THE EDITOR: Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley keeps reminding our citizens to do more with less. Apparently, many of them have not received the memo. They still believe the country has lots of money and Rowley is just giving them fake news.
People, wake up and smell the coffee, the country is almost broke. Revenue from oil and gas is below expectations. We need to tighten our belts. Rowley himself needs to take the bull by the horns and begin to introduce some austerity measures. The following are just a few initiatives:
* Reduce the number of State boards from 130 to a manageable ten. Many people who are appointed to boards have no experience and go there believing it is a rite of passage to put their hands into the cookie jar of the Treasury. A case in point is the Port Authority. Get rid of that board. Let the port management perform its core duties of collecting warehouse charges and taxes. The Ministry of Works and Transport should be the sole authority to tender for vessels for the sea bridge.
* Get rid of the Estate Management Development Company. This has become a runaway horse. Under its watch a local contractor is suing the Government for $1 billion. Seriously, do we have local contractors capable of doing $1 billion worth of work? Give me a break.
* Clip the wings of Caribbean Airlines (CAL). We have allowed the loose canon to cost this country billon of dollars.
There is no accountability in this age of modern accounting practices. CAL cannot account for $700 million. We sit back and allow this foolishness to continue.
We need to limit CAL to the Tobago air bridge. Cut out all regional and North American flights (New York) within two years. Caribbean islands cannot and ought not to own an airline. The IMF warned Jamaica about this years ago. Now Jamaica is taking us down with them with this unprofitable arrangement with Air Jamaica.
* The Prime Minister has said on many occasions that contractors are over-bidding for contracts. Experts in construction costs need to have a template of prices for road works. For example, do we need to pay more than $500,000 for one kilometre of road to be paved? What about bridges and waste water plants? How much is the Government paying to complete the two bridges at Mosquito Creek? Get a ratio of payment for local contractors.
* The DPP and the AG must begin to lock up white-collar criminals, no matter who they are or what status they hold in society. White-collar criminals do not steal thousands of dollars but hundreds of millions. They ensure Government revenues are always in deficit. Hospitals, therefore, are without drugs because of them.
If the Keith Rowley administration adopts these measures the deficit would become a surplus in three years time.
JOHN JESSAMY, Fyzabad