The T&T economy is on the verge of tanking. We have something like a US$850 million debt becoming due (the Petrotrin debt) around May next year. Either we pay the debt or we default on it. If we pay the debt then expect more belt tightening all around bringing with it a lot of pain. If we don’t pay it then our credit worthiness will take a hit and we will find ourselves on the wrong end of economic sanctions, which will mean more pain. Either way we are in trouble. And a re-negotiation of the debt if at all possible) will also bring pain. In other words, we are in deep ‘ca-ca’!

In the meantime, neither the Prime Minister nor his erstwhile Minister of Finance has anything coherent to say about the impending disaster facing us or what policies they are looking to implement now to stave it off.Instead, we are regaled with stories about how ferries (that don’t work) are going to fix the sea bridge and about how there is going to be a new Sandals hotel in Tobago … a deal that raises more questions than answers and which have caused most unnecessary and very ugly suspicions to arise that are probably better left unexpressed for now. We continue to give the Maburro regime a free pass even though that regime’s policies are creating a refugee crisis in the Region as well as here at home.

The Prime Minister turns more and more to his base using polarization and culture wars to keep the base energized and (hopefully) intact. His Minister of Everything has taken a leaf out of Trump’s playbook calling every little criticism either fake news or labelling the critics as being “unpatriotic”, ignoring, for example, the fact that when his Government failed to give clear and cogent answers to the many questions surrounding the deal with Austal to buy some coastal patrol vessels, that his critics felt that they had no choice but to ask the Australian Government to investigate the deal … which admittedly, looks ‘fishy’. Why asking a foreign Government to investigate a deal around which many questions swirl could be ‘unpatriotic’, has neither been asked nor explained.

The Government’s leading spokesmen are becoming less and less coherent and increasingly have nothing of substance to say on any subject. A Minister decries as fake news allegations that his wife’s company got certain Government contracts and then in the next breath says that he recused himself from any decision making concerning their being awarded. To which the only comment can be “WHAT”?

The list goes on, but one cannot help but view with dismay the floundering and ineptitude that is on display. Let’s understand something: it is in the interests of EVERYONE that this Government succeeds. It is always in our collective interests that whatever Party is in power succeeds. Wishing that they fail would be unpatriotic. But, equally, I would argue that it is unpatriotic to continue to support a Government that is failing.

And right now, this Government is failing badly. No amount of obfuscation can hide that fact. What we need now is a clear policy statement showing us the plan to stave off the looming disaster. Either that or they should resign. I’ll say it again: there is only one reason for politics … only one reason for government: to make life better for the people!! There is no other reason!!

So, I say to Dr. Rowley et al: lead, follow, or get out of the way!


This BLOG was written by ATTORNEY Robin Montano, a well respected and recognized practicing attorney in Trinidad and Tobago.

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