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Sunday 19 August 2018
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Letters to the Editor

Why single me out, Colm?

THE EDITOR: Open letter to Finance Minister Colm Imbert.

Minister Imbert really? Sir, my political history is no secret, “yuh ain’t buss no mark” on Twitter and radio and newspaper. I don’t have cocoa in the sun. Proud to have done it, distinguished myself in my short sojourn and chose to leave in the face of much objections.

You see sir, I have no political tabanka and have since chosen to serve country rather than party. Everyone knows, minister, as I’m very often introduced as a former member of Parliament by the media. Why do you think they seek my views on political issues as well?

It may appeal to a few sycophants but people know that you are deflecting from the real conversation that needs to take place: the validity of your growth claims. And they know that my fearless objective voice of reason helps to put things in proper perspective.

On a point of information, completion and for your future use, there are some of my political appointments you missed: 1995-2000 (Panday UNC) board member of NGC, NEC, PPGPL, TTALNG; Manning PNM (late 2000s) member of the National Prices Commission (to which the then PM appointed me without consultation the very day I launched a scathing attack on his government for neglecting agriculture at a national food consultation) and the National Poultry Commission. So what that make me? UNC? PNM? Or Trini to the bone?

It is unfortunate that you define my service to country at the highest level as rendering me incapable of independent thought, but that does not surprise me given the era of politics from whence you come. As I’ve said, the UNC too brands me PNM for critiquing them, “six ah one half a dozen the other.” They say “ah vex they didn’t give me a wok.” Both, very myopic. Sad for my beloved country.

Minister, why are you singling me out for such special and differential treatment? Even the EU stop that for the Caribbean. The IMF, the very day of your mid-year review, maintained its projected 0.2 per cent growth for TT for 2018 and 2019. Did you wave a magic wand to arrive at 2.0 per cent and 2.2 per cent, respectively? Is the IMF UNC/COP?

The president of the manufacturing sector, while excited by the news of good times ahead and especially for the US$100 million access to exporters, is reported to have maintained that the sector is struggling. TTMA UNC/COP? The Tunapuna Business Chamber has responded that the ground not “feeling yuh feeling” minister. They UNC/COP too?

The Couva Chamber is on record that your mid-year review was “simply politicking” and that agriculture, tourism continue to shrink, manufacturing and services flat, that the supposed turnaround “has not translated to the business community,” and questions the benefits of higher energy prices given production challenges. Are ministries now the non-energy sector? Because the movers and shakers here are disagreeing with you.

Your Minister Allyson West, when pressed on CNC3 as to where the growth in the non-energy sector came from, could not answer. She referenced things like the impact of the Toco port and other things to come. How can future initiatives explain actual growth now? When you and your ministers can’t provide the explanations people turn to people like me for explanations.

So minister, instead of bashing me on the radio and Twitter, let you and I having a sit-down, on my IETV show, Diversification: Not Just Talk, in front of the nation. Sir, with the greatest of respect, that would be so much in the better interest of country. People are calling you coward for not having yet accepted my invitation.

Come on minister, explain how you arrived at your “bright sun shiny day” when the rest of us experiencing cloudy with intermittent thundery showers.

INDERA
SAGEWAN-ALLI via e-mail

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