THE EDITOR: This is in response to the letter on January 4, “The Opposition we want in 2019,” by Minister Camille Robinson-Regis, Leader of Government Business in the House of Representatives.
The performance of the Government in Parliament since coming into office in 2015 has been nothing more than political theatrics, PR and gimmickry. The Attorney General is on record as saying he will legislate by tactics.
The dismissive and insulting manner with which the Government treats with questions and motions in Parliament is a matter of public record and it cannot hide its behaviour behind paltry letters to the editor.
As the incoming government, our job is not to support poorly conceived legislation but to hold the Government to account and provide alternative and workable strategies for our development. We have done our constitutionally mandated remit with excellence and distinction. The Government is under the misguided notion that the Parliament is an extension of Balisier House.
This Government’s parliamentary record is atrocious. It is characterised by utter disdain for those who have a different view and a less than optimal legislative record. For example, the Government’s own admission is that five pieces of legislation must be passed in order for TT to come off the various EU/OECD/Global Forum/FATF/CFATF blacklists. However to date only one poorly drafted bill has reached Parliament. It is not serious about providing good governance.
Further, this Rowley Government’s record with joint select committees (JSCs) is deplorable. The JSC appointed to discuss the most important Tax (Amendment) Bill met for only two hours and 15 minutes despite the fact that Opposition members had previously indicated in writing to the secretariat that they were available and willing to meet throughout the last parliamentary vacation. The record to date of the anti-gang legislation shows a government ill-prepared to operationalise legislation which it claims to be urgent.
We can look further at its behaviour in bringing, at the 11th hour, legislation requiring a special majority, rife with errors and expecting the Opposition to participate in the creation of bad law. The Government is now resorting to its familiar blame game, trying to make excuses for their incompetence.
This Rowley-led Government has not yet understood after three years in office that it was elected to govern and bring prosperity to our country. It falsely claimed that it was “red and ready.” It is now clear to all that this is the worst government in our post-independence history. The country is fed up of the PNM’s blame-game manoeuvres.
Minister Robinson-Regis and her inept government’s time would be much better spent fixing the inter-island ferry service, providing alternative job opportunities for the 5,000 plus workers fired at Petrotrin, or reducing our excessive tax burdens to stimulate growth in the economy, or diversifying our economy, or developing a humane and pragmatic refugee policy that recognises the limits of our absorptive capacity, or treating Parliament with the respect which the framers of our Constitution expected.
Our country is in shambles after three years of government by vaps and policy made up on the fly. The population is demoralised. Our economy is in the lower tier of performers in Caricom.
Robinson-Regis’ time would be much better spent convincing her Cabinet colleagues that they should immediately resign and call an election so that a UNC-led government can restore sanity, prosperity and good governance to our country and that way they can settle into being the Opposition she would like to see.
DAVID LEE, MP
Opposition Chief Whip