No need for outside help

Experts on Imbert’s IMF, World Bank move

By Shaliza Hassanali
Saturday, April 23, 2016 – guardian.co.tt

Colm ImbertThere was no need for Minister of Finance Colm Imbert to engage officials of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank to provide advice on T&T’s fiscal policy.

This was the view yesterday of developmental economist Dr Ralph Henry and former minister in the ministry of finance Mariano Browne, following Imbert’s announcement on Thursday that World Bank officials are in T&T to assist and advise the Government on pressing matters, including a review of expenditure in all key areas.

Henry said T&T has done a lot on its own and did not require advice or expertise from the IMF.

While T&T’s transfers and subsidies were huge, Henry said, “We don’t need anybody from outside to tell us that we need to look at it. Maybe you are looking at the IMF and World Bank to bless what you know you need to do. We have that problem. It is something very colonial. We don’t think we can do certain things unless we get somebody from outside…from foreign.”

Browne supported Henry’s argument, saying he did not see the need for the IMF and World Bank’s presence since T&T is capable of making its own decisions.

“There is nothing preventing him (Imbert) from crafting policies and then talking to the IMF and World Bank privately. Why bring them in? The only thing that I could read into bringing the IMF in is that he wants to get at the Heritage and Stabilisation Fund immediately,” Browne said.

The HSF has investment worth an estimated US$5.7 billion.

Browne said he was bemused and amused that Government was going back to the IMF and World Bank for advice “when we said these were the people we did not want to go to at all. He (Imbert) is trying to validate that they are doing the right thing and we are consulting. He is also signalling that the ministry does not have the relevant technical expertise. If this is the case, then we are up a real gumtree.”

Browne said to dip into the HSF, Imbert would have to make changes in the law.

“The IMF could help him make those changes quickly. Then he would get additional revenue and US dollars.”

He said some of the decisions taken by the Government have the nation in a state of “uncertainty. The country’s back is against a wall. We have been for quite some time.”

While Browne blamed the People’s Partnership for the state of the economy because of their wanton spending, he said the People’s National Movement has been slow and lacked “political will” in making the right choices.

“We are heading down a slippery slope,” he warned.

Henry said when a country is in financial difficulty and calls on the IMF for help, what they would offer was a “standard package…that would review a reduction in the public service, minimum wage legislation, privatisation of some state agencies and devaluation of its currency.”

In the 1980’s when National Alliance for Reconstruction leader and former prime minister ANR Robinson turned to the IMF for help due to a fiscal crisis, the population did not welcome the news.

“The problem was the message. Unfortunately the NAR had to introduce austerity measures which citizens objected to. They introduced VAT, cut salaries of public servants by ten per cent and removed COLA (Cost of Living Allowance). Robinson was put between a rock and a hard place.”

He said Imbert, on the other hand, has far more flexibility than Robinson did.

Full Article: www.guardian.co.tt/news/2016-04-23/no-need-outside-help

7 Responses to “No need for outside help”


  • Imbert must take back the 20% plus increases given by the PP to those lazy civil servants. Manning was getting rid of them but Kamala gave them permanent jobs and huge wage and benefits that the nation cannot afford, repeat cannot afford. I think a 15% cut in salaries is a good starting point. Government must reduce expenditure. Too many times the wages are ridiculous high. The money is no longer there to manage these high American style wages. Note wages are calculated in US dollars. Why is the Chief Justice salary so high (for example) isn’t he a servant of the citizenry. How much money does he need to live? There can be no sacred cows in this cost cutting exercise. This is not India.

  • Who is running our government’s business; is it local or foreign bosses? There goes all the election platform promises out the window and here comes the slavery polices once again.

    • Jerry this is a common problem all over let me explain governmentomics. The government borrow money from the banks the banks lend with no paper money to support such lending.It is just a number on a computer screen. Then the government repays the bank at compound interest. Yes the government don’t have to borrow money, why because they are the government they can produce their own money based on taxes and other revenue collecting and generating schemes. Then the government raises taxes and use your tax dollars to pay the compound interest on the loan. This spawns high inflation that leads to recession. The poor suffers.

      When there is a lot of money Jerry the government spends more and accumulate more debts instead of practicing fiscal prudence they borrow more to feed high end vanity projects. In times of monetary abundance the government should pay off loans set wage increases according to inflation but Jerry in comes the unions and demand more and more and more. So all kinds of ridiculous increases are given to paper pushers, who sit on their lazy azzes and laugh all the way to the bank.

      Government does not work for the citizenry, Jerry there is a few people at the top who decides for all of us. They work for their financiers who get projects that run into millions on cost over runs. They work for their supporters who demand more because they vote for dem. They work for themselves to stay in power and secretly pillage the treasury. It is very rare they work for the nation. Nationalism and nationhood are anathema to the bourgouise ruling class who determines who gets what. If you think I am making this up Jerry, Trinidad has had 3 oil booms with nothing to show. Money gone just like that!

