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No surprises

Friday, May 11, 2018

In keeping with many projections, as well as some of the hints Finance Minister Colm Imbert had dropped in recent days, the Mid-Year Budget Review was an announcement of economic recovery.

However, the presentation was also about cautious optimism, as the minister pointed out that T&T is not yet out of the woods. Therefore, even as all indicators point to the end of the recession after four years, thanks to increased natural gas production and higher crude oil prices, the need for fiscal discipline remains.

Still, at the midpoint of this budgetary package, it was good to hear that Government collected $1.1 billion more in revenue from income and profits—$4.9 billion compared to $3.8 billion last year—and the deficit is down from $4.7 billion to $4.2 billion.

These improvements, while welcome, should not be taken as a signal to loosen the purse strings too much. If anything, these gains need to be channelled into necessary developmental works, as well as advancing the diversification agenda. More economic resilience, to withstand external shocks and any unforeseen developments, is essential to get the country on the right path.

Deadly ammunition

As friends and colleagues gather today for last rites for Sgt Darryl Honore, who succumbed to injuries suffered in a shoot-out with a fellow officer last week, there is word that he was killed by deadly hollow point bullets. They now have to process the fact that what was initially assessed as non-life threatening injuries were, in fact, deadly—adding another disturbing dimension to what is already an unfortunate incident.

Hollow point bullets hailed as the gold standard of defensive ammunition by experts, causes substantial internal injury, as they increase in diameter once within the target, maximising tissue damage and blood loss or shock.

It is illegal in many parts of the world. The Hague Convention of 1899, Declaration III, prohibits its use in international warfare and in the United Kingdom it is prohibited under the Firearms Act 1968 and is illegal to possess or transfer without the written permission of the Home Secretary.

While it is not standard issue for the T&T Police Service (TTPS), it is preferred by many servicemen for their personal handguns. The question now should be whether firearm users locally should be allowed the continued use of this type of ammunition.

A boost for agriculture

The turning of sod on Wednesday for construction of a $70 million Agro-Processing and Light Industrial Park in Moruga is not only good news for that community but for T&T’s struggling agricultural sector.

It will bring jobs to Moruga, once an area where agriculture thrived and is also a positive step toward economic diversification.


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