The population is being duped by economists aligned to the bourgeois ruling class that they do not have a right to enjoy fuel subsidies and low water and electricity rates.
Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM) general secretary Ozzi Warwick said this as he spoke at the TT Unified Teachers’ Association’s (TTUTA) annual District Convention of Teachers at Presentation College, San Fernando yesterday.
Warwick, who spoke on the theme, Teaching in Freedom: Empowering Teachers - Encouraging Teacher Agency, also delved into the 2018 budget presentation saying while the nation was being told to tighten their belts, the deficit only started following the bailout of CL Financial.
“You don’t find it interesting that our bourgeois economists, commentators and all of the arm chair critics have been telling us that we need to close the deficit and we have to bear the burden of closing this deficit, you ever find it strange that this deficit only started to arise with the collapse of CL Financial,” Warwick asked.
“In other words, don’t you find it strange that the economists don’t talk about the fact that tax payers had to spend 23 billion dollars to bail out a private enterprise,” he said adding, “Why you think that is… because they do not want to come to terms with the fact that the free market neo-liberal economy that we have has cost tax payers 23 billion dollars.”
He said economists have also been, “Drumming it into our heads”, that the subsidies on fuel, water and electricity were, “Too high” while neglecting to tell the population that Trinidad and Tobago “has one of the lowest percentage of GDP in terms of our subsidies.”
“Some 30 countries pay a higher percentage of GDP in subsidies more than Trinidad and Tobago but they have convinced us to accept the fact that we don’t need subsidies not understanding that it is a proven fact that subsidies are the only mechanism in place to ensure that every single citizen in this country, poor and rich, can benefit from the natural resources of this great land,” he said. “They have already started to drum into our heads, WASA bill too low, we paying too little for water, we paying too little for electricity and we now sitting down there listening to them saying oh gosh boy, so little we paying for water, but what they do not tell you is why don’t they talk to the big corporations and the reason why we have cheap electricity and water is, it has nothing to do with us, it has to facilitate big industries,” he said. “Our position is they (big industries) should pay a higher water bill and electricity bill,” he said.