Half truths and manifestos

By Raffique Shah
Submitted: August 23, 2016
Posted: August 28, 2016

Raffique ShahI don’t know that the majority of people in the country are influenced in any way by the manifestos presented by various parties—in our case two, one from the UNC/PP and the other from the PNM.

In fact, I believe few people, likely less than ten percent of the electorate, read these voluminous documents. In my case, I sought the synopses of the presenters because I know they will have highlighted what they saw as the fundamentals of what they would implement if elected, and certainly their most marketable offerings.

Hopefully before polling day I get around to scanning the full manifestos for the salient points they are making. That way, I can call to account whoever wins the election and fails to implement vote-catching promises. Not that it matters to them or their core supporters: they simply ignore me, brand me an agent of the other party.

I have held that in so far as the 2015 general election goes, almost everyone who intends to vote will have long determined what party he or she will support, which is contrary to what pollster Nigel Henry has been telling us since the beginning of this year. Indeed, his 30 percent “undecided” has remained unchanged. If they continue in that vein, they will be sitting on the fence long after the polls close on September 7.

No, I think these people have decided, but they are not talking: come election day, they will quietly cast their votes and leave the pollsters and politicians to wonder where and why they went wrong in their projections.

While the manifestos won’t influence the outcome, they allow us to peer into the wiles of those who are seeking office. Many commentators and professionals have questioned the costly commitments both parties are touting, if elected, given the state of the economy.

Certainly over the next year, at the very least, revenues from the energy sector will decline, maybe even drop precipitously. And while there are other streams that contribute to the coffers (taxes on companies and individuals, VAT, excise duties, import duties, etc), the harsh reality is that we remain dependent on energy products.

In 2014, for example, of $75.5 billion in export earnings, a mere $11.4 billion came from non-oil products.

So, I ask, as I did last week, where will the money come from to fund increased pensions and social services grants, tax reliefs and other goodies both parties are promising?

There are other inconsistencies in some of the wild claims or promises being made.

The Prime Minister boasts that in her five years in office, her government has “refurbished or built over 100 new health centres”. But that’s the total number of such facilities in the country listed on the Ministry of Health’s website. So, did she “build or refurbish” every health facility? Surely, that is “pigwash”. But her supporters believe it, and maybe even she does!

As for the 100 new schools constructed, maybe she would list them all so discerning citizens can determine if the PP government increased the schools-stock by 100 percent. Or the 11,000 new businesses established in the past two years (her words, not mine), I ask: really?

Even if you add every doubles and souse vendor who started selling during that period, you will hardly find more than 2,000 new businesses in the specified period. What the PM probably meant was that 11,000 companies were registered at the Ministry of Legal Affairs, which is not unusual. Only a miniscule number of these actually start operations, and even fewer survive beyond a year.

I shan’t even dwell on the “hundreds of new roads” (how many roads are there in the country?) or “thousands of new houses”, ninety percent of the latter being HDC units that were constructed under the previous government, completed by the PP, and conveniently distributed on the eve of the election. Nor will I harp on many more such units and public buildings that the PP met under construction but never touched in their five years in office.

Regarding PNM promises, I have already had my say on the proposed rapid rail. I add only this: Colm Imbert insists he can complete the system from Sangre Grande to POS and San Fernando to POS for $10 billion. I say we citizens give him $15 billion (cost overruns) and five years-go for it!

If he fails, lock him up, not behind bars, but behind rails!

And I am tickled by Keith Rowley’s proposed plywood factory at La Brea. He argues: “We don’t have wood, but we have the electricity and we have the hydrocarbon adhesives and we have Caricom neighbours that have plenty wood!”

Huh, Keithos? Don’t we all have good wood?

5 Responses to “Half truths and manifestos”


  • The PP outperformed during the 5 years of governance. I could go on and list achievements but that would serve no purpose since for many perception is their reality. Yes they fulfilled 90% of what was promised. Unemployment was a nifty 3.5% or near record full employment. Yes there was the children’s hospital, teaching hospital, point hospital, Arima hospital, Sangre Grande regional hospital, the Eldorado nursing training center, the oncology unit in Port of Spain General. Just to name a few. The PNM did not care for the sick and suffering as Kamla did….not to mention education and infrastructure development.

    • Please correct the first lie of your post “The PP outperformed during the 5 years of governance.” Let me finish “5 years of governance” to accurately reflect the truth, it really is “5 hears and three months of governance” blah! blah! blah! blah! blah! blah!……..

