Kamla Persad-Bissessar –
OPPOSITION Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar dismissed the “good news” presented by Finance Minister Colm Imbert about the economy’s improved performance from 2021 to the early part of this year.
She did so when she contributed to debate in the House of Representatives to debate a motion to approve its Standing Finance Committee’s Report and the Finance (Supplementation and Variation of Appropriation) (Financial Year 2022) Bill, 2022 on Monday.
The latter is known as the Mid-Year Budget Review. The committee sat on May 13 to approve an additional $3 billion for the 2022 budget. The motion and the bill were passed by the House on Monday.
Opposition MPs thumped their desks as Persad-Bissessar declared they did not trust any of the information which Imbert provided in his earlier contribution. “Where all the money gone?”
Referring to budget documents which all parliamentarians receive, Persad-Bissessar claimed, “The Government is engaging in spreadsheet economics.”
She alleged Government was moving figures from one spreadsheet in the documents and placing it into another, to create the impression that the economy had performed better over the last fiscal year.
Persad-Bissessar reiterated UNC claims that the PNM’s only plan to grow the economy was “tax, borrow and spend.” She scoffed at Imbert’s statement that Government had not borrowed money locally or externally for five months.
“The Government will turn the corner on borrowing.”
Referring to the committee’s report, Persad-Bissessar reiterated, “The maths is not mathsing.”
She claimed there was no evidence of a national secondary roads company being formed, despite an allocation of $100 million being made in the report for it.
She wondered how money allocated to the National Security Ministry would be used to reduce crime in TT and if any of it would be used to buy “spyware or malware.”
After reiterating the UNC’s position that National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds had proven himself unable to do his job, Persad-Bissessar told Hinds.
“Minister, you should go home in silence.”
She wondered if the Prime Minister had ever been to the Heights of Aripo where Andrea Bharatt’s body was found last February.
Persad-Bissessar said she saw something on Facebook which said Dr Rowley went to Aripo “to see somebody’s cow.”
Persad-Bissessar believed there were no signs of positive economic growth and Imbert provided the population with nothing to give them hope that their quality of life would improve from the increased revenues that he alluded to.
“People in this country cannot put a plate of food on the table.”