Oropouche West MP Dave Tancoo says that it is with great concern that the UNC Opposition notes the $6.3 BILLION loss recorded by the Heritage and Stabilization Fund – the first in the Fund’s 16-year existence, but with even greater concern over the Finance Minister’s nonchalant and dismissive response.
The Opposition MP says that while some of the country’s top financial experts expressed sentiments of solicitude, both the Minister of Finance and the PNM’s spin doctors are hard at work, desperately trying to downplay the bitter pill that Trinidad and Tobago had to swallow in that US$913.5 MILLION or TT$6.26 BILLION declared loss.
When the HSF was doing well, Minister Imbert would rush to take credit, but after shamelessly keeping the Report to himself for more than five (5) months before laying it in Parliament, Colm Imbert refuses to take blame for the Fund’s collapse, as a result of the PNM Government’s remarkable ineptitude. You cannot have it both ways, Minister Imbert!
Following media articles that have highlighted this catastrophic $6.2 BILLION loss, the Minister of Finance this morning in a desperate attempt to cover up the Government’s mess, spoke to historical data, without once acknowledging that the Fund incurred a huge loss. Instead, Imbert chose to mislead and misdirect the population with his usual nonsense about persons taking “a simplistic and amateurish approach to data” and employing the blame game by speaking to “volatility of global markets”.
Adding to the Government’s evasive maneuvers, HSF Chairman and former Central Bank Governor Ewart Williams stated that, “the Heritage and Stabilization Fund has confronted a series of challenges that have tested its resilience and threatened its sustainability.” During that time however, other Funds performed well, due to close monitoring by the Central Bank. Where was the Central Bank in all of this, especially when in 2021, the value of the Fund fell by almost TT$1.821 billion? And through all of this, the Government extended the term of the Governor of the Central Bank.
Tancoo stated that had the Minister not withdrawn several hundred million dollars from the HSF, Trinidad & Tobago would still have been in a better financial position now. However, he says that the Minister is yet to answer the important question as to how and why T&T has experienced this 20% drop in the value of the HSF in the past year. The Rowley-led Government continues to show that it is hopelessly incompetent at managing our limited resources while at the same time being totally incapable of generating any sort of wealth for the country. According to the Oropouche West MP, given the rate at which the Government is making withdrawals from the Fund, what will be left and where will this leave the people of this country?
The Oropouche West MP says that what our citizens require and what our country deserves is proper and greater accountability from the Government, not rebuttals after the information has been released by the media. MP Tancoo is therefore calling on the Rowley-led Government to provide information and not excuses about these very serious concerns raised with regard to the use and abuse of the Heritage and Stabilization Fund.