      • If you know so much why did you promote Kams to milk our treasury. This is why your race is so questionable wrt morals. ethics, standards, beliefs, humility etc. You are one piece a work. Hope you love where you and stay clear of our beloved T&T,

  • Hey Jerry , your” election promises “lamentations, are understandable,but even without lofty economics degrees ,such as Prez Cameo -anti Carnival wining-Chutney Soca/ Pagwah adoring -Siparia -Esposa,Reema Harrysingh,or ,that COP sell out- political has been -Winston Dookeran-one can guess,that it’s virtually impossible, to diversify an economy in 6 months, while still stuck with plummeting oil/gas prices , or legally driven ,labor negotiation commitments, and worst yet , a hungry, tribally oriented -South of de Caroni-destructive , parasitic business class.
    You are familiar with the types:- They are less concerned with playing a role in stimulating our sluggish economy, while trying desperately, to get their failed political party back in power- which gratefully ain’t happening , maybe for the next 2 decades, or more – unless ( don’t give a darm , if Good Friday ,falls on a Monday ) fellow Trini citizens, are getting more stupid, than I thought.
    They won’t mind choking the life out of citizens,in similar fashion to the equally destructive ,off shore accounts laden , Haitian, and Venezuelan business oligarchs,if it can help destabilize our country in the process.
    They are the ones, who got fat , importing shoddy / substandard cheap goods, only to resell them ,at exorbitant prices ,to La Trinity consumers- with hard to discard foreign taste .
    Yep, de same ones , who won’t hire folks of ‘Afro Kinky head nation,’in any capacity , but not only would denounce nuvo rich – immigrant Chinese business blokes,for following suit,and would cry like constipated Caroni water buffalos, if a family member ,fellow party hack, or close friend , fails a public service , employment interview,and so is not given a coveted job.
    Least we forget , the same clowns , who would point fingers at our Arab Trini Syrian/ Lebanese- business brothers, for messing up our country , with criminal activities,or Forex wastage, but won’t look likewise into the mirror , when their own ,non patriotic fellows, are stinking up de joint.
    They are the ones ,who for decades, sucked constantly, at the breast of our T&T – economic cash cow , as far as state contracts , and the likes, then ran on to their tribal radio stations, and other national co-opted media entities,to idly boast, about how much success they achieved ,via their own industriousness , creativity, and perseverance- behaviors they claim, are alien to politically – overdependent Afro Trinis. What folly!
    Lost in most of the diatribes, with are daily regurgitated ,by siamese twin mouth pieces, TMan , and Mamboo, is that members of their culturally corrupt gangs ,continue their ugly penchant, to sell their wives , daughters, and sons souls ,as well as indulge in any scheme, to acquire said wealth.
    I for one, won’t hesitate to call uncle Rowley , and his political team’s hands, to de symbolic fire , where warranted, but there needs to be a bit of objective fair play , before dishing out criticisms.
    I don’t care to look over my shoulder , in Lot’s Wife fashion, but would like to see a few arrest, charges , convictions, and asset confiscation , as soon as possible- and let the chips fall where they may, as we like to say on de streets.
    As to the direct subject at hand , as articulated directly, in this blog,what I find most amusing , is the fact that many of these so called experts ,are jumping out of the woodwork , to lecture the government of the day,as to what measures should be taken, and or avoided , re World Bank/ IMF austerity measures,when they were silent,like a UWI mouse ,when clueless Kamla ,and her UNC dominant PP goons, were raping , plundering ,as well as giving away our natural resources,and state assets ,to the highest bidder ,chiefly from East, and South Asia.
    Last I checked , more economically savvy , Jamaica, Brazil, Barbados, Grenada , and other tourism dependent fiefdoms made,continually millions yearly out of their Carnival, and we have national comedians,lecturing us about the evils of our art form- even as they push their own.

    http://www.newsday.co.tt/news/0,191636.html

    What they don’t know is that , without escapist national pastimes like Carnival s, our murder rate, would be 5,000 per year, not 350as. is the norm

    Latin America- especially Columbia, Dominican Republic, St Martins, and Venezuela, make millions each year, from a vibrant legal prostitution industry, but our phony religious , sex starve , yet hypocritical Trinis , are still allowing local moral police, to dictate , where our tourist industry should go- even as they stupidly await oil/ gas to rise to $300 per barrel. Where are we with our gaming industry. Yes I know we are worried about money laundering.
    Go figure.
    There is mucho work to be done, so stay vigilant folks.

    • http://www.newsday.co.tt/editorial/0,224023.html
      Carnival is on its way out with more people heading to the beach for a nice duck in the salt. This year it was like a street party with empty stands and no justification for the million dollar prizes awarded to calypsonians. The death of a Japanese girl remain on the “unsolved” list at the homicide division along with the thousands of unsolved murders.

