OPPOSITION Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar dubbed the Keith Rowley administration “a Government of Fs” at a briefing yesterday at candidate screening at the UNC Eastern Office in El Dorado. “This is a Government of all the Fs – family, friends, financiers, fake oil, Faris and now fools,” she quipped.
She was cheered on by 30 potential candidates, for the Arima and Sangre Grande Corporations, whose turnout and enthusiasm she praised.
Persad-Bissessar hit Finance Minister Colm Imbert’s $382 million VAT rebate to Paria Fuel Trading Company as “an attempt to cook the books” and falsely portray Paria as profitable.
She said a legal notice is the way to do rebates, not by a letter to Paria. Persad-Bissessar asked what happens to VAT already paid at the pump by motorists?
Unlike Petrotrin earning foreign exchange, she said Paria monthly uses US$20 million for imports, even as TT has had no new foreign investment under the Government. She lamented Standard and Poor’s (S&P) downgrade of TT as making debt repayment and loan access harder. “How can that ever be a good thing?” she asked, scoffing at the Government’s view. While the Government has TT on a dangerous path, the UNC’s National Economic Transformation Master Plan will return prosperity to TT, Persad-Bissessar said. She hit the Government’s commission of inquiry into the Point Fortin Highway land acquisition. “The Government wants to govern by looking in the rear view mirror, not watching the precipice ahead.
“They will spend millions of dollars on a public relations gimmick on the eve of an election.” She said the inquiry is a distraction from S&P which had hit the Government’s lack of data, revenue collection and growth stimulation.
Persad-Bissessar said the Government can conduct the inquiry and if anyone is found in wrongdoing it will deal with them. “When they are finished they will lock up themselves. They’ll be behind bars.” She viewed the Government as “the most corrupt and racist.”
Saying TT’s foreign reserves fell from US$11 billion to US$7 billion under this Government, she said, “By the time they are done, we’ll have no reserves at all.”
Persad-Bissessar calculated local elections will be held in January, due five weeks after the November 28 expiration of councillors terms. Saying the UNC had asked several times before Dr Rowley had said that this year he will announce the local polls, she said he may use a miscellaneous provisions bill now in Parliament to delay the election. “I don’t trust them.” Saying UNC members are excited and keen to serve in local corporations, she reckoned screening would continue into August. “We are resolute and ready to kick out the PNM Government. People are disenchanted with the Rowley Government.” She said the party will today screen 40 applicants for Piarco/Tunapuna at the Eastern Office.