Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 30th 2015 Contents on each occasion that we have been
tested, put our shoulders to the
wheel and emerge stronger and bet-
ter equipped to serve our people."
In its 2010 "Caring About You
Today and Tomorrow" manifesto,
the PNM said it was committed to
providing the nation with a world
class infrastructure, and that the
then Ministry of Works and Trans-
port had a pivotal role to play in
In a statement on the PNM s
website, former PNM minister Colm
Imbert claimed that over the 2007-
2010 period the PNM government
did all of the required planning,
engineering and documentation for
a comprehensive network of high-
ways, known as the National Net-
work of Highways Programme,
which was to be done in phases.
The projects included the San
Fernando to Point Fortin Highway
and the San Fernando to Mayaro
Highway, both of which were sent
out for tenders prior to the 2010
general election for construction to
begin in 2010.
The PP has since carried out
phases of this project.
Basdeo: PP redirected
focus to rural areas
Basdeo said the PP has focused
a lot on rural development and they
have basically accredited that to the
failure by past governments in the
"They redirected a lot of their
resources to primary infrastructure
like roads, drainage, electricity and
water, and so forth.
"Those were the basic commodi-
ties that you the urban communities
had that rural communities did not
He said for "way too much of its
period," the PNM focused on urban
development as seen with many of
the high rise buildings in Port-of-
"That s synonymous with a more
urban, capital-incentive develop-
The PP has spent close to $288
billion in its five-year term, while
the PNM s budgetary expenditure
allocation from 2001-2009 was
about $250 billion
Basdeo said while he did not
properly review the PNM s mani-
festo, he found there were some
good ideas but some "were some-
The PP manifesto, he said, was
more of a continuation of its macro-
The oldest founding member of
the PNM, 83-year-old Ferdie Fer-
riera, spoke at length of the party s
manifestos since 1956.
The man who was political advis-
er to T&T s former prime minister,
Dr Eric Williams, said the PNM
built 26 miles of "highway" between
1961 and 1981 from Chaguanas to
He admitted the Rio Claro Hos-
pital was never initiated, nor the
Children s Authority or land records
"No government, even the NAR
with Robinson (ANR), as a Tobag-
onian and prime minister was able
to achieve that. That problem still
exists," he said.
Regarding road works in the
1980s, he said the PNM "success-
fully" completed the construction
of the extension of the Diego Martin
Highway from Sierra Leone Road
to Diamond Vale. In 2012, the PP s
Cabinet decided to extend the Diego
Martin Highway from Wendy
Fitzwilliam Boulevard to the Diego
Martin Main Road. It also agreed
to construct a vehicular overpass
in the vicinity of Powder Magazine
in Cocorite. In 2014, the government
declared open the expansion of that
Ferriera added that the Audrey
Jeffers Highway and the St James
flyover was major construction that
opened up the West.
He admitted that the PNM may
have faltered along the way but it
was important to give credit where
it was due. He said while all of the
promises have not been achieved,
one has to take into consideration---
the initiation of Unit Trust, national
insurance, First Citizens Bank, the
purchase of Petrotrin, which
includes Texaco, BP Fyzabad, BP
Palo Seco and Shell...the purchase
of Caroni (1975) Ltd, recovering two
of the most valuable pieces of real
estate in Trinidad...13,000 acres of
land in Chaguaramas and 77,000
acres purchased from Tate & Lyle.
He said these decisions and
actions have laid the foundation for
where the country is right now.
Ferriera said in 1960, the gov-
ernment purchased what is now
called "TSTT" for $12 million and
subsequently bought Textel.
"Look at what they have turned
out to be today," he said.
Saying he has been through it all,
Ferriera said in 1956 there were only
two secondary schools---Queen s
Royal College and St George s Col-
"Between 1971 and 1991, the
PNM built 34 secondary schools
south of the Caroni River. All those
schools like Couva Secondary,
Williamsville, Gasparillo, Cedros
and so on, they built that.
"As a matter of fact, the school
that Prime Minister was speaking
at the other night in Gasparillo was
built by the PNM."
