T&T’s dark days of the Rowley PNM

Spread the word
At no time in the history of Trinidad and Tobago and the Commonwealth, with which we share political resemblances, has a Prime Minister’s word so quickly lost every iota of integrity.
 
In fact, Trinidad and Tobago could once describe itself as having a strong reputation for political leadership, especially when it took the nation’s first woman Prime Minister, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, to demonstrate the real testicular fortitude required to call a Cabinet Executive into line, and force a Government to keep its promises in spite of Civil Service inefficiency.
 
Today, we are well beyond just being at risk, and are increasingly being seen as a nation of chronic saboteurs of our own progress.
 
This is not only by the fact that after three campaign months of distortion, deliberate public manipulation and lies from the dubious brainchild of the fabricated RowleyGate email scandal, people still voted for him.
 
It is also for the fact that we’ve spent another seven months quietly allowing Rowley’s maladministration to deliberately deceive citizens and breach codes of conduct and conventions of mutual regard every sacred institution of the State.
 
The Rowley PNM has repeatedly:
 
·         Stared an anxious nation in the face, promised a better life but systematically pulled the carpet from under middle class and working class families;
·         Deliberately lied and distorted facts in the Parliament, while grabbing at the strings of a Speaker who appears too dim to realise, or too coward to assert her authority on the PNM;
·         Acutely manipulated the facts of economic conditions;
·         Scandalised our international credit rating by deliberately stalling billions in revenue, and creating an artificial deficit for the final UNC/People’s Partnership fiscal year, and a second artificial projected balance or minor surplus for 2016;
·         Unconscionably rebuked people for feeling anxious about the rapid skyrocketing of the cost of living;
·         Mass distributed ‘get out of jail free cards to criminal gang leaders who now feel that the path is clear to run fearlessly and terrorise the innocent with impunity, and
·         Revived olden PNM habit of drawing a deep and unmistakeable line in the sand between those who will be feed by PNM lifeline, and those who will be left to take the shafting ‘slow and steady’.
 
And if you think the damage they caused is already bad, don’t forget that they’re just getting warmed up.
 
The PNM has systematically undermined, squandered and mismanaged three energy price booms (click here to see how they did it) in our independent history, and are notorious for stirring ethnic tensions.
 
The T&T that was
 
The experience of Trinidad and Tobago in the last 10 months has been one of the most painful and tragic reversals of fortunes.
 
There was a time when Cabinet Ministers who were found to have behaved inappropriately would have been fired, even if it carried political cost.
 
There was a time when institutions such as the Integrity Commission, Judicial and Legal Services Commission, Parliament and the Central Bank were treated with obligatory regard born of its independent status.
 
There was a time when despite economic challenges, and because of having an established vision for long term development, we had a Prime Minister, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, who knew how to manage change and transition without hurting the vulnerable and costing people their jobs.
 
There was a time when we had a Finance and Economy Minister, Larry Howai, whose integrity created confidence in his words, his assurances and his determination, and whose superior expertise and impeccable standing in fiscal management preceded him both here and in the global finance houses and credit agencies.
 
There was a time when we had a robust, highly respected and bold Planning Minister who probably didn’t even carry an ordinary wallet, far less large amounts of cash to stash in one bank or another.
 
There was a time when we had a Cabinet where, if some Ministers tended on the wayward side, all knew that the nation’s Leader was gentle of hand and compassionate of heart, but iron-fisted.
 
From Education to National Diversity; from Energy Affairs to a legislative agenda that secured not only safety, but also security, progress and future development; from Trade and Industry to Sustainable Development, and from Public Safety to Social Services, Kamla Persad-Bissessar was the unmistakeable Leader of Government and our country.
 
And there was a time when a Prime Minister didn’t wait and hide from the public, but courageously embraced all, listened attentively, and gave her word that fiscal adjustments did NOT have to mean hardship for poor and middle class families.
 
The Trinidad and Tobago that was had been strongly carrying the stress of economic challenges brought on by global energy price shocks, holding strong to defence of the poor and capably providing for the rise of a newly aspirational class of families.
 
The T&T that is
Today’s Trinidad and Tobago, just 10 months later, barely resembles its former self.
 
Today’s T&T is burdened by a Cabinet that, if one were to only listen without looking, gives you the impression that English is not their first language. As if to further injure the wound, the half-witted Maxie Cuffie is the one who speaks on behalf of the Rowley PNM.
 
Today’s T&T has seen a new Rowley PNM make it standard procedure to deceive the legislature and perjure themselves cowardly under the shield of Parliamentary Privilege, while being ably defended by a puppet Speaker who too dim to know her strings are being pulled, or not bothered by the Rowley PNM’s tarnishing of her House of Representatives.
 
Today’s T&T has seen a Prime Minister attempt to bully an equally aggressive Opposition, and not only distort the truth of grants from the European Union, but clearly attempt to deny cane-farmers their right to the grants.
 
Two weeks after the Ministry of Planning sent a note to the Cabinet on receipt of the EU Grants, accompanied by a report that was further reviewed by Clarence Rambharat, the shady Colm Imbert, and the empty vessel, Faris Al Rawi, Rowley bluntly denied ever receiving over $50 million. Worse, is that the others who knew about it sat complicity as the Hansard was tarnished by yet another lie of the Rowley PNM.
 
