Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 1st 2014 Contents A5
Wednesday, October 1, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Independent Senator Rolph
Balgobin yesterday appealed to
the Government to bring to Par-
liament for approval new pro-
He made the call during his
contribution to yesterday's senate
debate on the 2015 budget. The
$64.4 billion package was pre-
sented earlier by Finance and the
Economy Minister Larry Howai
in the Senate.
Balgobin said the legislation
should be part of the legal frame-
work as "it is the only way to
Balgobin said corruption was
being fought in the country
through the media. In seeking to
clarify the claim, Balgobin said,
"People pointing fingers at other
people, people leaking things (and)
they're dropping things in your
But he said no ordered and
organised country operated that
"Let us have the procurement
legislation, let us have transparency
in procurement," he added.
He said he wanted to know why
no one was jailed after the
Clico/HCU Commission of
Enquiry. He also said he wanted
to know what was the status of
the e-mailgate probe. Balgobin
noted that the investigator in that
probe, deputy Commissioner of
Police Mervyn Richardson, had
retired and the matter was still
He also spoke about the July
2011 Caribbean Airlines plane crash
in Guyana. He said up to yesterday
he was unable to get the transcript
of that crash in which several pas-
sengers were injured.
He said those situations were
part of the conspiracy of silence
that existed in the country.
Balgobin also spoke about the
need to develop a policy on local
content. He said he felt citizens
here drank more Johnnie Walker
whiskey "than anybody else in the
entire world" and during the deep-
est recession people still drank
champagne in the country.
He said there was still a pref-
erence for foreign goods, and that
even the water provided in Par-
liament for legislators was foreign.
He said that national inferiority
complex must be confronted head
on.The debate is expected to con-
tinue at the Tower D, International
Waterfront Centre, today.
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-
Bissessar has done what former
prime ministers Arthur NR Robin-
son, Patrick Manning and Basdeo
Panday could not do, that is, hold
a political coalition together.
This was the boast of Planning
Minister Dr Bhoe Tewarie in the
Senate yesterday as he made his
contribution to the Appropriation
"At the end of May 2015, she
will be the first prime minister to
hold a five-party coalition togeth-
er."Tewarie said Robinson was a
good prime minister and did other
good things but he could not hold
the coalition in the National Alliance
for Reconstruction together.
Panday could not hold together
the same coalition with Robinson
nor even different elements within
his UNC, he said.
Manning had to call a general
election two and a half years before
it was constitutionally due, which
he lost because he could not hold
different elements of the PNM
together, Tewarie added.
Persad-Bissessar was able to do
this, although she had to dismiss
ministers who were from the UNC,
Congress of the People and Move-
ment for Social Justice.
"She kept faith with the National
Joint Action Committee and the
Tobago Organisation of the Peo-
"But, most importantly, she kept
faith with the people, listening,
serving, delivering, caring," Tewarie
Referring to Persad-Bissessar's
recent visit to the United Nations,
in New York, and her interactions
with world leaders, he said, "She
is bold, decisive and forthright.
Sometimes she might be contro-
versial but that is a leader at work."
Tewarie urged citizens to keep
God in their thoughts and warned
them not to listen to those who
were out to beguile them with false-
Recalling the e-mailgate scandal,
he said Opposition Leader Dr Keith
Rowley fabricated a story to give
credence to a false accusation.
"Every week they weave new
stories and manufacture new
charges which turn out to be false
and without substance."
He said the budget was well
received across the board because
there were no austerity measures
to cause hardship and everyone was
given an opportunity to save and
Tewarie then shared the govern-
ment's vision for the next 20 years.
The PP has an action plan for 2015
to 2020, and definite ideas on what
kind of country they want T&T to
be by 2033, he said.
In 2033, T&T will be a place
where all will enjoy life in a safe
and economically prosperous envi-
At present, T&T is classed as a
high-income, developed country,
Opposition Senator Lester Henry says
Government continues to spend exces-
sively with little economic development.
Henry said this in his contribution to
yesterday's senate debate on the 2015
budget, which was presented earlier by
Finance and the Economy Minister Larry
Henry said the Government had spent
between $280 to $300 billion since assum-
ing office in 2010 without proper account-
He said the $64.4 billion fiscal package
was more of the same. He said the Gov-
ernment had failed to account for the 2014
allocations. He also said the Government
was allowing state agencies to borrow
from private institutions.
"So the debt shows up some time after.
So that debt is out there. We don't know
what extent it is. But when it reaches a
critical mass the Government will issue
a bond to raise money to pay off (the
He also said since assuming power the
Government had borrowed an estimated
US$800 million from the Inter-American
Development Bank (IDB).
Henry said the Government had spent
more than it projected, and the annual
projected growth was never achieved. He
stressed the growth rate was not com-
mensurate with the level of Government
Howai said new procurement legislation
would be brought to Parliament during
the current session, although two weeks
ago, he indicated that he did not expect
the legislation to be implemented within
the next year.
Howai also said the Government was
moving to resolve the Clico/HCU matters
following the recent arbitration decision
on Clico's shares in Methanol Holdings
The three-member arbitration tribunal,
which had been sitting on the shareholder
oppression matter brought by Consolidated
Energy Ltd (CEL) since May 2011, directed
Clico and CL Financial to make an offer
to CEL within 14 days of September 11.
The combined offer amounts to
US$1.175 billion (TT$7.5 billion), which
was the value of Clico and CL Financial's
stake in MHTL arrived at by the arbitra-
Howai said new credit union legislation
was also to be brought to Parliament soon.
during budget debate
Planning minister sings praises of PM
Plea for procurement laws
through the media
Independent Senator Dr Rolph Balgobin during yesterday's budget
debate in the Senate at Tower D, International Waterfront, Port-of-
Spain. PHOTO: CLYDE LEWIS
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