Letter: After 40 months Rowley still has no plan to take Trinidad and Tobago forward

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Dear Sir:

I told the population in 2015 that Keith Rowley had no plan to take us forward. They did not listen and today we are all suffering.

The 5,000 fired from Petrotrin, 500 more in TSTT and 300-plus former ArcelorMittal workers and the 1,600 murder victims and an overtaxed citizenry now know that Rowley had no plan to improve their lives after taking office.

What we heard during the first half of the PM’s address to the nation on Sunday, demonstrates frighteningly that, after 40 months in office, this PNM still has no plan to take us forward.

What is worse is that Rowley bold facedly intends in 2020 to use the same old “blame the UNC” and “they thief” strategy to hoodwink us all and win another five years in office.

Heaven help us all if we allow Rowley to fool us with this nonsense.

Last night I heard only three plans for economic recovery:

1. Keeping our fingers crossed and praying that oil and gas prices will go up,

2. Spending billions to ensure that Sandals will somehow rescue us,

3. Wasting another billion to construct pipelines to bring Maduro’s gas to Trinidad and Tobago.

Sandals will never make us a first world country. If this were so then St Lucia, Barbados and Jamaica would all be part of the OECD. Instead, right now they are all basket economies. Two are at the IMF.

So while Singapore is preparing its citizens for the future jobs in the world’s digital economy, Rowley is preparing his fellow Tobagonians to be waiters and bartenders and is spending billions in the process. He is shameless and does not realize that he has outsourced the managerial aspect of our tourism thrust to foreigners, in this case Jamaicans, and left the low level jobs to citizens.

Singapore invites foreign investments. Rowley spends our billions and invites foreigners to lead us. Singapore’s citizens lead their economic development thrust. We invite foreign “massas” to guide us.

What an indictment about our capabilities when Eric Williams said at the dawn of our independence that the future of the nation lies in the bookbags of our children.

What is most frightening is Rowley’s indication that Trinidad and Tobago and Shell will soon spend US$1 billion for infrastructure works to bring Maduro’s Dragon Field gas to Trinidad and Tobago.

Rowley must tell us how Shell — an Anglo/Dutch and therefore EU — company proposes to spend part of that US$1 billion when the EU has placed sanctions on the Venezuelan government.

It means, like Sandals, that stupid Trinidad and Tobago will be funding the entire expenditure.

And if we will fund the entire Dragon Field project, how sustainable is this investment when opposition forces in Venezuela have said frontally and clearly that they will not honour an agreement between Rowley and Maduro?

And Venezuela has a history of not honouring contracts. Last year ConocoPhillips was paid US$2 billion because of a failure by the Venezuelan government to honour contractual obligations.

And just to add a foreign policy complication; where are we in the territorial dispute between Maduro and Guyana and also Venezuela’s action against oil exploration vessels operating in Guyana’s territorial waters.

We are treaty bound to support Guyana in this situation. Will this impact our $1 billion investment?

Clearly Rowley has no plan to take us forward. The longer he remains in office the more the country suffers.

God gave us eyes to see, ears to hear and a brain to think. If in spite of evidence, we fall once again for Rowley’s foolishness then Heaven help us all.

Rodney Charles,
Member of Parliament, Naparima
Former Trinidad and Tobago Ambassador to the United Nations

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