Today T&T has seen the Integrity Commission publicly humiliated for daring to say the obvious about two Cabinet Ministers alleged to have committed serious acts of misbehaviour in public office.
 
Today’s T&T has seen an Attorney General usurping the decision-making independence of the Judiciary, by unilaterally deciding that the former Petrotrin Chairman who plunged a $15 Billion crater in the company’s financial viability should not answer charges of corruption.
 
Today’s T&T has seen the political directorate, interfere, manipulate and sully the image of the Central Bank – an independent Monetary Authority – by firing Governor Jwala Rambarran for speaking the truth. A truth that, it should be carefully noted, was discussed with the Shady Imbert months before.
 
Today’s T&T has seen a Prime Minister front for Shady Imbert acute incompetence by calling down the wrath of hardship on the poorest first.
 
A promise of a VAT reduction was revealed as a fiscal measure to jack up the price off food out of the reach of many poor families. Fuel costs have been increased twice. And on both of these deceptions, as thousands lose jobs and incomes, families must find at least $1000 more to pay for everything that cost $1000 less 10 months ago.
 
Today’s T&T has seen a shady Finance Minister shamelessly distort advice, facts, figures and then try to sanitize deception by applying the stamp Government on public documents such as the budget.
 
Because of his wild incompetence, and impetuous arrogance, his move to rip off $13 Billion in revenues of the 2015 fiscal accounts, to add to his 2016 fiscal accounts, so that the previous Government could be blamed for an artificial deficit backfired on all citizens when Moody’s downgraded our credit rating.
 
This has been one of the starkest repercussions of Imbert’s routine, shameless and senseless lies, no doubt because as a failed engineer that gave Grenada a stadium that became a public health hazard, he could never have been expected to have the wit or intelligence for Finance.
 
Today’s T&T has seen a Planning Minister deliver more horse-hair styles to the Parliament than the PNM has delivered Bills, and come under question over a large cash deposit to a local bank account.
 
Today’s T&T has seen an Attorney General routinely use the Parliament for theatre, to mislead the nation into thinking that the former Government prevented the IMF from visiting in 2015. (The IMF visited in January 2015 and deferred further visits due to a strictly enforced IMF protocol that Article IV Consultations must not take place in election years).
 
Not only that, he is quite likely the laziest and most ineffective and underperforming Attorney General, having piloted a grand total of ONE BILL for debate in seven months.
 
And of course, today’s T&T has seen a Cabinet operate like a delinquent URP gang, with Rowley never seeming to know what issues are discussed at Cabinet, with Cuffie seriously mutilating the English language in press briefings, and with Colm Imbert appearing to be the real Prime Minister, pulling Keith Rowley’s every string.
 
The T&T that could be
 
Now, with every lie ever told by the Rowley PNM finally be exposed as rapidly as they were forced on the population, the question is what next?
 
After Rowley’s and real Prime Minister, the shady Imbert’s forked tongue comments about ‘trying to avoid IMF intervention’, it was he who allowed the IMF to dictate the fiscal measures in his budget.
 
And today, it is the same shady Imbert who now has the IMF back again, dictating the further, harsh, poverty-inducing measures that are to come. The IMF’s return came under the guise of a deceptive Finance Minister press release which stated that Imbert was heading to Washington DC to attend the spring meetings of the IMF and the World Bank to ‘review’ four main issues.
 
Taxation: This implies that rather than attempting to stimulate economic activity to spur growth and new activity, Imbert will be pickpocketing citizens even more, by making us pay more taxes on the current stock of shrinking economic resources;
 
Foreign Exchange Regime: This implies discussions on the plummet of over US$1.1 Billion from the Reserves account, which he lied to Parliament about by saying “the Foreign Reserves didn’t move an inch”, and surrender of the final decision on how much the TT dollar should be devalued;
 
The Heritage and Stabilisation Fund: This implies that the lie about using “only US$1.5” will suddenly become “we’ll be spending all of our HSF reserves”;
 
Social Spending: This implies that after conning the nation on a VAT reduction which effectively drove up the price of basic food; hitting further with two increases in the price of fuel, and standing arrogantly in Parliament praising himself over the loss of well over 5000 jobs so far, the net that supported poor families in times of transition will be cut.
 
A nation seething with rage
 
What we now have therefore is a nation that was ably carrying the burden of economic challenges brought on by global energy price shocks that has suddenly fallen into a tumbling decline and a Rowley PNM set out early to manipulate people into feeling guilty about a growing national fury.
 
The sum total of seven months of the Rowley PNM is therefore the emergence of a nation that is seething with rage over multiple hits at incomes, jobs, food prices and fuel prices, and the contemptuous arrogance with which they are meted out when they express discontent.
 
And as more people surrender to the reality that seven months in, we’re all still waiting for a truthful statement from Rowley, and his PNM, discontent, anxiety, insecurity and instability are slowly forming a most deadly Molotov cocktail.
 
With this potent toxin, and a thick air of a kind of general, morbid hopelessness, it is clear that the Rowley PNM has lost control of the situation.
 
The Rowley PNM is a failed 20th century party that is trying without success to govern a 21st century society.
 
The Rowley PNM is out of its depth, severely lacking in skill and competence, woefully incapable of managing our economic challenges, and pathologically wedded to deceiving the nation and crashing Trinidad and Tobago.

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