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Imbert: Economists unfair and biased

Published: 
Saturday, May 12, 2018
Finance Minister Colm Imbert

Finance Minister Colm Imbert has criticised five economists and commentators he accuses of being unfair and biased in their criticisms of Government’s handling of the economy.

As he wound up debate on the mid-term review just around 1 a, yesterday, Imbert singles at former PNM Government Minister Mariano Browne, and economists Patrick Watson, Roger Hosein, Indera Sagewan

Alli and Marla Dukharan. He said their commentaries could not be seen as unbiased because of political and other affiliations.

“Roger Hosein was associated with multi-million contracts flowing from the Ministry of Planning and Development when the Member for Caroni Central (Dr Bhoe Tewarie) was the minister,” he said.

“When you have somebody like that who was a beneficiary of UNC largesse, who is coming out to talk in contradiction to anything said by this PNM administration, you have to take these people with a pinch of salt,” he said.

Tewarie immediately rose to defend Hosein. He said there were a number of people were involved in the preparation of Action 2025.

“There were economists from Trinidad and Tobago and one from IDB. They were paid by contract. All were small contracts, not more than $20,000.”

However, Imbert stood his ground: “I stand by what I say. I take responsibility for what I say.”

Training his guns on Sagewan-Alli, Imbert said when he first came into the Parliament a Patrick Manning administration, Sagewan-Alli was a ULF MP.”

Told by a colleague that it was UNC, Imbert responded: “ULF, UNC same thing. The fact of the matter is, I looked across the other side of the Parliament and saw Indera Sagewan Alli as an Opposition MP and now I have to listen to people like that talking as unbiased, neutral, dispassionate commentators.”

Sagewan-Alli said she was left to wonder if Imbert “is going to stir up all of us and say none of us are worth the paper on which our degrees are printed? I am a trained economist.”

She said he should respond sensibly, not respond through a blame game.

“That is really uncalled for. I have higher expectations of my Minister of Finance,” Sagewan Alli said.

Zeroing in on Mariano Browne, Imbert said when they were doing the liquidation of CL Financial, the former minister “surfaced on the other side working against the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, trying to prevent taxpayers from getting back the $23 billion that was put into the Clico bailout.”

In response, Browne said Imbert is failing. He said although there has been an increase in natural gas prices there will be little improvement to the quality of life of citizens.

Imbert pointed out that Patrick Watson is a deputy leader of the Congress of the People.

“This is what we’re dealing with madame speaker. If it’s not COP and it’s not UNC and it’s not ULF,” he told the House

He described Marla Dukharan as “Miss Bitcoin.”

“Let me repeat. One got money from the UNC, one was a UNC MP, one worked against the government and the people of Trinidad and Tobago with the CL shareholders to try and deprive the country of that $23 billion and one is trying to peddle crypto-currency in Trinidad and Tobago. I’m sorry, I must listen to them? Come better than that. Come with somebody with credibility please,” Imbert said.

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