All must demand accountability
have noted that one of your readers by the name of Michael
Coryat of Cascade is upset because I had the audacity
to say that I am tired of people blocking roads with debris
and burning tyres, and that regional corporations have
got to stop passing the buck when it comes to infrastructure
For the record, I am also tired of people like Coryat
attempting to justify hooliganism and lawlessness and
this country will not progress as quickly as it should
if people like Coryat cannot differentiate between right
Further, his defence of the non-performance of regional
corporations on the ground that they have been given no
funding by the Government is just a cop-out, which flies
in the face of the fact that local government bodies were
allocated over $1 billion in 2006, including over $200
million for infrastructure work.
At this stage in our countrys development, its
time that we all demand accountability from our institutions,
and local government bodies are no exception.
Minister of Works and Transport
BWIA, thanks for service, loyalty
A recent issue of the Guardian, there was an excellent
poem written by my very good and long-standing friend,
Everard Leon. The poem mirrors the sentiments of most
Trinis to the bone.
The majority of the islands of the Caribbean have all
benefited from BWIAs services even though they never
participated financially in the airline, even when invited
to do so. This has caused many of the financial woes.
Now that it is too late they are all registering concern
because they know that the international airlines have
no loyalty to the Caribbean and will suspend or terminate
their services at a moments notice, leaving the
area stranded and starved for reliable air servicesand
I include Caribbean Star and the other Stanford outfit
Political interference over the years in the management
and relations with labour unions is the other major cause
of the problems which this organisation struggled with
and which have finally caused its demise.
The insistence that BWIA fly several loss-making routes
because it suited the Government is another of the causes.
So bye-bye, BWIA. Thank you for your service and loyalty
over the years.
Everard has said it all. Cest la vie.
At the same time I say good luck and best wishes to your
successor. My hope and prayers are with you.
I hope that good sense will prevail and that you will
succeed where others have failed.
Pressure for my NIB pension
I AM having extreme difficulty in getting my disablement
pension from the National Insurance Board in Couva.
I am due a monthly pension and the last time I was paid
was in March.
Every time I go to the NIB office in Couva they tell me
the file is misplaced and to return at a later date, but
each time I go back its the same story.
Could somebody kindly help me? I have no other means of
there a real financial policy?
sometimes wonder what our real financial policy is and
where we are headed. Right now, we are busy building a
Vision 2020 policy which means we will be a developed
nation by the year 2020, whatever that means.
It means lots of tall buildings apparently, and colossal
traffic jams. Presumably in developed countries
the people all have cars, sit in traffic jams and look
up at tall buildings.
In our mission to 2020 we are proposing ever bigger budgets
each year and borrowing ever more. Our national debt is
rising despite the fact that we earn more revenue than
ever before. We still sit in traffic jams, have a poor
police force, inadequate schools and inadequate healthcare.
One apparent measure of fiscal responsibility that has
been promised to us is this plan for a Revenue Stabilisation
and Heritage Fund. It is true that the concept was not
introduced by this government, but the Government has
taken ownership of it. Of what?
Is it a petroleum stabilisation fund, or a heritage fund?
Are they distinct funds or is this a collective new name
for the fund? And is it legally binding? Just what exactly
You may have noticed that the Government boasted that
the fund had risen to over $8 billion some time ago, but
subsequent statements would appear to have it at $5.4
billion or maybe $3.6 billion, depending on which report
you read. I skimmed through the PriceWaterhouseCoopers
summary and it was nowhere to be found. Finally Minister
Enill claims it is in the vicinity of US$1.2 million.
Commentators have likened it to the Norway State Petroleum
Fund in their wish list of what it should be. I assure
you there is no likeness.
Unlike the Norwegians who recognise that their oil is
a temporary phenomenon and wish to put by for a
rainy day, ours is more like a slush fund into which
you dip when you have an election budget coming up.
The Norwegian fund is estimated at over US$241 billion
from an economy of about US$194 billion. We have US$1.2
billion in an economy of about US$15 billion. Or put another
way, since the fund could be regarded as a reservoir of
money to support Governments obligations, we have
about $7.5 billion in a country with an annual budget
of $38 billion.
Thats about 2.5 months of expenditure!
Meanwhile, its anyones guess what our national
debt is. Way more than $7.5 billion. So by balancing one
account against another we actually have a negative amount.
While the Government claims to be putting money into the
whatever-its-called fund, it is actually borrowing
far more than that to build Tarouba, and the waterfront,
and housing in Chaguaramas, the curry duck highway to
Manzanilla etc, generally all the things we dont
want to see in the country.
And this will all be paid for some time before the gas
reserves run out? About the year 2020 Id say.
Complex not free from politics
Minister of Health, in his haste to stop the health symposium
under the auspices of the political leader of the Congress
of the People, exposed his intellectual inertia when he
tried to give a reason for his action.
The minister would like to give the impression that the
Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex is an institution
free from politics. The fact remains that as long as the
medical complex carries the name of the late political
leader of the PNM it suggests to the nation that it is
a PNM building.
The institution is not named after a doctor in the medical
profession but rather after a doctor of politics who has
never even been a minister of health.
If the minister wishes to talk about deceit then he should
address this aberration. He should also address the fact
that as minister he visits this institution with his PNM
It appears that the minister has decided that only the
PNM, as a political party, through the patronage of the
name Eric Williams and his balisier logo, must put its
stamp on the medical complex.
To him, it would be sacrilege to have any activity under
the patronage of another political leader, even though
there is no written code which debars him.
coming for others too, PM?
less than prime ministerial behaviour at the PNM convention,
the Patrick Manning warned two members of COP that the
law is coming to get them.
I would like to ask the born again PM, whose
behaviour at the convention and in Parliament was certainly
un-Christian, if the law will also be coming
for the wrong doers who planted cocaine in Sadiq Bakshs
water tank, and the guilty parties responsible for the
cocaine in the diplomatic pouch?
I hope Manning will not duck and run from
these critical questions.