procurement Legislation.
· We have established a Committee, headed by former President of the Senate, Timothy Hamel-Smith including civil society – private sector members to ensure its implementation.
· We have completely over hauled the planning regime to facilitate development through effective land use.
· We have strengthened the law and the institutions to fight white collar crime.
· We have facilitated the revamping of Parliament and strengthened committees and created reforms for better accountability, for instance, in public scrutiny of the budget and questions to the Prime Minister.
· Now we need to focus on creating an Innovation Driven Public Sector committed to citizen service and committed as well to support of the productive sectors.
· We need productive performance driven, profitable state enterprises.
· We need to strengthen the independent institutions of the State.
And we need to address issues of quality improvement in the Health and Education Sectors so that citizen satisfaction is higher.
We need to increase and intensify efforts in the fight against crime.
And we need to strengthen transparency and accountability in the system everywhere.
These are some of the Governance issues that we will pursue.
Asset Management and Maintenance
All of the new facilities that we are building are assets of our country and we must maintain them, manage the facilities and take custodial care of them as assets.
The hospitals, the schools, the highways, the roads, sports facilities, new public sector facilities and so on, we must take care of these and protect them.
We will begin to change the culture in new buildings and spread good habits in building across the state sector.
But we shall make a dedicated effort in facilities management, maintenance and asset management.
FLAGSHIP PROJECTS GOING FORWARD
I want to share with you some flagship projects going forward:
1. The Highway from San Fernando to Mayaro. This will begin now and continue until completion and link the Rio Claro/Mayaro Growth Poles to the San Fernando Waterfront Development.
2. The Access on the Ocean Front to Chaguaramas. This will be a public/private partnership project. Consultation will begin this year, project implementation to begin in 2016. This will support public/private development in Chaguaramas.
3. Establishment of Dry-docking facilities in La Brea. This will also be a public/private partnership with possible start up early in 2016 yielding thousands of sustainable jobs in a traditionally depressed area.
4. A National Transport and Traffic Management Strategy linked to an accelerated decentralization thrust and the Growth Poles development strategy which will include Park and Ride, dedicated to bus lanes and water transportation. This we will execute in sequence, supported by studies and we can begin immediately with traffic management in targeted focal points.
5. A Medical Tourism hospital involving Public/Private Sector and University Collaboration in the East West Corridor and supported by international collaboration and expertise. This will be separate and distinct from other state driven projects focused on local and national communities already initiated.
6. Development on a sequential basis of seven (7) economic zones at Connector Road (97 acres), Dow Village (150 acres), Factory Road (67 acres), Frederic Settlement (400 acres), Preysal (80 acres), Reform (19 acres), all located in the Central Growth Pole. These will be rationalized for agro processing, commercial services, manufacturing, light manufacturing, petrochemicals and high tech manufacturing. Good quality jobs will be created by these initiatives and the decentralization process will be accelerated.
7. The San Fernando Waterfront Development Project. A full study has been done, consultations held and this is ready to go. Projects have been identified and sequenced and the way forward will be public/private partnerships beginning with symbolic initiatives. Cabinet has already agreed on a Committee headed by Mrs. Daphne Bartlett.
8. Development of a Marina in Tobago and designation of Tobago as a duty free port. We will collaborate with the Tobago House of Assembly to make this a meaningful, economically sustainable initiative.
9. The Doubling of Non-Energy Exports Initiative will be another, which will involve partnering with the Private Sector in Manufacturing and in ICT based Services. We will work directly with the stakeholders representing these interests.
10. We have had a Port Rationalization Study done by IDB consultants.
11. On the basis of that we will build a post Panamax port in Port of Spain, linked to other development of Port of Spain initiatives. This will include development of Invaders Bay and the Development of the Chaguaramas Peninsula on the basis of Private Sector participation. Port of Spain will become a port city with an extended waterfront leisure, entertainment business and residential area.
Sisters and brothers, all of these will create jobs and opportunities.
We will lay out for you our Manifesto to commitments shortly, these are just some highlights.
And make sure to check out our campaign website launched today – kamla2015.tt
And I want to remind you that 90% of our manifesto pledges of 2010 have been kept with pledges completed, in process to completion or initiated and actioned.
So whatever we say in 2015, we will do over the next five years because we keep our promises and pledges.
FAILED PNM POLICIES
Compare this, my fellow citizens, to the decades of waste, squander and incompetence that was the hallmark of the PNM regime, and make no mistake, nothing has changed.
It is the same members of Cabinet since the 1990s who are being selected or their offspring.
Never be fooled by them and their false promise of new faces or change. They will never change.
· We have accounted for our Manifesto pledges in 2010.
· We laid our Achievements documents in Parliament in 2014.
· We reported on performance in Parliament in 2013, in 2014 and last month in 2015.
When did they ever account for a Manifesto?
In their 1996 Manifesto and 1976 Manifesto they promised an International Airport in Tobago.
The NAR did it and the People’s Partnership enhanced it and expanded it.
In 1981, they promised a four lane highway to Chaguaramas and in 2010 a Causeway.