      It is a sad reality but the majority of criminals live in PNM constituencies where murder is the order of the day. Uncultured and still seeking to find his way 400 years after slavery. The criminals continue to be hired guns at the bottom of the food chain. The export of criminals as they move into Central and other areas of the nation a lost people who have not learn to live in peace. Folks that is the reality facing the nation today.

  • THIS IS WHERE WE NEED OUTSIDE HELP. SELF REVIEWING SELF AND GIVING WAY ONTO SELF. AND SELF BENEFITING FROM SELF AND SO SELF TAKING ALL AH FOR IDIOTS. AS IN PARLIAMENT SELF CALLS US ALL IDIOTS. HOW MUCH MORE WE HAVE TO TAKE. Take a read below…….

    PETROTRIN BLANKS PARLIAMENT
    By Andre Bagoo Monday, April 25 2016

    click on pic to zoom in

    “IT’S UNBELIEVABLE.” That, in short, was how Independent Senator David Small yesterday described the position taken by Petrotrin officials in relation to an ongoing investigation by a Parliament oversight committee.

    It is understood officials of the State-owned company have refused to answer specific questions relating to a controversial decision taken earlier this year to drop a lawsuit against its former board and its former executive chairman Malcolm A. Jones, a current member of the Cabinet’s Standing Committee on Energy.

    In blanking queries from the Parliament Committee, Petrotrin has cited legal advice.

    Small, the chairman of the Joint Select Committee on State Enterprises, is this morning due to issue a warning to Petrotrin, as well as all State enterprises, telling them that they cannot avoid the scrutiny of the Parliament’s committee system by using the tack of citing commissioned legal advice.

    “They have complied with some of our requests for information,” Small yesterday told Newsday. “But they did not submit complete information.

    It’s unbelievable. If you started a matter in court and then withdrew that suit there is nothing that should prevent you from providing the information. Something obviously feels wrong here.”

    WHY ARE YOU HEDGING ?

    The Senator continued, “I can understand if you say the matter is still going on and is therefore sub judice, but the matter has been withdrawn. We asked for the complete information. Why are you hedging? It is starting to get a little ridiculous. Something does not add up. Somebody is trying to hide.” Small said he will be making a statement on this matter today when the Committee holds a public hearing from 10 am at the J Hamilton Maurice Room at the Parliament’s offices on Wrightson Road, Port of Spain.

    Said Small, “I will be making a statement for all entities scheduled to come before this committee – including NCG, Udecott and so on – so that everyone understands we are not tolerating this. The committee is concerned.” Small said the Constitution establishes the Parliament’s oversight committees and therefore these committees should be taken seriously.

    “The Parliament is not a private individual,” the Independent Senator said. “This Committee is set up by the Constitution and the Standing Orders. That is the highest law of the country. We can request any document or paper. There is no limitation. The Standing Orders does not say the Committee can request the information the company decides to send. If they want to challenge the Standing Orders then they are free to do so in court. But if you have information you supply it to the Committee.” The chairman said even commercially sensitive information may be disclosed to a Parliament Committee, citing past sessions when companies were allowed to give evidence in camera after justification for such a course of action was shown.

    “TSTT fully complied with requests,” Small said. “And they submitted certain commercially sensitive information. They were fully compliant with all the requests.

    There is a way to treat that kind of scenario where material many be commercially or legally sensitive.” The Independent Senator said he was of the view that State companies may be blanking committees because they have been allowed to get away with such conduct in the past.

    MANY HAVE GOTTEN AWAY

    “What I think is happening, is some entities have been able to get away with stuff like that for a long time and for the first time somebody is pushing back saying: guys, let’s be reasonable here,” the chairman said. “It is possible to have a private session. What I have an issue with is a State entity trying to prescribe what they can submit and paying a private attorney to get an opinion to do so.” In March, the Office of the Prime Minister said the decision to drop the multi-million dollar lawsuit against the former Petrotrin board was taken by the current Board of the Company, which was appointed by the Cabinet. The lawsuit related to the failed World GTL (gas-to-liquids) project, which has stacked up losses of about $3.3 billion. Legal action was initiated under the People’s Partnership administration.

    At the Parliament Committee in March, Petrotrin’s current chairman Professor Andrew Jupiter said he was absent from the meeting at which a decision to discontinue the lawsuit was taken. He confirmed he served on the Board during the time when developments in relation to the World GTL project took place. However, Jupiter said he was appointed after an agreement for the project had already been entered into. He declined to respond to questions from the media Sharon Morris-Cummings, Petrotrin General Counsel, at the same hearing in March, said, “The decision was taken by the Board after it received legal advice in the matter…The matter was handled by the Attorney General’s office and then new advice came to the attention of the Board and a decision was made thereafter.” She said the advice came from, “the counsel who were involved in the matter.” While it has blanked some queries, Petrotrin is understood to have supplied information in relation to its loss-making $3.2 billion ultra low sulfur diesel plant, another project begun under Jones tenure.

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