BC Budget Speech

BC Pires -
BC Pires -



IT’S UNFAIR that, as your Alternative Minister of Finance, I have only 750 words in a five-minute read to outline my budget when the Right Honourable and Much Shorter Colm Imbert took five hours on Monday over his 167-page version (read with the dramatic zest of the old funeral announcements on Radio Trinidad). I think I deserve equal time, if only because I will do something more than remove VAT on pigtail.

Here, then, is my budget. All the words
not in italics in the first paragraph are lifted direct from Colm’s speech.

Editor, it is my honour to present to this Honourable
Newsday my Mock Budget. I am indebted to the Prime Minister for the confidence he has reposed in me as Minister of Finance over the last six years
even though I obviously bus’ on the first five. TT was affected immediately by the pandemic (but) under the incisive leadership of the PM we took swift action to
tell Inshan Ishmael to kiss the rottweiler ar–.

I wish to express my appreciation to those essential workers who have kept operational the key engines of the economy and my colleagues who designed and vigorously implemented our wide-ranging and broad-based response to the virus. It would be remiss of me not to
use a dozen words when one would do in a string of cliches as long as my arm; well, not my arm – a tall person’s arm.

That’s enough parody. In my Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure and Fiscal and Other Measures, I again take my tone from Colm.

Madam Editor, white people will save our collective ar-- via the energy tax
ah-gain but most of those better energy prices will vanish under much higher imported-goods prices. After 60 years of talking about diversifying the economy, the only thing we diversified was which band of political conmen loot the Treasury.

Madam Editor, my suggestion is that we don’t spend a penny which we haven’t earned ourselves.

Which gives us a budget of $0. Zero dullers. Cero Bolivares in Cascade. We can’t buy anything because we haven’t earned anything. So we have no Medium-term Framework except Extended Guava Season and no Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure except Broken To Thief.

Madam Editor, the rubrics under which we pretend to make annual fiscal allocations for Education, Health, National Security, Works and Transport, Agriculture are demonstrably meaningless, if we take one example, Education.

After six decades and multiple billions of dollars spent, every year, we still “graduate” too many functionally illiterate CXC classes that care more about their “grads” than their grades. Some self-proclaimed intellectuals are so stupid, they boast about being anti-vaxxers. Madam Editor, we have become a nation afraid of denouncing dunces.

But there is hope for us as a nation, and it comes from the most unlikely of sources, the Attorney General.

My only fiscal measure, Madam Editor, is: we will do whatever it takes and spend whatever it costs to make Laventille-Morvant and Belmont, currently disparaged by people who don’t understand it as a source of Death in Trinidad, into what it used to be: the essence of the Spirit of Life in Trinidad.

Imagine St Lucia’s Gros Islet Fish Fry as a long Trini weekend, every weekend, with non-stop party the way we do it. In the Beetham. Instead of being left out of the economy altogether (except for state handouts,) the people we now correctly treat as disposable – because if you reach age 24 without being shot dead, you are an elder – would return to being what they were: the foundation on which we built the place we loved.

If we are a country that loves to party, Madam Editor, let us take the party back to the Engine Room. Instead of potow-pow, there would be par-day! Instead of boom-boom there would be boom boxes. Let’s eat doubles, not foie gras, and drink White Oak, not Johnny Walker Blue. They taste better anyway.

And we would have, for once, have done something by ourselves, of ourselves, and for ourselves.

That is the whole budget, Ma’am, and that is the firetrucking point.

Now let me get out of this dotish monkey suit and put on a dashiki or a khurta, Madam Editor, and the party – and the real TT economy – could start.

And never stop.

Madam Editor, I thank you and beg to move.

My waist.

BC Pires is talking out of the orifice from which the ability to speak proves he is genuine Minister of Finance material


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