We will build the road to Chaguaramas, just give us your blessings.
How many times did they promise an Oncology Centre?
We are building it and will open it in Mount Hope this year in 2015.
They promised the Point Fortin Highway in 1961, in 1966, in 1981.
We started it in 2011, we have opened up several phases and we will finish it.
In 1981, they promised what they described as the San Fernando to Princess Town arterial to Mayaro.
We are starting it this year, and we will finish it in our second term.
They also promised a centre for Open Heart Surgery, the Arima Hospital, the Point Fortin Hospital.
Who do you think you can rely on to do it?
Who has started it? Who do you think will finish it?
If we tell you, we will do it, we will do it.
Sisters and Brothers we have done it, we can do it, we WILL do what we promise. Guaranteed.
Don’t listen to them. Don’t believe them. Theirs is a record of broken promises.
The People’s Partnership has a record of performance and delivery.
Put your faith in us as we have put our faith in you.
We will build our future together.
The Opposition likes to make wild unsubstantiated allegations that we are wasting tax-payers money and are given to over-spending. It is just not true!
The facts will refute these wild allegations.
Almost all of the large projects and some of the smaller ones too, in the last five years have been completed within budget.
But let me put before you their spending and our spending in context. Let us have a genuine and objective comparison.
From 2002 to 2010 when they were in office, total government expenditure moved from just over $14.2 billion in 2002, to $46.7 billion in 2010, after reaching as high as $53.8 billion in 2008, when the financial crisis hit and energy prices tumbled and led to smaller budgets.
After energy prices rebounded, the budget recovered to its pre-crisis levels and has grown as government revenues have grown.
Under their charge, increases in subsidies and transfers show the greatest growth from the year 2003 to 2009 when it moved from $6.4 billion to $20.5 billion in 2009, an increase of over 320%.
These are the Dr. Rowley Party years in Government.
On average, total expenditure during the period 2002 to 2010 was $33.5 billion each year, increasing on average by 17%, with some years increasing as high as 36% over the previous year.
So the period of the Dr. Rowley Party Government before was a period of escalating costs. And what do they have to show for it but a string of broken promises.
By contrast, during the period, 2011 to 2014, the average total expenditure was $57 billion.
This was 3.2 billion more than their expenditure in 2008.
However, and I want you to pay attention to this, average percentage change to total expenditure was only 9% per year under our tenure up to 2014.
The pattern is essentially the same for recurrent expenditure, with an average increase of 16% during the period 2002 to 2010 under the Dr. Rowley Party and, 8% during the period 2011 to 2014 under the watch of the People’s Partnership Government.
After adjusting for inflation by using the Retail Price Index, real government recurrent expenditure had its peak in 2008, when it was $21.8 billion (in year 2000 dollars).
At the same base rate this makes our real expenditure in 2014 only 3% higher than 2008.
These are the facts my sisters and brothers.
These are the facts and facts do not lie.
The facts are, sisters and brothers that recurrent expenditure increased by 54% in real terms over the period 2002 to 2010 which is their time.
While for the period 2011 to 2014, expenditure increased by 4%.
The People’s Partnership has delivered a lot without excessive spending.
In addition, and listen carefully to this, during the period 2002-2010, the increases in current transfers and subsidies, those expenditures that fund CEPEP, URP and other social welfare initiatives increased by over 200% in real terms, that is after adjusting for inflation.
By comparison, during the period 2011 to 2014, the real term change in expenditures in subsidies and transfers has been 2%. Again, under the PP there has been no over spending.
There was no way we could have slashed expenditure in 2010, inheriting a steep decline and an economy in recession.
We continued expenditure at about the same pre 2010 level and the percentage increases per year have been miniscule in comparison to their time.
And look at our performance in comparison to theirs!!
VALUE FOR MONEY
I want to point out to you how much value we have created with taxpayers’ money that has been spent in terms of community infrastructure, schools and educational institutions, health centres, hospitals, roads, bridges, landslips attended to highways, roundabouts, recreational facilities such as the Chaguaramas Boardwalk, a new University Campus, Early Childhood Centres.
Everywhere all across the country you can see value created for citizens, communities, and our great country.
Our stewardship has been one in which value for money is a reality.
Any contrary view point cannot be substantiated by fact and is very far from the truth.
Sisters and Brothers when you take a look at our population of just over 1.3 million people we note that the median age is 32.6 years and 13% is over 60 and 45% is under the age of 30.
We have 335,000 youth and 273,000 children.
And as we look more carefully at the population we realise that there are several issues that we must pay dedicated attention to and we will do so:
First of all, Children– and we have been paying attention to our children and will continue to do so.
Youth – and we have been educating them, giving them skills, getting them to work, trying to keep them out of trouble.
The Elderly – and for these citizens who have given so much, we have created a number of opportunities.
The Gender imbalance – more women are being educated, men get better pay than women, women encounter the glass ceiling. There are challenges for both sexes.
The Differently-abled – again we have given this group special attention.
Town and Country, is ensuring as we speak that buildings conform with requirements to welcome the differently abled.
