Saturday 7 December, 2019

Camille questions Suruj’s numbers: They’re not from CSO

Planning and Development Minister Camille Robinson-Regis is disputing figures quoted in Parliament by

Tabaquite MP Suruj Rambachan, who claimed that 75% of T&T’s population earns less than $6,000.00 per month.

Rambachan presented the figures during his contribution to the Planning and Facilitation of Development Bill in the House of Representatives last Friday. The Bill seeks to reform the outdated Town and Country Planning Laws.

Robinson-Regis is now calling on the MP to prove his claim that the statistics were obtained from the Central Statistical Office (CSO), as the CSO has denied ownership of such a finding.

The CSO falls under the remit of the Ministry of Planning and Development.

Citing his source as the Central Statistical Office, Rambachan declared that he was “devastated” by such a serious statistic.

However, the Minister said her information from the CSO, following a review of their data sources regarding income has in no way verified the data expressed by the MP.

“In fact,” Robinson-Regis stated, “the latest data available re income emanate from the Continuous Sample Survey of Population (CSSP), 2016. According to the CSSP 2016: 41.4% of persons with jobs earned 5,999 TTD or less.”

She continued: “It should further be noted that these CSSP data do not reflect household income, but the income of the working population”.

Pointing to the wide disparity between the figures quoted by Rambachan and the figures from the CSO, Planning and Development Minister Camille Robinson-Regis said this was yet another example of Opposition Members deliberately manufacturing their own statistics to suit their political agenda.

The Minister said such actions undermine the credibility of national institutions such as the CSO and demoralise public service employees.

Recalling the Opposition’s allegations of grossly inflated unemployment figures and overly exaggerated debt to GDP ratios, Robinson-Regis called on the Opposition to raise the level of debate to what is truthful and accurate, rather than engaging in deliberate statements that may mislead.

She called Rambachan to admit the inaccuracy of his statements and apologise to the staff of the CSO for bringing the institution into disrepute.

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