TT aid for foreign imports

By George Alleyne
November 10 2010 –

Eric WilliamsIt was late Prime Minister Dr Eric Williams, who, on December 2, 1977, first brought to the attention of a shocked Trinidad and Tobago that aid money from this country to several Caricom Member States was being used to purchase foreign imports at the expense of goods and services from Trinidad and Tobago.

Addressing the House of Representatives in his 1978 Budget Speech presentation, as then Minister of Finance, Dr Williams noted that the then Government of Trinidad and Tobago had for years “provided considerable financial support to its Caricom partners”. This had comprised “balance of payments support, budgetary aid support, special funds for the use of the Less Developed Countries (LDCs) through the Caribbean Development Bank, culminating in the $184 million loan to Jamaica in June, 1976”.

Williams pointed out that following on the deteriorating of the Caricom economies accelerating in 1977 the TT Government had received urgent requests from Jamaica for an additional $50 million (Jamaican), from Guyana for $120 million as well as from Dominica.

In the meantime, although hundreds of millions of dollars had been and were being provided by Trinidad and Tobago to the financially strapped Caricom States, in both outright aid and loans, these countries increased their imports from developed nations, while reducing their imports from TT.

Jamaica’s imports from Trinidad and Tobago in the period January to September, 1977 declined by approximately 50 percent. Guyana’s imports from this country also registered an uncomfortable decline.

In addition, an LDC, which late Prime Minister Dr Williams did not identify, taking advantage of the then special 35 percent value added concession allowed LDCs flooded Trinidad and Tobago with electronics “which seemed”, Williams declared, “in all but name, products of developed countries”. This island State was prepared to hoodwink TT, both in favour of electronics items produced in developed nations and at the expense of Trinidad and Tobago products and jobs.

While the above related to non-energy products, Trinidad and Tobago’s energy exports also suffered even as this country supplied aid and loans to Caricom States.

TT exports of mineral fuels and lubricants, to Jamaica, among other energy products, fell by a third between 1974 and 1976, while Jamaican imports of these products from Venezuela increased by more than 250 percent. In turn, the United States increased its oil exports to Jamaica for the same period by more than 300 percent!

“Clearly our $184 million loan to Jamaica in 1976”, Dr Williams lamented, “did nothing to help our principal export maintain its legitimate Caricom position.” Instead, crude oil exports to Jamaica declined from 3.2 million barrels in 1974 to 693,000 in the first eight months of 1977.

“What conclusion must we draw?”, Dr Williams asked. “Is it that the more we lend, the less we sell? If so, we lend only petro dollars. If we don’t sell the petro, where on earth are the dollars to come from?”

What was ironic about Jamaica’s turning away from Trinidad and Tobago’s exports of crude to its sharp 300 percent increase in imports of US crude oil between 1973 and 1976 is that the US would tacitly dismiss the proposal by the TT Government in 1977 for US participation in a TT conceived Caribbean Aid Consortium, which would have helped Jamaica, among others. Government had proposed the establishment of a US$800 million fund subscribed to by “metropolitan countries associated with the Caribbean — the United States, the United Kingdom, France and the Netherlands.

Under the TT proposal, the beneficiaries would have been those embraced by Caricom and there would have been the financing of local recurrent costs arising from greater production of food, the use of fertilisers, development of livestock, housing and timber potential and industrial development. Technology development and transfer was also advanced.

There is a post Tomas lesson in this. US contribution to development assistance in, for example, 1970 represented a mere 0.32 percent of its GNP and would continue to fall. The US was not prepared to assist Caribbean countries to advance, yet the same countries had no qualms about asking for TT aid even as they sought to strengthen the US GNP at the expense of Trinidad and Tobago’s.,130543.html

4 thoughts on “TT aid for foreign imports”

  1. The wisest woman dat ever lived ,in the form of my loving Grandmother used to say “night does run, but de day would finally catch up wit it.” No truer words were uttered,I believe.
    Tell us something that we don’t know brother G. Alleyne, like for example, some 99.9 % of all Caribbean folks ,in and out of T&T ,really despised most of our people, and only tolerate their existence ,as long as or naive leaders were willing to cut our symbolic noses ,to spoil our faces, in neglecting their own while writing the developmental checks against our ‘national interest.’
    Just not too sure however,if alleged objective journalist G. Alleyne, was attempting , via this article, to pull an Andy Johnson on us ,in defense of his misguided PM ,while simultaneously , perhaps secretly circulating his brushed up resume,in the hope for a choice position in the governmental ,Department of Information/ PP Public Relations machinery.
    Hey guys , we cannot make a serious comparative analysis between Apples and Oranges, as it just ain’t going to work no matter how you slice , and or dice it.
    In the wake of the recent environmental catastrophes, that resulted from the Thomas Hurricane on fellow Caribbean islands, political prudence ,required an emergency relief response ,and sensitivities in the forms of commentaries towards a people suffering , by any caring,and thinking leader with an eye on the ball.
    Instead what we got , was a politically motivated , and callous , horse with a blinder on, foot in mouth meltdown, from Queen K. Not so ironic , is the fact that she so happened to be a very close confidant, and former protege, of Basdeo, de self proclaimed ,politically immoral, Panday.
    This though sad , was forgivable, as it could be viewed as the result of an inexperience, unfortunate Faux Pas ,from a member of the now accepted,’Square Peg in Round Hole Brigade.’
    What however is really revolting , is the repeated attempts by neo tribal apologist, and obvious self aggrandizing panderers ,that tries to justify the stupidity.
    We wish the people of ‘Sweet, Sweet, T&T , aka Rainbow Country’ well, as they’ll need it, if they are to endure the machinations of ‘dem salivating barbarians,’ and their numerous , strategically placed ,equally conniving agents ,as both fractions collectively try, to manipulate the ‘socio – economic – com- political spoils,’ as present ‘rulers of the roost,’ yes?