Standards have been established by the Bureau of Standards.
Immigration- Migrants to Trinidad and Tobago as well as emigration from Trinidad and Tobago because we need to effectively manage the migration process.
Institutionalized and Displaced persons to ensure that the principle of inclusion is honoured.
Persons living with HIV/AIDS and the several issues related to that.
The Urban and Rural poor and strategies to get them to self-sufficiency and progress.
Persons living in informal settlements and we are dealing with that matter now in Parliament.
Growing the Middle class – this is an objective of our growth and jobs strategy and taxation policy.
Creating and entrepreneurial, resourceful and innovative society– essential to the pursuit of sustainable development.
PEOPLE CENTRED DEVELOPMENT
It is with people in mind, in every dimension that we will make policy, design plans and take action going forward.
As a Government all our development strategies are designed with people as beneficiaries of development but also as agents of development.
And this is how we will proceed over the next five years – with people remaining at the centre of policy and plans.
As we do this we are mindful that adjustments will have to be made and we will do the responsible thing and take responsible action.
As we go forward, we will live within our means but we will grow the pie to create good jobs and opportunity. We will budget in September at $45 US for oil and $2.25 US for gas.
We will not cut the gas subsidy but fix the gas subsidy at the $45 dollar mark.
With the help of the World Bank, we are addressing the issue of duplication and wastage in the social welfare system and we will be introducing a biometric card very soon, through the Ministry of People and Social Development.
We will demand performance and profitability from our State Enterprises.
Beyond that, we will address your concerns about crime.
We will do what is required to establish discipline and order and we will make it safe for you to go about your business and your life.
We will increase police presence, we will use technology more effectively, we will strengthen community policing and one by one we will make every community in Trinidad and Tobago a safe zone by a series of carefully targeted measures.
We intend to focus on a better quality of life for you in the next term.
Improved quality in education.
More meaningful, better paying jobs.
We want to make it easier for young graduates to have a meaningful job, more disposable income, to start a family and to purchase a home.
Better infrastructure to open up and connect the country.
Improved Health Services
We will work for expansion of land and home ownership.
We have delivered. We have delivered what we said we will do and we have also delivered what the old and new Dr. Rowley Party said they would do, and did not do.
They simply cannot do it.
BUT YES WE CAN, WE CAN DO IT AND WE WILL DO IT
We offer stability and progress and we have a clear plan going forward.
We have worked to plan over the last five years or else we could not have delivered what we delivered.
More than any other Government has delivered in any five year period.
So as I close my friends, I want to assure you that we are ready for victory once more.
The time is here and we are ready to do battle to keep our great country on this path of success and progress and equality.
Do not be deterred by all the negative, false and malicious mischievous reports emanating from the other side, they are desperate because they cannot contest us our achievements.
You will see in the coming months, even more than has happened in the past five years, believe it or not, many more scurrilous lies and attacks being hurled at our Partnership our Members and myself, as the Prime Minister
I want to say to you, do not fear them, do not let they deter you or break your spirit and drive.
Do not fall for the lies and desperation.
These attacks, from the usual detractors, from talking heads in various forms, the writers and critics who make false prophesies with their pens but who have never walked and lived among the people as my partnership members and I have done in service to you the people.
Do not fall for their propaganda.
They are the ones who cannot accept the change we have brought about to transform our nation into the great place of unity, love, equality and progress that our ancestors once dreamt it would be.
They could never understand the greatness of the collective will of a people united in a dream of progress and hope, so they launch relentless attacks and criticism.
But when you feel despair, in such moments, let me share with you how I deal with all the negatives that come my way.
I am sure, having been the most attacked Prime Minister in this country’s history that many wonder how I come out and smile and do the task my fellow citizens and the Good Lord appointed me to do.
It is because as I have often said, I put God in front and I walk behind.
I know I am ready and I say the political battle lines are drawn, and there is no turning back now.
And so as I close, I will take the pledge of renewal and ask the partnership leaders to join me at the podium:
I, Kamla Persad Bissessar, join with other leaders of the coalition grouping that comprises the People’s Partnership to renew my pledge to you.
To acknowledge the impatience with which you have waited for decades. You have waited for basic needs which are only now being met, needs such as water or a school, police station, health centre or simply the idea that leaders will be held accountable to a higher standard than ever before.
I pledge to acknowledge the times when we falter and to renew our commitment to grow from these experiences and to introduce new ideas from fresh talent, drawn from those of you who are ready to serve our nation.
With these new resources and energy, I pledge to keep the flame of our nation’s renewal burning bright in our hearts and minds.
The dream we gave birth to in 2010 is very much alive and we remain this nation’s best and only opportunity for a better future that includes everyone.
I ask you now, as I did then in 2010, to keep the faith, to celebrate how far we have come, to join hands with us once again in developing the full potential of this great nation of ours.
And remember always the words of the Lord: “Be still and know that I am God. Fear not for I am always with you. I am that I am.”
The 5th Anniversary of the People’s Victory
May 24, 2015
Constantine Park, Macoya.