Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 21st 2014 Contents A5
December 21, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
Finance Minister Larry Howai says the
Government has started an internal conver-
sation about the possibility of deeper cuts
in spending due to the continued decline in
the international price of oil, and the fact
that T&T is likely to receive less tax revenue
for its LNG exports.
The minister said last week that those dis-
cussions focused on the need to reduce or
delay purchases of goods and services, and
limit new hiring in the public sector.
He said there was already a 30 per cent
vacancy level in the public service.
Howai, in a statement to Parliament on
November 28, signalled that the Government
wanted to reduce its expenditure in the 2015
fiscal year by $1.3 billion, which was about two
per cent of the $66 billion the Government
expected to spend from October 1, 2014, to
September 30, 2015. The Government s original
budget was based on an assumption that oil
prices would average US$80 a barrel and T&T s
netback price for LNG would be US$2.75 a unit.
The reduction of $1.3 billion was based on
a scenario in which oil prices would average
around US$65 a barrel for the year, while the
natural gas netback would be US$2.75.
West Texas Intermediate for January delivery
rose US$2.41 to settle at US$56.52 a barrel on
the New York Mercantile Exchange on Friday.
The February future closed at $57.13, which
was US$22.87 below the price on which the
current budget was predicated.
He said the discussion about deeper cuts
in spending arose because natural gas prices
have come down with the most recent netback
price being US$2.90, which is just US$0.15
above the price on which the current budget
Howai said the Government intended to ensure
that expenditure on social programmes was not
cut, and there was a commitment to ensure that
rent arrangements and debt payment were
untouched. He said some of T&T s capital expen-
diture projects might be deferred, but he was
reluctant to go down that road because of the
multiplier effect of infrastructural spending.
The minister said that, as of last week, the
country s revenue stream remained "fairly
good" and that the Government hoped to get
a clearer picture of the 2015 budget by the
end of January.
He said he did not see a contradiction
between his call for spending restraint on
November 28 and the Prime Minister s sub-
sequent announcement of a $55 million gift
to Christian churches.
With murders skyrocketing---
399 up to yesterday---Prime
Minister Kamla Persad-Bisses-
sar says the Government will be
making another attempt to rein-
troduce the death penalty.
The "hanging bill" will be
reconsidered by Cabinet and
taken back to Parliament early
next year, Persad-Bissessar
announced yesterday, during the
annual Christmas toy distribution
in her Siparia constituency.
The Government s first attempt
to pass the The Constitution
Amendment (Capital Offences)
Bill, known as the hanging bill,
was defeated in the House of
Representatives in February 2011
after it did not get the requisite
support from the Opposition,
with a vote of 29 for/11 against.
Asked to comment on
Trinidad s ranking as the tenth
most violent country in the world,
Persad-Bissessar said fighting
crime remains the government s
"We will continue with initia-
tives and some new initiatives.
In fact, I have asked the Attorney
General to bring back the hanging
bill for cabinet s consideration,
so we look again to introduce the
death penalty for homicides, for
murders. We have brought down
serious crimes but the murders
still remain too high and, there-
fore, I want Cabinet to reconsider
the introduction of the death
penalty and to take that legislation
Asked if she was confident that
the death penalty would reduce
murders, she said there was
empirical data that an effective
death penalty contributed to a
reduction in murders.
Fighting crime, healthcare
delivery and a reduction in food
prices would remain the govern-
ment s top priority in the new
year, said Persad-Bissessar.
The Prime Minister added that
she had a two-hour meeting with
Finance Minister Larry Howai on
what projects could safely be put
on the back-burner and what
should be put on the front-burner
in the light of falling oil prices.
"We have agreed that social
services programmes will remain
priority, the National Security
Ministry will not be cut. We put
those as high priority areas, and
health service delivery also as a
high priority area."
Therefore, she said, work
would continue on the comple-
tion of the Couva Children s Hos-
pital and construction of the Point
Fortin Hospital. With regards to
the 20 per cent reduction in
National Flour Mill (NFM) prod-
ucts for Christmas, she said she
got really good feedback.
Trade Minister Vasant Bharat,
she said, had assured her that
NFM would be giving full
accountability and "the drain on
state coffers is not as great as
people may imagine it to be."
Responding to her critics,
including former attorney general
Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj, about
her toy and hamper distribution,
she thanked all those who assisted
"and to the scrooges," she said,
"I also wish them a very Merry
People s National Movement (PNM) leader
Dr Keith Rowley says former prime minister
Patrick Manning may have deliberately mis-
guided his constituents regarding the nomina-
tions for the San Fernando East seat.
Rowley, speaking with the media at the PNM s
hamper giveaway at Balisier House yesterday,
confirmed that Manning may not be eligible to
contest the seat in next year s election. The dead-
line for nominations is tomorrow.
"The constituents have put themselves in a
position where they are not able to meet the
seven-day notice that is required by the party
constitution. That is a deliberate act that the
party takes note of and we will rectify it and the
process will continue," Rowley said.
"The constituency unfortunately was guided
to a point where they did not make the party
groups get involved in the process as required
by the party s constitution," Rowley said.
Rowley and Manning were in a small tussle
regarding the deadline for nominations for the
screening for his seat.
The PNM had acquiesced to Manning s request
for deadline extensions twice, with the final
deadline for nominations ending tomorrow.
Manning, in a message on social media, stated
that he had medical tests that would run until
early next year and he would not be available
for screening until January 3.
The PNM has since been adamant that Decem-
ber 22 is the final date for submissions.
Rowley said by Monday afternoon, the party
would know who was nominated for the San
Fernando East seat.
"We will take it from there, we won t jump
ahead of ourselves. It is a process and the process
will win out in the end," he said.
Govt plans for deeper cuts in spending
Kamla wants to
bring back hangings
Keep your Saturday, Sunday
and Monday Guardian news-
papers and tune into Crime
Watch for tomorrow s draw.
There will be one draw, and
one winning number with a
jackpot worth at least $1,500
cash. If the number drawn
matches the number on the
back of your papers, you win
Monday s prize of cash and
The Jolly Trolley winning
number for Friday was
612367. If the number on the
back of your Friday s paper
was 612367, you have won the
prize of $12,000 in cash and
$7,000 in groceries.
You have until 3 pm tomor-
row to come to the T&T
Guardian, 22-24, St Vincent
Street, Port-of-Spain, with
your complete copy of the
T&T Guardian newspaper
containing the winning trolley
at the back, and a photo iden-
Jolly Trolley Promotion now $19,000
Young residents display placards wishing
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar a
Merry Christmas during her annual toy drive
in Penal, yesterday. The PM plans to make
pastelles on Christmas Eve and spend
Christmas day with her family.
PHOTO: RISHI RAGOONATH
Links Archive December 20th 2014 December 22nd 2014 Navigation Previous Page Next Page