A Public Accounts Enterprises Committee (PAEC) report recently laid in Parliament, disproves Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar's denial that the People's Partnership (PP) ever spent $16 billion from the National Gas Corporation (NGC), during its tenure.
This was disclosed by Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Stuart Young yesterday as he responded to Persad-Bissessar in the budget debate in the House of Representatives. The PAEC is chaired by Opposition Senator Wade Mark.
Young said the report shows the NGC made dividend payments of $1.2, $4.2, $3.8 and $6.8 billion between 2012 and 2015. Government MPs thumped their desks when Young declared, "That total is $16 billion." He said the report also disproved Persad-Bissessar's claim the People's National Movement (PNM) spent $3.5 billion from NGC in the last four months. Young said that money was, "actually proceeds of the PPGL/TTGL IPO before they left."
Had the PP won the September 7, 2015 general elections, Young said, that money would have been spent in 24 hours, "Because they are quite capable of doing that." He said the report also categorically rejects claims by Persad-Bissessar and former energy minister Kevin Ramnarine that there was no natural gas curtailment under the PP.
Recalling the PP did nothing to prevent gas supply contracts from expiring, Young said there is also documentary evidence to show that on election day, former attorney general Garvin Nicholas was pressuring public servants to sign an opinion from his ministry, that would expose TT to, "Billions of US dollars in claims", from energy companies with respect to those contracts.
He said through, "Follow the money", the population will soon learn where the money went under the PP. Declaring the PNM is not afraid of anyone, Young said, "No corporation will hold a gun to the head of this PNM administration." Young said he was disappointed that a managing director of a commercial bank was critical of the proposed 35 percent tax on banks' profits after taxes.
Noting that banks' biggest shareholders are the citizens, Young said this individual spoke about the bank's other shareholders and its employees. "If you are earning over $1 billion after tax, do not threaten the strand of a single hair on one of those employees and don't threaten the Government," he warned.
Young also said under the PP, there was, "No securitisation of the money", the State used to bailout CL Financial (CLF). He said this caused that money to balloon from $5 billion in 2009 to $23 billion by the time the PP left office. Young said despite considerable resistance, Government succeeded in appointing liquidators for CLF to protect taxpayers' money. Reminding MPs that part some of CLF's assets will be used to create a new national mutual fund, Young said it refutes the claim that CLF's assets will be, "Sold off to any one percent."