THE EDITOR: I have never personally been a fan of either Colm Imbert or the PNM. And although the past four years have been challenging for me – to say the least – there is nothing that the administration has said or done in that time which has filled me with the same sense of horror that gripped me during the three hours and 20 minutes of what was supposed to have been the Opposition Leader’s response to the 2020 national budget.
Not only did my eyes widen over the prospect of a promised devaluation as a means of fixing the problems currently being experienced with the supply of foreign currency, but they glazed over and watered when Kamla Persad-Bissessar added the gift of higher lending rates as well.
As any Sixth Form economics student can tell you, both of these measures would not only negatively impact the cost of living, they would stifle consumer demand. And lead to mass layoffs.
Through devaluation, a government, like an eager housewife stretching a jug of mauby by adding water, would benefit from the ability to quench the thirsts of more people “at the table.” But only for as long as it can delay the inevitable demands by labour for higher wages. And only until such a time when the mauby is too watery and the jug can stretch no more.
But why stop there? The Opposition Leader went not one, not two, but three steps further and added promises to reduce the deficit, reduce corporate taxes and to present a balanced budget for all five years of her future administration.
To achieve the latter in year one alone she would be required to reduce the expenditure profile of the government from the present $53 billion to around $42 billion. What madness!
Thankfully, neither Persad-Bissessar nor her economic advisers are in a position at present to realise their grand vision of a depreciated dollar, an increased cost of lending and the stalling of the economy.
And if anything, her utterances, as impractical and unsustainable as they are, have had the positive effect of galvanising me to not only vote for the current administration but to campaign against her.
And in my campaigning I may even be persuaded to (which I have never done before) don a red jersey and murmur “great is the PNM.” A small sacrifice on my part, if only to ensure that such unchecked madness and/or recklessness never sees the corridors of power in TT again.