PEOPLE'S NATIONAL MOVEMENT

Building a Nation Together

  
  
  

There is now confirmation that $60M belonging to the people of Trinidad and Tobago have been stolen from the National Energy Corporation (NEC) through the First Citizens Bank (FCB). These are two state enterprises under the direction and control of the Government by way of appointed boards and other officials. 

It is very disturbing to hear the Attorney General Garvin Nicholas now state that the exposure of this matter to the public by the Leader of the Opposition is his "Playing smart with foolishness". The AG further states categorically that this has "nothing to do with the Government since it is a fraud by an external party".

Following on the earlier unfortunate comments of the Prime Minister this statement of the Attorney General Garvin Nicholas explains why this matter has remained secret for four years and why $25M are still not recovered and no person has been held accountable in Trinidad and Tobago.

The PNM rejects this position of the Attorney General and the Government and demand that the Government take full responsibility through all the relevant agencies to recover all public money which have been stolen and to ensure that any and all persons who engaged in this grand theft be held accountable to the full extent of the law. The matter requires a thorough investigation if public confidence in the management of state resources  is not to be damaged by these and similar acts of corruption. 

Dr Keith Rowley

Leader of the Opposition

The Heliconia Foundation For Young Professionals notes with great distress the downgrade of theTrinidad and Tobago government’s bond rating and issuer ratings to Baa2 from Baa1 with a negative outlook. The Foundation also views this downgrade as even more worrying as it comes on the heels of a downgrade of Petrotrin’s credit rating by Standard and Poor’s Rating Agency from BBB- to BB+.

Of greatest concern to the Foundation is that, of the reasons given by Moody’s, most of them namely: persistent inadequate provision of a vital macroeconomic data framework, limited economic diversification, lack of a medium-term fiscal strategy, challenging prospects for fiscal reforms, weak macroeconomic policy and fiscal deficits are avoidable. Therefore, the responsibility must be placed squarely at the feet of the UNC-led Government.

The news that Trinidad and Tobago compares poorly in terms of the quality of statistical information is not entirely surprising as the Foundation notes that the government has failed in its five years in office to make any significant strides to reform the failed Central Statistical Office.

The Foundation is disturbed by the Agency’s finding that the country’s fiscal and monetary policy frameworks are weaker than those observed in several other investment -grade peers. However, we are not entirely surprised as we note that the UNC-led government’s Medium-Term Policy Framework (MTPF) 2011–2014 which sets out its seven developmental pillars has ignored fiscal and monetary stability and has never been accompanied by a coherent strategy to obtain either. The Foundation also notes that finding an up-to-date Annual Report of Performance which assesses the government’s performance on its developmental pillars is not presently available to the public.

It is clear that there must be a rethinking of the present rigid structure of public expenditure on wages, subsidies, and transfers, which accounts for more than 65% of total expenditures. Moody’s points out that this limits fiscal flexibility. The Foundation notes that for the period of 2010-2014 the UNC-led Government has paid out subsidies and transfers to the tune of $106 billion ($105,974, 700,000) with year on year increases of 28% (2010-2011), 10.12% (2011-2012), 4.55% (2012-2013) and 14.9% (2013-2014). We also note the Government’s persistent deficits in the period 2010-2014 which has accounted over a staggering $8 billion dollars during the government’s time in office and which has led to an accompanying increase in government debt from a modest $48 billion ($48,100,200,000) in 2010 to a whopping $80 billion ($79,442.800,000) in 2014 (i.e. 65.16%).

It is clear that the current strategy of waiting for oil prices to increase and running large social programmes such as the public assistance grant, food assistance grant, CEPEP and URP in the meantime is not sustainable.

The Heliconia Foundation for Young Professionals calls upon the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago to immediately report to the people of this country the true state of the Economy and give an honest account of challenges facing us now. The Foundation also calls on the Government to state its plans to correct the inherent economic and fiscal weaknesses as articulated by Moody’s in its report.