  • I would consider it a great favor if MAMOO [“moomoo”] would
    offer a complete audit of the $124 billion spent by Kamlas Cabal
    during their tenure ,20111-2015

  • https://youtube/zcJhJrTAi5k

    Well we’ve been there done dat ,Uncle Shah Thanks to a dying breed of Afro Musical historians, which all ended ,once anti freedom / Anti Afro music PM,Basdeo Panday took charge , only to view every Social commentary Kaision artist , from Cro Cro to Mystic Prowler, and Chalkdust ,as his tribal enemy.
    No longer ,was there socially conscious agents , who can warn nationals, of the political bastards , that ran roughshod over their naive sensibilities.
    Let’s juxtapose this musical genius , with de likes of say a Radio CEO /Soca personality, Iwa George,& Auntie Karma niece , top end ,Double M hero, Marchael Montano- the latter of which , in de five years of his PM’s reign, made close to $50 plus millions.
    Iwah has given the nation one song ,and boorish beat ,for the past 25 years since he hit the grand stage , but is still relevant, because his station is well known ,for promoting Jamaican Dancehall bull crap, and Yankee Rap music , 24/7.
    The only song that anyone would remember 50 years from now, that came from Mr Jump on a bumper and wine Marshall , I am almost certain, is ‘Dey say ah too Young to Soca.’
    Fixated on their escapist nonsense ,what the hell , does these two comedians care about social commentary?
    In the mean time, your anti ‘Little Black Boy” hero ,Winston Peters, aka Gypsy,as chief Culture Vulture Minister under Kamla’s regime, ensured that Chutney Soca,achieved a much higher Status,than our National treasure Steel Pan, and festival Carnival,yet this comedian, had the audacity to appear ,in a King Austin Funeral,and lecture incessantly, about self reliance, providing a cushion ,for local artist ,in their autumn years, who ended up in not too rosy positions.
    Yeah Gypsy ,we know , Rikey Jai, Dupatee, and KI,all became glorified Billionaire artists, merely from your $TT 100 million per year, Government Ministry support budgetary contributions .
    It wasn’t also from the billions , yearly invested .via show sponsorships, and financial prizes , accorded to them and similar others,by neo tribal Business leeches.
    Then again, what can one expect, when Gypsy claim to fame was, that he destroyed the Political career of George Chambers ,with his ditty Captain de Ship is Sinking, only to sit idly by, like , a blind , UNC supporting – Afro – 40 pieces of Silver spending idiot, even as de UNC dominant PP ship , ran aground, then quietly sank – forcing citizens from an abundant economic surplus , to a dreadful deficit.
    The Cabal manipulated Kamla in turned ,(for all of his sheeplike loyalty ), did not hesitate to use ‘the hog slaying knives, ‘at her disposal ,to dissect his bile laden liver, and finally , ‘cut him a new one, ‘ nearer to his lower below de pelvic/ abdomen -exterior – mid section, once he was no longer useful/ he became a liability.
    Why again did you have billions of dollars worth of disaster relief/ material aid supplies , stored in your 25 room Mayaro mansion, while desperate Constituent folks ,pleas for much needed house repairs- re flooding supplies, went unheeded?
    Better yet, why did we only learn of this , when they decided not to select you as an MP candidate again?
    Yeah Shah, they care in La Trinity about Manifestos!
    We’ll get there one day!
    Thanks Cypher.

  • Yeah Shah as I remember clearly from my exploits abroad WE ARE TWO DOTS IN THE ATLANTIC OCEAN AND NOBODY OUT THERE REALLY CARE ABOUT THESE TWO DOTS. ALL THE HYPE AND SHIT ABOUT LARA AND KESHORN AND CRAWFORD NEVER GET WE ANYWHERE. NOBODY ONCE THEY KNOW WE ARE TWO DOTS WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT HERE. SO WHEN EVERYONE ELSE IS OUT OF THE BLOCKS IN THIS GREAT RACE AGAINST TIME WE AINT START HERE. SO MUST CONTINUE FIGHTING AMONGST OURSELVES AND MAKE THINGS TOUGHER FOR US ALL (REALLY?). MINISTRIES DO NOT TALK TO ONE ANOTHER. THE GOVERNMENTS PAST AND PRESENT SERVE THEMSELVES AND THEIR OWN. THE POLICE AND ARMY ARE THERE TO LOOK GOOD AND SERVE THEIR ARSE – SERVE AND PROTECT IS JUST A SCHEME. WE THE TAX PAYING PUBLIC ARE OVER TAXED AND NEVER SERVED. THE OIL AND GAS HUGE REVENUES HAVE COME AND GONE WITH CHEAPARSE FOREIGN INVESTMENTS THAT CAME HERE TO RUN ALL OUR PLANTS DOWN TO NOTHING AND LIKE MITTARD ALL AH THEM ARE HERE TO RAKE IN HUGE PROFITS AND GREASE HANDS AND LEAVE US IN DIRE STRAITS. WE HAVE BECOME LIKE DEAD FISH IN OILY WATERS. BUT GOD DOH SLEEP THEM THAT SUFFERING WE …THEY WILL DIE IN HELL LIKE IN LARZARUS TIME. YES THEIR TIME WILL COME WHEN THEY WILL BEG GOD TO DIE. THESE SO CALLED MANIFESTOS ARE PLAIN LIES TO CATCH YOU NAPPING IN HOPE. BUT A NEW DAWN WILL COME. BAS AND MALCOLM WILL PAY FOR THEIR SCAMPISHNES. ISH WILL MEET HIS FATE. LIKE MANNING THEIR REIGN THEY WILL END IN HORRORS FOR THEM.

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