Ferriera said, "They have all made
mistakes, no one is perfect."
No response from Imbert
2015 PNM manifesto architect
and long-standing member of the
party, Colm Imbert was contacted
on August 21 to share his views on
PNM manifesto promises over the
When contacted via telephone,
Imbert said, "I had absolutely no
idea this is what you wanted me to
talk about (PNM manifestos)."
He said, "This story makes no
sense, no sense at all. Why would
anyone want to go back to 1956?
"We are in 2015. I can talk to you
about what I said yesterday (August
22 at the manifesto launch)."
However, he agreed to answer
questions via email, saying he did
not speak "off the cuff or sponta-
neously about these matters" and
needed time to digest the ques-
No response was forthcoming
that day but on August 22, Imbert
contacted the Sunday Guardian and
said he did not receive the email
since it may have been "inactive"
and provided another address. He
said he could only answer the ques-
tions by August 24 since he was
heading to a walkabout.
Told on August 23 via email that
he did not answer the ten questions,
he said, "I thought I did."
His last response was, "I would
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt August 30, 2015
RHONDA KRYSTAL RAMBALLY
A discerning electorate should be
interested in finding out from its
political party how it intends to
diversify the economy after the gen-
Economist Indera Sagewan-Alli
said in developed countries citizens
called on the authorities to answer
questions on more pertinent matters
instead of the trivial ones being put
forward on the platform.
"We as a people have not sought
to have that expectation that prom-
ises in a manifesto must be imple-
mented," she said in an interview
Sagewan-Alli spoke with the Sun-
day Guardian about manifesto prom-
ises from an economic standpoint.
She said a manifesto was a political
document filled with intentions and
promises can be made on the political
platform to win votes but when a
party assumes office, its priority
towards those promises can change.
A manifesto has come to be under-
stood as a document used as part of
an electioneering campaign, where
it reflects what political parties believe
holds the desires or the wishes of
those whom they are seeking to vote
for them, she added.
She said a promise like construc-
tion of recreation grounds appearing
in a manifesto tends to be "handouts"
and "dependency-driven" because
it deals with the whole issue of gov-
ernments using its expenditure to
give back to the people.
"Previous to now, we have not as
a people sought to have an expec-
tation that things put in a manifesto
must actually be implemented.
"There is a difference between
electioneering and creating a cam-
paign to win an election and gov-
erning a country once you have won,
because what you could tend to find
when you now get into the seats of
government is that priorities are now
reorganised and restructured, and
what may be a priority to convince
someone to vote for you may not be
a priority when it comes to actual
"Priorities could change."
Sagewan-Alli said there was a
change since the last general election
where a manifesto would address
general issues but would narrow in
on a specific set of promises and
commitments over a fixed period of
In the case of the People s Part-
nership, there were pledges over the
first 100 days in office, while the
People s National Movement (PNM)
committed to plans over a one-year
"They have specific things they
are saying they will deliver over that
time," she said.
Sagewan-Alli described manifesto
promises as "moot," unless they
focused on the underlying and most
significant challenge facing the econ-
omy of T&T which was economic
She said without money and with-
out a country having sustainable
sources of revenue, it does not have
the capacity of wherewithal to be
able to deliver on any promise,
whether it is laptops for children or
reducing revenues throughout Value
Added Tax, none of those things can
be done without money.
She referred to the PNM as car-
rying "the brunt of the burden" for
being in government for the longest
periods of time, saying it failed to
diversify the economy and failed to
remove the dependency and vulner-
ability to oil and gas.
But, all governments failed even
though they have recognised the need
for diversification, she added.
The 2007/2009 world recession
would have "absolutely" impacted
on the PNM s delivery of its promises,
The economist said there were
hardly any jobs being advertised in
the private sector and that was
because sectors like fashion, tourism
and film and manufacturing because
there was no growth.
She said, "They are not creating
the demand for jobs and that is where
the vacancies should be. That, to me,
is an indication of the nature of the
PNM laid the
From page A10
All govts failed
Economist Indera Sagewan-Alli
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