 

Heliconia Foundation For Young Professionals

Michael Coppin

President

 

 

 

2015 General Elections

LIST OF CANDIDATES APPROVED

 

 

 

Constituencies

Candidates

Status

1

Diego Martin West

Dr. the Hon. Keith Rowley

Male

2

Mayaro

Mr. Clarence Rambharat

Male

3

St Joseph

Hon. Terrence Deyalsingh

Male

4

Couva South

Councillor Alif Mohammed

Male

5

San Fernando West

Sen. Faris Al-Rawi

Male

6.

La Horquetta/Talparo

Maxie Cuffie

Male

7

D’Abadie/O’Meara

Brigadier Ancil W Antoine

Male

8

POSN/St Ann’s West

Stuart Young

Male

9

Pointe-a-Pierre

Mr. Neil Mohammed

Male

10

Oropouche East

Mr. Terry Shaun Jadoonanan

Male

11

Diego Martin N/East

Hon. Colm Imbert

Male

12

Oropouche West

Mr. Clifford Rambharose

Male

13

Moruga/Tableland

Dr. Lovell Francis

Male

14

Point Fortin

Major General Edmund Dillon (R’td)

Male

15

Caroni Central

Senator Avinash Singh

Male

16

Arima

Councillor Anthony Garcia

Male

17

Tabaquite

Mr. Kevin Craig Chan

Male

18

San Fernando East

Mr. Randell Mitchell

Male

19

Naparima

Mr. Dons Richard Waithe

Male

20

Siparia

Mr. Vidya Deokiesingh

Male

21

Princes Town

Mr. Nikolaiski Ali

Male

22

Tunapuna

Councillor Esmond I Forde

Male

23

Laventille West

Mr. Fitzgerald Hinds

Male

24

Laventille East/Morvant

Mr. Adrian Leonce

Male

25

Cumuto/Manzanilla

Councillor Bharath (Barry) Lochan

Male

26

Couva North

Mr. Richard Rahoonanan

Male

27

Barataria/San Juan

Mr. Hafeez Ali

Male

28

Diego Martin

Mr. Darryl Smith

Male

29

Lopinot/Bon Air West

Cherrie-Ann Crichlow-Cockburn

Female

30

St Augustine

Alisha S. Romano

Female

31

Port of Spain South

Hon. Marlene McDonald

Female

32

Chaguanas West

Abbegail Nandalal

Female

33

St Ann’s East

Dr. Nyan Gadsby/Dolly

Female

34

Toco/Sangre Grande

Ms. Glenda Jennings-Smith

Female

35

Caroni East

Ms. Sara Alisa Budhu

Female

36

Fyzabad

Ms. Marsha Bailey

Female

37

La Brea

Ms. Nicole Olivierre

Female

38

Arouca/Maloney

Senator Camille Robinson-Regis

Female

39

Tobago East

Ms. Ayanna Webster-Roy

Female

40

Tobago West

Senator Shamfa Cudjoe

Female

30th April 2015

The Editor,

From the outset I wish to categorically state that Dr. Keith Rowley, Political Leader of the People’s National Movement (PNM) is not “leading by executive fiat…” as stated in your editorial dated Wednesday April 30, 2015.

This misleading and grossly inaccurate opinion appeared under the headline, ‘PNM must communicate strategy’. The editorial makes assertions on the PNM’s candidate selection process and draws several conclusions, mainly erroneous, based on an ignorance of the operations of the country’s premier political organization.

As the country’s oldest newspaper, the Guardian must be well aware that the competition to represent the PNM has always been heated since success usually means the opportunity to serve as a Member of Parliament and even at the Cabinet level.

Your archives would show that even the party’s founder, Dr. Eric Williams, frequently found himself at loggerheads with the recommendations of constituencies and a few Party supporters. This can be expected in the cut and thrust of the democratic process and is a healthy development.

The public and certainly, the membership of the Party are well aware of the criteria for selection to represent the PNM and that only one nominee can be selected to represent a particular Constituency.

