Taxing The Middle Class to Fund Conferences

By Stephen Kangal
October 01, 2008

PM Patrick ManningOn what basis can PM Manning justify spending an astronomical $503m (one percent of the 2009 budget that is equivalent to the sum for the construction of the Tobago power plant) to host the Summits of the Americas and the Commonwealth in 2009 if not to boost his already inflated ego? What diplomatic goodwill and political and economic benefits will accrue to the pauperized people of T&T from hosting these Conferences when we are burdened with a poverty rate of 27%? The poverty gap is widening and pensioners on fixed incomes are ketching their “nennen”.

On top of this huge sum PM Manning via UDECOTT has spent a further two billion to erect the Water Front Conference Center and the Hyatt where the meetings will be held. The escalating headline inflation rate of 14 per cent is already decimating the dwindling middle class that he has targeted for punitive tax measures to raise the $503m.

It is clear that the Manning Administration has decided to lay down this red carpet diplomatic extravagance for visiting delegations to flaunt the oil and gas bonanza of T&T as well as to convey an illusion of wealth, prosperity and generalized well-being to the world. He has increased unnecessarily the price on premium gasoline and hiked motor vehicle tax totaling the half-billion that the middle class is being called upon to pay to fund this half-billion dollar diplomatic largesse.

T&T does not stand to gain any technical assistance from the Commonwealth because of its high per capita income. As for the headquarters of the FTAA being located in POS, President Chavez has already performed the final rites on this possibility with his ALBA alternative.

Like the manner in which he is prosecuting his proposed unilateral OECS political union demarche, PM Manning must show respect to the people of T&T and tell us how T&T will gain from this $500m and rising foray into the unknown.

There is a need to scale down the level of financial permissiveness being expended to impress visiting Presidents and Prime Ministers while the basics are not being provided to the people.

4 Responses to “Taxing The Middle Class to Fund Conferences”


  • Government spending major source of concern
    At any time, for the Government of a small country like Trinidad and Tobago to spend $309 million on public relations and entertainment would be crass. For the PNM regime to do so in a period when murders have reached a record high of 400-plus, when inflation has reached double digits, and when children are dying from dengue, is obscene.

  • There always comes a time in the history of a people, when they have to stand up and take back the power that rightfully belongs to them. For T&T that time has come.

    Those of us who can’t even afford “quality” food for our children in the groceries and markets, let alone food at all, must stand up and and face this challenge head on or we will bear the consequences of total domination by the US Empire and it’s British/EU ally’s.

    Those of us who cannot even afford to go to Maraval road and buy pizza’s from marios, pizza boys, or dominos on Arapita Ave because of the exploitative price gouging by the SYRIAN ELITE. Who transformed their “DRUG TRADE” racket into “legal” business “front” monopolies like those and movie town etc which by the way is yet another place that the poor cannot afford. Must take a stance ounce and for all.

    It is now time to face it Trinbagonians. face the fact that the country is under a real danger of total FOREIGN DOMINATION.

    When as a result of the exposing of the UDECOTT scandal by one lone dissenter Dr keith Rowley, an “independent” investigatory pannel is “chosen” by those very people who are going to be investigated. You do not have a democracy! You have a dictatorship.

    When the individual who was chosen to head the panel is a British “business” barrister with ties to the government you have proof that the final word for T&T justice lies with Britain.

    When the former NYC Mayor Rudy “racist republican” Giuliani, who ushered in, then managed the takeover of black harlem and down town brooklyn and gave the NYC police free reign to kill and tourture so many black and latin youth e.g Abner louimar, Amadou Diallo and the list goes on and on. And was involved in corruption up to his teeth and is now going to be given millions to restructure and retrain the T&T police force, you are now a US colony.

    And those of you who think the African manning is looking out for his Africans, take heed if Rudy restructures the police force we will see the most unprecented killing of innocient civilians that will make the current climate look like child’s play.

    When the government thinks it can pull the sheet over the people face by ushering in the USA’s “bias” highly exploitative “free trade” policy that is destroying emerging nations economies all over the globe, and continues to be protested by billions of people you have a dictatorship.

