Rowley-led administration silently implementing IMF policies: Bissessar

"This Government has created the perfect storm. Come out and tell the country, Prime Minister, are you implementing IMF recommendations?'' said Persad- Bissessar.

Kamla Persad Bissessar again bashed Rowley-led administrtion
Kamla Persad Bissessar again bashed Rowley-led administrtion

Trinidad and Tobago: The former Prime Minister and Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar called on Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to answer whether Rowley-led administration implemented International Monetary Fund (IMF) recommendations without telling the country.

She urged the Government not to remove the fuel subsidy, which will bring hardship to people.

‘Come clean and tell the country if these harsh financial measures are the recommendations from the IMF,‘ she said, noting impending cuts at TSTT and WASA.

‘Is it true that this Government has borrowed to the point where they cannot service their debts? Is this week of public relations from the Prime Minister really meant for him to get in front of the fact that soon the Government will be approaching the IMF for a bailout?’ she asked at the UNC’s Monday night forum.

Persad-Bissessar also asked whether the Government had made a decision to devalue the Trinidad and Tobago dollar.

Increased taxes, increased utility rates, increased prices on goods and services, increased unemployment, devaluation of our currency, decreased income from energy exports, destruction of the energy sector, underscored former prime minister.

“This Government has created the perfect storm. Come out and tell the country, Prime Minister, are you implementing IMF recommendations?” said Persad- Bissessar.

Persad-Bissessar said the shutdown of Petrotrin will always be a shameless disaster and a stain on the economic management of this country.

She reminded that she had warned about high gas prices and noted the Prime Minister’s statements on gas prices if subsidies are removed: Premium gas will rise from $5.75 to $7.58 per litre; Super from $4.97 to $7.46 per litre, and diesel will increase from $3.51 to $6.58 per litre up $3.07 or 87.5 per cent.

Persad-Bissessar said these increases would affect everyone. ‘The typical cost of fuel will rise by as much as $100 to fill your tank if you are driving an AD wagon super gas or as much as $175 to fill a diesel-powered van,’ she said.

‘Therefore, every citizen will feel this price rise, it matters not whether you are driving the AD wagon or the diesel vans,’ she added.

She said a diesel van that spent $200 will now spend $375.

Persad-Bissessar said a typical car that uses premium gas will spend just over $300 for a 40-litre tank-an increase of $70 per tank of gas.

She said drivers of vehicles using super gas will pay virtually the same as those with premium, a full 40-litre tank of gas costing $298.40, basically $300.

‘All these increases will have a severe, damaging effect on the quality of life in Trinidad and Tobago,’ she said.

Persad-Bissessar said these fuel hikes will affect the ability of service providers to meet their obligations on the existing rates and that it will also increase the costs of all goods and services.

‘This is not something you can just run out there and raise the prices.

‘Other countries are staggering how they do it, so Prime Minister you cannot, should not must not remove the fuel subsidy in one go. You can’t do it-the country would suffer too much,’ she said as she urged the Government not to remove the fuel subsidy, which will bring hardship on people. ‘Come clean and tell the country if these harsh financial measures are really the recommendations from the IMF,’ she said, noting impending cuts at TSTT and WASA.

‘Is it true that this Government has borrowed to the point where they cannot service their debts? Is this week of public relations from the Prime Minister really meant for him to get in front of the fact that soon the Government will be approaching the IMF for a bailout?’ she asked at the UNC’s Monday night forum.