Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 12th 2016 Contents A26
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt June 12, 2016
letters on sunday
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Finance Minister Colm Imbert defended
his position on the withdrawal of $2.5
billion from the Heritage and Stabilisation
Fund (HSF), saying if this was not done
the country would have faced a crisis
while Government would have been guilty
of fiscal irresponsibility.
He said "unless urgent action was
taken, the Government would have been
unable to pay salaries or pay for critical
and essential goods and services."
While Imbert envisaged no further
drawdowns in fiscal 2016, he said if it
becomes necessary to provide the required support for government
expenditure in 2016, they would consider all options for financing the
service of T&T, including the remaining available drawdown from the
HSF. He said the maximum permitted drawdown for 2016 was US$675
million and Government only withdrew US$375 million. The HSF has over
US$5.3 billion in its coffers to date, he noted.
"The purpose of this fund is to offset serious shortfalls in revenue in
periods of depressed petroleum prices. It is not, as some believe, a trophy
to be kept on the shelf and never to be touched."
KEEP DIPPING INTO IT, NOT ONLY THE TROPHY WILL BE GONE, BUT
ALSO THE SHELF.
Who is advising these people? Because they are NOT ECONOMISTS.
I don't doubt that the government averted crisis by taking the money
out. What I am concerned about is how this money will be spent and
who is going to be held accountable to ensure there is no corruption,
sweetheart deals being made, or the money only being given to one area,
one group or one party stronghold. Assure me that this is not going to
happen and conduct a post expenditure audit and prove me wrong, I
challenge Imbert and Rowley to do that.
The 'government' of TnT has been guilty of fiscal irresponsibility for
DECADES! Wake up and smell the wild spending and broke treasury
Imbert! C B
Essential goods & services paid for with HSF FUNDS (HERITAGE and
STABILISATION FUND)??????? Say it aint so!!!!
Benz, Porsche, Paintings, Weddings, Retreats, Vacations and
Escapades abroad..... very nice.... $$$2.5 BILLION DOLLARS TO LOOK
PRETTY. B x
This engineer does not know what he is talking about! Period! He just
trying to make PNM raking and scraping look to be the logical thing
because they broke! But that is not so. The CBTT Governor said the
financial sector is strong and resilient. An oil price higher than that
budgeted is the wrong time to raid the HSF or cry wolf! p
What Minister Imbert is not telling us is that the budgeted
government revenue in the form of VAT, corporation tax and customs
duty has not been realised as planned in his budget. His negative
comments on the state of the economy (for political reasons) has
curtailed monetary circulation in the form of reduced consumer
expenditure and local investments in the country. In spite of an increase
in oil prices over the last 4 months he is still dipping his hand into the
heritage fund. Poor quality leaders tend to put blame on others when in
effect it is due to his doing that we are at this dire circumstances. There
has just been old talk and nothing of substance to bring back consumer
confidance. Expect more job losses, reduced purchasing power and no
confidence in the economy if he continues raving negativity as he is in
Call it what yuh want 'CRISIS" it's just another word for
misappropriation of public money!!!!!
'...not for any item in the Budget in particular..but for the service of TT
in 2016. That is exactly what I meant'. The exactness of all this
circumlocution is ...we are going to spend the money as we darn well
All governments borrow funds. So for the finance minister to keep be
laboring the point that the previous government borrowed is just
politicking. ...just get on with the business of governing. B
B , ' , A ' , y
PHOTO: EDISON BOODOOSINGH
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There have been several letters in
the newspapers over the past few
weeks addressing the harsh meas-
ures of banks. These banks had their
origins in other countries. Like
Arcelor Mittal, their sole purpose
in our country is to make as much
profit as they can. This can be seen
in their punitive interest rates for
loans. For example, the average rate
of interest on a domestic loan is 15
per cent, whilst the interest on the
same amount of savings is one quar-
ter of that. The loan rate does not
include the insurance demanded on
the loan and other charges. In the
end, these banks collect several
times more than the monies they
Nowadays, there is a plethora of
charges for doing routine business
with banks. These include over-
the-counter charges for simple serv-
ices. Banks in our country seem to
have the legal powers to charge exor-
bitant fees. In other Caribbean
islands like the Turks and Caicos,
there are stringent controls barring
banks from charging such high
interest rates to citizens. Also, the
governments of these countries stip-
ulate that citizens should get loans
at reasonable rates for things like
house construction. Sadly, this has
never been the case in this country.
The citizens should not have to bear
the burden when these banks seek
to maximise their profits, especially
during guava season.
Banks raking in profits, even during 'guava season'
Our Minister of Finance, Mr Colm
Imbert said the reason for a draw
down from the HSF is to avoid a
crisis. Well, by all means, for I do
not believe that any committed cit-
izen would like to see any major
crisis come upon us in these times.
Yet the word crisis lingers in my ear.
When I think of a crisis I envisage
that if nothing is done we can see
real serious consequences than can
impact on us, even causing things
to come at a halt.
Crisis, as you know is a strong
word and as nationals we need to
take this seriously.
Going forward it would be nice
to know of these developments, or
when our country is at this point of
crisis. No one likes to be taken
overnight by this type of news. After
all, we are part of the entire process
and it does concern us. We are doing
this together and if this is going to
work, relevant and timely informa-
tion should be passed on to the cit-
I have a few humble suggestions.
Firstly, that retreats and other such
activities take a back seat since we
are in need of funds to avert a crisis.
What is more important, saving the
country from crisis or a retreat? Sec-
ondly, keep in mind that as you draw
down from the HSF it will come to
the point of depletion, what is your
next move, do you have a plan? I
hope it is not IMF.
Please keep the electorate well
informed. No one enjoys these types
of surprises, let's do this together.
Crisis averted, Mr Minister
Country bookie behaviour. These
words came to mind when the sit-
ting Opposition walked out of Par-
liament last Friday.
Upon not liking how the Speaker
of the House 'spoke' to them, they
walked. This 'if we cannot get what
we want, we going home' attitude
is pathetically infantile behaviour.
It did not look magnificent. Just
If it was done to impress their
supporters, well you could fool me.
The question regarding glitches
in the smooth running of the Chil-
dren's Life Fund and a sweet little
boy dying needed a proper hearing.
Important and urgent, yes, but could
have been discussed another day.
Demanding a reply on the crime
situation appeared to be a question
asked for nuisance value. The crime
situation is a mind bending, ongoing
problem. But June 10 is not the last
day to demand answers of the Min-
ister of National Security.
We will not even go down the
road at the exchange of words
between the Speaker and Dr Mooni-
lal. The gentleman only succeeded
in making himself look a teensy,
weensy bit less a gentleman. Can it
now be alleged that walking off the
job is the new, not so clever modus
operandi for the sitting Opposition
when they cannot immediately get
what they want?
Did anybody just whisper the
words 'Banana Republic?'
Country bookie behaviour in Parliament
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