Moonilal: Trinidad and Tobago should brace for a hardship budget

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

WARNING: Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal makes a point at the UNC’s weekly Sunday press conference in Port of Spain. At right is Mayaro MP Rushton Paray. PHOTO BY AYANNA KINSALE –

THE Opposition has put the country on notice for even more hardship and stress when Finance Minister Colm Imbert presents the budget on Monday in the House of Representatives.

In fact, Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal said on Sunday, the public can expect more nuisance taxes to be announced in Imbert’s presentation.

Moonilal and Mayaro MP Rushton Paray spoke at the Opposition’s weekly Sunday media briefing at the Office of the Opposition Leader, Charles Street in Port of Spain.

“I can predict tomorrow (Monday) there will be more taxes. Every little thing you do in life will have a tax attached to it. And what they cannot introduce new, they will increase.

“I am telling the country today, from where I sit, it appears that we are in for a rough road ahead. I tell the people of Trinidad and Tobago, to expect more hardship,” a grim Moonilal said.

He predicted that allocations for the Tobago House of Assembly and the Police Service will be cut.

“It was just a few months ago that the people of Tobago, to use a colloquial term, spit-out the PNM and rejected them with an overwhelming majority. I ask the Minister of Finance, ‘Will you come tomorrow and punish the people of Tobago for doing that with your measures?’”

Moonilal said he wasn’t hopeful the budget would include measures to address crime, unemployment, poor road infrastructure, new investments to stimulate the economy, offer ease to high food prices, or initiatives to close the existing gap in the education system.

“You know it is sad that we have a crisis with the cost of living, we have a crisis with crime and insecurity, we have a crisis with joblessness and the last several years.” He raised concerns over the high unemployment rate and lack of job opportunities.

“The NIB records show that 112,000 fewer persons have been contributing to NIB with their payments. So it tells you that people are no longer working because they cannot pay national insurance.

“You cannot fill the economy without jobs and we don’t expect job-creation but I want to warn the country that I don’t think he (Imbert) will speak anything about creating jobs. He may speak about taking away jobs and closing down sectors.”