THE EDITOR: There is a saying that you can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all the people all the time. This was clearly demonstrated over the last few weeks by Finance Minister’s Karen Nunez-Tesheira, Mariano Browne and Energy Minister Conrad Enill.
These three financial wizards were all over the media assuring us that Trinidad and Tobago had prudent financial planning and management and as a result could and would buffer the world financial crisis.
Ironic isn’t it, that the same threesome is now singing a different tune? Government, we are told will be reviewing the budget and will no doubt have to make some changes. Our budget was set at $70 US per barrel of oil, but on the international market the same oil is now under $60 US a barrel. Government will have to look at what expenses to cut. Remember for the past few years they have had a spending spree; and now the realities have hit home.
One sure place to start with cutbacks would be the two conferences planned for April and November next year. The Summit of the Americas in April, complete with the hundred plus luxury cars, would certainly save a substantial amount. This conference will bring no real tangible benefits to the country regardless of what we are told. Some of the countries who will be attending are already looking at their financial positions. The USA is one.
To be quite honest, the Summit of the Americas is another expensive ego trip for Prime Minister Manning and one, at this stage we can least afford. Other things we can’t afford are the island to be built in the south, the Rapid Rail, the Beetham airport, the smelters, the Presidential suites and the list goes on and on. The question is: How many people can even remember where and when the last Summit was held? A popular expression being frequently used by our politicians these days is: “in keeping with best international practice”. Well the time has certainly come to put this expression into practice and cancel all ego trips.