May I add that the screening committee consists of officers of the Movement who were elected by the membership of the party following the Party’s historic one-man one-vote internal elections which took place in May 2014.

It is for this reason the selection of candidates for the Local and General Elections are not the sole preserve of Dr. Rowley. This is the result of the change in the party’s constitution when our Political Leader virtually surrendered any veto power in the selection process.

For the benefit of the national community the members of the screening committee are ( by office holder) Political Leader, the three Deputy Political Leaders, Chairman, Vice Chairman, Lady Vice Chairman, General Secretary, Public  Relations Officer, Elections Officer and Operations Officer.

It is therefore unfortunate that your editorial seeks to suggest that this robust exercise in democracy amounts to some kind of failure of communication on Dr. Rowley’s part. As a matter of fact, Dr. Rowley addressed the candidates and their campaign managers at a one day session in St Joseph where he outlined the party’s vision and the do’s and don’ts as the candidates face the electorate. His address was delivered in full glare of the media.

I have seen no editorial pointing out that far from the robust democracy being practiced in the PNM, the UNC has not had internal elections since 2010.

And while Dr. Rowley has led the PNM in identifying and selecting a team of highly qualified candidates of integrity, who are now being vetted by the public including our political opponents, there is no similar exercise taking place in any arm of the UNC.  The PNM’s selection process avoids the selection of candidates in secrecy, as is done by the parties opposed to us.

The country can attest to the dangers of such arrangements which, over the last five years have led to revolving door Cabinet appointments and the first ever use of the Crossing of the Floor Act by a Political Party.

The wisdom of the PNM’s approach to the candidate selection process, far from confusing our supporters or the electorate, can be found in the poll results which have been appearing in your newspaper since Sunday and suggests a march to victory by the PNM.

ASHTON FORD

GENERAL SECRETARY

Over the 2007-2010 period the PNM Government did all of the required planning, engineering and documentation for a comprehensive network of highways, known as the National Network of Highways Programme, to be done in phases. When completed, these new highways would have opened up all areas of Trinidad and allowed travel from one end of Trinidad to the other in two hours.

The projects included the San Fernando to Pt. Fortin Highway and the San Fernando to Mayaro Highway, both of which were sent out for tenders prior to the 2010 Election, for construction in 2010.

The next two highways in Phase 1 of the Network, to be constructed in 2011, were the highway from Wallerfield to Manzanilla and the Causeway from Port of Spain to Chaguaramas.

All of these projects were announced and status reports given by me at regular intervals in 2009 and 2010, long before the May 2010 Election. The projects appear on page 19 of the PNM’s 2010 Manifesto.

With respect to the Causeway in particular, a presentation was made in March 2010 by the engineering consultants, AECOM, to the PNM’s Ministerial Committee on Infrastructure Works. In that presentation, AECOM presented its findings and recommendations on the design, route alignment, construction method and estimated cost of the Causeway. AECOM was subsequently mandated to complete the tender documentation and prepare for the invitation of proposals for the Causeway. If the UNC had followed through with our plans, the construction of the Causeway would have been well underway by now.

However, the reaction of Mrs. Kamla Persad-Bissessar in 2010, who was the Leader of the Opposition at the time, to the PNM’s Highways Programme, was to tear up the PNM Manifesto and publicly denounce our National Network of Highways as a waste of time and money.

It is with great shock and amazement therefore, that I now see the same individual, who is now Prime Minister, just a few weeks away from a General Election, and having wasted 5 years condemning the PNM’s vision for highway construction, shamelessly announcing the same Causeway to Chaguaramas, as if it were a brand new UNC idea. This is a new low in politics and it is clear that the UNC has no ideas of its own, and it intends to campaign in 2015 using the PNM’s plans for the development of Trinidad and Tobago.

All right thinking citizens are asked to reject this shameless posturing and brazen attempted theft of PNM policy and programmes by the UNC. Obviously, the best party, by far, to implement PNM policy is the PNM, not the UNC, and the solution is for the Prime Minister to stop the mamaguy and call elections NOW!

Colm Imbert, MP