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Thursday 16 August 2018
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Charles: Govt wasting Parliament time

Naparima MP Rodney Charles accused the Government of wasting Parliament’s time by their allegedly poor replies to listed questions to ministers posed by the Opposition. In a statement, he called for “genuine responses” by the Government to let citizens fully understand the reasoning behind their decision-making.

Charles hit, “It is becoming the norm for citizens of the country, on whose behalf MPs ask questions, to receive snide, unhelpful, dismissive, and outright irresponsible responses to very serious questions posed regarding the governance of our country and the abysmal performance of the Government.”

Last Friday in Parliament the Government showed such “utter disregard,” he alleged. Charles said he had asked Minister of Foreign and Caricom Affairs Dennis Moses when terminal benefits will be paid to former TT diplomats who left office after September 2015.

“Questions for oral answer are submitted weeks in advance to give the respective ministers ample time to prepare. This seemingly simple question yielded a long, incoherent, circuitous, obfuscatory, vacuous, and callous response which can be summarised in one sentence: ‘I don’t know and I couldn’t care less.’”

Saying many ex-diplomats were hounded out of office by the Government, he said after three years they have not been paid one black cent in terminal benefits and are still in the dark after the minister’s response on payments owed to them. Charles said last Friday Finance Minister Colm Imbert was asked if a fair system exists to ensure small businesses are not disadvantaged by foreign-exchange shortages, but no relevant reply was given but that private banks handle disbursements of foreign exchange with mere guidance from the Government.

“This is frightening. It means that foreign-owned Canadian banks can prioritise foreign-exchange payments to its Canadian shareholders over the needs of local small businessmen.

“Minister Imbert cannot understand the negative implications of his non-answer.”

Charles recalled Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal asked about government steps to prevent the continued shutdown by Caribbean Nitrogen Company (CNC), but got just an obfuscatory reply that it is hoped negotiations will continue between CNC and the National Gas Company.

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