  2. Please send this to all Caribbean Countries,together with Opposition PNM, Rowley.They have 10 days memory.TNT had 3 Car Plants ,yet they never bought from TNT.All these people think that TNT is a an ATM.Let them go to a Basket made in Jamaica,used in Guyana and to hell with the rest.
    Grenada,St Vincent,Bdos,St Lucia and the rest Traded at POS,Port pay no taxes with TNT subsidys.You all Look back NOW.


    Deano, again you comedians are behaving as if you woke up 15 minutes ago, only to suddenly recognize that Caribbean people looked at you folks as a bunch of spoiled , delusional , idiots. You had stupid Trini kids for years laughing at Grenadians and Vincys,Antiguans, Dominicans imigrants with contempt, while calling dem outsiders , even though 95 % or more had a parent from one of these islands.
    In the era when self opinionated Dr. Deffy Eric ,was allegedly in charge , and money was no problem , 98 out of 100 of the people that were propping up our construction industry were from another Caribbean Island.
    Throughout our 48 years of so call good living Independence, Trini Africans ,and Indians gals would prefer to run around as low end prostitutes , or jump to foreign lands to baby sit white babies and , wash old folks butts, while Caribbean women were entering in droves to baby sit high end local French creole babies in our country, and do all the other domestic menial jobs ,many of these same mental degenerates would not perform back home , even if threatened.
    Back in 81, when I became a member of the insignificant short pants brigade , that a white Canadian savior call Gibbs claims to be in charge of now as a Commissioner, the entire top executives of our service were made up of Bajans , and other small islanders, and the reasons for this was simple. Trini males , wanted no part of that organization in the early days after Massa left, and many only joined as the choice for not so doing, would have been a few years in a jail for one of many post slavery criminal behaviors , they indulged in.
    So tell me buddy, since I am sure as the old folks would say , ‘you big, and you have sense ,’ what you think would be the implications of that huge influx of foreigners to your country, in terms of socio – economic -com -political / Domestic , and or Foreign policies, hmmmm?
    Do you think that your PNM remained in power all these years because folks were enamored by these clowns -from Eric Williams to Chambers, and Patrick Manning – that were obviously asleep at the wheel ,and so allowed John, John, Lavantille, Movant Never Dirty, Febeau Village, Mt Dor Chmp Fleurs , Caranege, Belmont Gonzales, Beetam Highway garbage dens, Nelson Street Gang banging havens, and the useless, backward ,116 square miles of underdeveloped embarrassment ,that is comically referred to as Robinson Crusoe Isle Tobago, to evolve?
    Time to stop sipping on that Fernandes Vat 19 laced Kool Aid my friend, if you now think that the neo tribal fraction that is dominating the PP , would miss an opportunity to in turn , solidify their grip on power, by making what they claim is historical wrongs right.
    Guess what , just for once, Manning’s nepotistic rival , in the politically immoral, lifetime corrupt Bengal Tiger ,Uncle Bas may have a point , when he said in more eloquent words, ‘you might be simply performing an exchange , under the naive expectation ,that it is in actuality change,’ when you voted the way you did on January 24th , and May 24th 2010 respectively to catapult Queen K to power.
    Don’t be surprise to wake up in the morning, and hear that a law was passed while you jokers were busy partying during another multicultural holiday , or asleep,to make Guyana a county of Trinidad , or better yet, special dual citizenship were granted to the clueless , alleged South American , English folks, so that they can vote and share equally in your oil ,and gas spoils.
    Wake up buddy , and smell the Calaloo, when you have some time. Better yet , if you and other jokers don’t know what is transpiring in your beloved country because dem media boys and gals such as the once objective Andy J ,are too busy spending their 30 pieces of Judas silver, then you better ask somebody , ehhhh?
    I wish you well.
    Can anyone make me hate this place? Nah! Not when we remain an envious paradise.

  4. Great Post Neal: Federation is one of my all time favorites, I’ll probably have nostalgia all day. With the Christmas season on the horizon do you know where to locate some San Jose Serenaders Parang, with Gloria Alcazar on vocals? One of my misguided nephews, without an appreciation for history, erased my copies.

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