Opposition Senator Taharqa Obika claimed the Government was starving the country now to bring "butter" closer to elections.
"And the people of this country are well aware for the fall, for the crash of the economy- because that began on September 7, 2017 when the Dr Rowley-led PNM government came into power. Now they have pulled up hard on the hand brakes of the economy. Their deliberate policy of starving the country and...creating the perception that things were bad, withhold expenditure on social services, cut employment, suffer the people, then closer to elections they going to bring out the butter. After you sucking salt for two and a half years they going to be bringing out the butter to wipe on your face, hoping you would forget the years of hardship they put on you. The people of Trinidad and Tobago would not fall for that."
He was leading the debate for the Opposition in the Senate on Tuesday on the Variation of Appropriation bill.
He said this Government had spent more that a billion dollars than the previous administration in the first two years, raided the Heritage and Stabilisation Fund twice and had been reckless with the overdraft facility. He slammed Government for borrowing money for "castles," for golf course "grooming," legal fees for party hacks and corporations and to pay for the prime minister's more than 25 trips.
"They have not generated a single stream of alternative revenue. All they have done is tax, borrow and spend."
He said the Government had a "taxation obsession" but the Auditor General's report for 2017 showed that the State fell short of VAT estimates by $3.56 billion. Obika pointed out it was a failed policy to introduce VAT on 7,000 basic items failed to generate additional revenue.
"This Government has failed with its VAT programme by increasing hardships on many citizens."