Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 26th 2017 Contents A8 news
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Independent Senator warns Govt
Pay attention to T&T's
shrinking middle class
T&T's middle class is shrinking,
squeezed between the super-rich
and a growing number of poor at the
bottom, Independent Senator David
Small has warned.
Speaking in yesterday's 2018
Budget debate in the Senate, Small
said the situation demands exami-
He said consideration must be
given to people who operated with
a inite amount of funds.
"I go to the grocery and see people
in the line asking the cashier for the
total as each item is cashed, telling
their kids to put back items, trying
"We must be sensitive to this.
Many people are operating with
a inite or very low budget. When
changes are imposed on them, it
hurts them. An 'Economic Weekly'
study shows incomes which rise un-
evenly have implications for growth.
It was observed that countries with
the highest income inequality are in
Latin America and the Caribbean...
that's why we have to look at the
middle-class in T&T," he said.
While he commended Govern-
ment for making a start towards
sharing the "burden", he said State
governance needs attention since
State board chairmen and direc-
tors were operating like executive
of icials and no-one wanted to talk
He said they were giving instruc-
tions to company managments, "rid-
ing roughshod over them", inserting
themselves into issues and handling
day-to-day affairs. Small said it's not
correct model according to State en-
"But seems to be the norm. Per-
haps they don't know but they need
to be educated. We have a failing
State enterprise sector and the rea-
son is governance has completely
collapsed. If it's collapsed at the top,
bad things are also happening down
Small said everyone in T&T
wanted to maintain the status quo.
For instance, he said T&T has a chal-
lenge since it has a very weak manu-
He said untold billions were spent
in that sector and they are supported
in good times and bad, "But when
can we rely on them to support us?"
Small said he expected some re-
tort from manufacturers, "But they
have their view and I'm privileged to
Small also said the banks also
were "demonising" themselves be-
cause of committing "daylight rob-
bery" on customers. "That's why
banks globally are regulated, in T&T
they're killing us and nobody wants
to talk about it," he said.
Small questioned why the Central
Bank was afraid to touch banks.
--- GAIL ALEXANDER
Disclose details of Sandals
MOU Opposition senator
The memorandum of understanding (MOU) Gov-
erment is signing with the Sandals Group must be
laid in Parliament immediately to ensure the public
knows the facts, especially if the hotel chain is getting
tax concessions for the planned Tobago resort, UNC
Senator Saddam Hosein said yesterday.
In his maiden contribution during yesterday's
Budget debate in the Senate, Hosein said Government
has not been transparent with information to the pub-
lic on the Sandals deal.
He said although Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley
said last week that Sandals owner Gordon "Butch "
Stewart came to see him recently and it was agreed
that an MOU would be signed on the deal, up to now
no statement has con irmed if it was indeed signed.
"Transparency demands the public be told and any
MOU be laid in Parliament immediately. The public
must know, especially if Sandals obtains any tax con-
cessions while Government is placing heavy tax bur-
dens on the population in 2018."
Hosein said public disclosure is also important be-
cause of issues with Sandals in other islands. He noted
the 25-year tax concessions Sandals obtained in Bar-
bados, similar ones in Grenada and Antigua Prime
Minister Gaston Browne's concerns that recent San-
dals' moves to close premises temporarily was a hos-
tile act to force that government to allow concessions.
Expressing concern about dark corners and incon-
sistencies in the matter, Hosein noted Antigua and
Barbuda's Prime Minister's statement that he had re-
ceived a call from Stewart who wanted to meet. Prior
to that, Browne said Stewart was "buttering him up"
sending him pricey Dom Perignon champagne, which
costs 1,000 UK pounds a bottle, and offering to send
a jet for Browne to meet him in Barbados for talks.
"Is any Government member getting similar treat-
ment, or getting gifts and trips concerning Trinidad
and Tobago's Sandals deal?" Hosein asked.
Opposition Senator, Sen Saddam Hosein during the
Senate debate yesterday.
PICTURE COURTESY OFFICE OF THE PARLIAMENT
Independent Senator David Small
during his contribution in the senate
PICTURE COURTESY OFFICE OF THE
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