    It is clear to see that the policies of the IMF/WTO/WB are being enforced in T&T and the unjustified hike in prices are the PNM’s subtle way of introducing the failed liberalization programs of those “Pinochet’s Chilian Model” type economist that are hired to do the dirty work for those organizations. These are the the economic advisors of the Government and opposition parties in T&T.

    It is time to end the 500 plus years of “brain washing” that we have been subjected to Trinbagonians! Stand up as free men and women and take your destiny into your own hands. The days of the “colonial masters” dictating politics and policies for T&T must come to and end with their multi party system!

    How can we vote for any of these parties in T&T not understanding the true nature of them and where they really stand with the people.
    both parties may have “some” genuine leaders who really care about the needs of the nation, but they are a minority who are just as corrupt by virtue of association.

    Are we aware that the hyatt, and the government towers on the waterfront downtown WAS A UNC CONCEIVED PROJECT COMPLETED BY THE PNM….? And now that we know are we going to take seriously the claims of “why should the PNM build it while poor people suffering” and talk of overspending made by the opposition. If we understand what i have just written then we must come to the fact that BOTH ARE THE SAME CREATURES. One is simply waiting for the other to lose power so they can get what’s left of the spoils.

    You see, “real power” belong to the people and the people only, no government has a right to make claims of representation when they are guided by outside “forces”. The people have a natural right to remove that government. And replace it with the dictatorship of the people. This is what the government and opposition parties really fear. THEY FEAR THE POWER OF THE PEOPLE.

    It is time galvanize a national movement to do away with the multi party exploitative system that keeps the people in ignorance in T&T.

    We have to start by educating the nation as to the effects of the FTAA and their “real” plans for developing nations, things like the patenting and copyrighting of countries seedstock, measures proposed by the USA, if implemented and applied would prevent scientific research in Latin America, and the caribbean creating as a result more inequalities and technological dependence for the developing countries all around the globe.

    In other words. T&T farmers, who the government already is doing very little for, would now have to pay an additional COPYRIGHT PRICE TAX, when purchasing seeds and Animals etc!!! DO YOU UNDERSTAND TRINBAGONIANS!!
    They will institutionalize a system of owning the rights for food!!!!
    Imagine the grave consequences of that !!

    Couple that with the signing of the EU’s “Economic Partnership Agreement”, which will allow easier access to exploit the markets of emerging nations while demanding more and more concessions thus getting nothing of substance in return and
    you have a national DISASTER!!!

    Here is where we have a great opportunity that must not be missed.

    WHAT WE HAVE TO DO is to aid in the organizing of all progressive NGO forces, those with “no involvement” with the government or opposition groups. Especially Farmers, Workers, Youth, etc into a coalition to give opposition to and make everyone aware of THE FTAA and the governments PLANED DESTRUCTION FOR T&T.

    THOSE OF YOU IN THE PROGRESSIVE MEDIA!!! AND PROGRESSIVES IN THE MEDIA PLEASE DO YOUR PART FOR THE PEOPLE. IF YOU ARE TRUELY “OBJECTIVE” JOURNALIST AS YOU SHOLUD BE, YOU WOULD ONLY SEEK TO SERVE THE PEOPLE’S INTEREST. SO SPREAD THE WORD!!

    WE MUST TRANSFORM THE APRIL 17-19 2009 FTAA MEETINGS, SPEARHEADED BY THE USA AND THEIR APOLOGIST INTO “2 DAYS OF PEOPLE PROTEST AGAINST EXPLOITATION”.

    LET US ALL RALLY AROUND THIS CAUSE AND SPARK THE FLAME OF THE PEOPLES REVOLUTION IN T&T

    SAY NO TO THE FTAA IN T&T!!

    One T&T
    One Caribbean

  • I have a sneaking suspicion kif Panday was still PM Mr Kangal would be saying the complete opposite of this.

  • Mike may wish to refer to the list of articles posted in my archive and verify for himself the extent to which I have criticised Mr.Panday when he stepped out of line beginning since 2000. Mike is also insinuating that ethnicity determines what position I take when I write. I totally and categorically reject that suggestion as it reduces the validity and sincerity of my articles.

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