Trinidad opposition leader responds to budget proposals

KeithRowley-1Port of Spain, Trinidad — Opposition leader Dr Keith Rowley responded to the Trinidad and Tobago government’s budget proposals in Parliament on Friday. In a two-hour statement, he criticised what he described as the increasing annual deficit, as compared to the period 2004 to 2010 when his party, the People’s National Movement (PNM), was in power.

He claimed that the deficit was in an upward spiral for the first three years of the PNM’s term in office, but then they were able to turn it around after a “whopping” $12 billion shortfall. He said the current People’s Partnership government is doing just the opposite.

However, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar called Rowley’s statement “a deliberate distortion of the truth”.

“It is clear that Dr Rowley has no vision or plan for Trinidad and Tobago and is content to spread misinformation in order to damage and try to undo the progressive reforms that the People’s Partnership government has introduced in the past four years,” the prime minister stated.

Rowley pledged to restore the previous PNM government’s “Vision 2020” but Persad-Bissessar described this as one of a number of unpopular measures that the people rejected overwhelmingly in the 2010 general election.

Rowley also pledged to undertake another mass transit feasibility study and to build a Rapid Rail system, which Persad-Bissessar pointed out had also been roundly rejected by the people as too costly, impractical and damaging to the agricultural infrastructure of the country.

“In 2010, the people of Trinidad and Tobago resoundingly rejected the policies of the PNM, and today Dr Rowley showed again his callous disregard for the will of the people by stating that he would reinstate and expand PNM policies,” the prime minister said.

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