Independent senator Paul Richards said while the 2022 budget had good policies and ideas for development, Trinidad and Tobago lacked implementation.
He was speaking in the Senate on Tuesday afternoon in the debate for the Appropriation Bill 2022.
Richards said it was there was need for more accountability of projects, since there was a recurring trend that they are repeated.
“Accountability is lacking. We see several projects coming back and no accountability as to why they have been implemented or what is the stage of implementation and execution.
“We are great at designing, we are great at proposing, we are great at ideas, but we have really poor implementation record. When you think of projected spends of between $51 and $56 billion in the past years, and in some cases supplementary appropriations, we come up woefully short on delivery. And this is even before the pandemic struck.”
Additionally, he said it was about time there was equality and equity, and to move away from what he described as a “dependency syndrome mentality.”
He said that while the Ministry of Social Development and Families Services outlined many initiatives to assist vulnerable people in the pandemic, there should be measures to move from hand-outs post recovery.
“This ministry should be providing the way forward to weaning people in large cadres off, what could end up being a dependency syndrome. We have become a very welfare-driven society.
He added that a major challenge remained where certain sectors feel marginalised and the creation of a social division cab be harmful to the country.
“This social division is threatening to tear our country apart because some feel the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. The inequality gaps seem to be increasing significantly and are not being addressed adequately.”
Richards said there must be provisions to guard against leaving people behind due to the limited resources and the strains put on the national purse.