Tuesday 1 December, 2020

Opposition Leader wants public debate with PM over spending habits

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar is calling on Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to join her in a public debate about the spending of taxpayers' dollars by both governments.

Persad-Bissessar held a media conference on Monday where she sought to dispel statements made by Dr Rowley during his address to the nation on Sunday, where he said that the UNC emptied the treasury.

Fiercely rebutting the claims, she explained that monies spent were geared toward the improvement of the country's economy. 

"Yes we spent money, yes we had higher revenues and we spent money for the benefit of the citizens of our country and so in five years we spent about $290B. In three years this gov’t has spent $160B. We can show what we did with that money; we can show for example 102 schools, we can show hospitals, we can show police stations, we can show infrastructural development - roads and bridges - we can show houses that we built. We can show and prove, we can touch and feel and we can see what the money was spent on."

The UNC leader questioned, however, what the current regime has done with the money left behind by the previous regime.

"We did not leave the treasury empty, that is very very clear. We left in 2015, $13.8B in foreign reserves. They have taken it, the foreign reserves have now fallen. October 2018 [foreign reserves] fell to $10.6B and continues falling."

She also noted that the Heritage and Stabilization Fund (HSF) was increased by the UNC with an input of roughly $5.6 billion US which she said took the fund to about $36B TT dollars.

As such, Persad-Bissessar questioned how the treasury was emptied and how the Government has been able to spend money on "vanity projects".

"Which empty treasury and which empty treasury are you further draining or digging into to spend on paintings and Soca on the Seas and buy vehicles, new car, all these vanity projects, grooming golf courses, throwing away money on a ferry that just wouldn’t work."

She said the PNM has failed to properly govern the country and looks forward to taking over the reins in the not too distant future. 


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