STORIES by RAVI BALGOBIN MAHARAJ
Yes. Absolutely. Without a doubt. And honestly, I don’t believe that they have ever attempted to hide this fact. There are numerous occasions in which the Prime Minister, the Minister of Finance and other Cabinet members have unabashedly stated that individuals and businesses seeking to make a profit in this country were “unpatriotic”.
So with that said, while there is much to deliberate in this most recent fiscal package, I think it is more important to look at the PNM macro-economic policies over the past four years to determine not only where we are today, but where we are heading if these behaviors continue.
When you look at the state of the economy that the PNM has managed, you will obviously notice that there has been stagnancy in almost every field with the exception of the oil and gas sector. While analysts may point to the fact that this trend has persevered over the course of several decades, however, there has been a deliberate strategy to not only maintain this model by the current PNM administration but also to manipulate the national economy in a way that this will be sustained for many decades to come.
Outside of the issues, many persons points to whenever there is a discussion regarding the diversification of the economy however, there is a more substantive consequence to the way in which the PNM is managing the sector, and that involves increased government influence and public sector investment. Because not only is the PNM determined to ensure that the energy sector remains as the majority contributor to our GDP, but they are committed to ensuring that the government has the largest stake in the industry. While that may not immediately raise any concerns for persons unaware of economic models, what we are seeing by this PNM government is the infancy of T&T BECOMING A COMMUNIST STATE, if it is left unchecked.
Now I’m sure there may be scepticism about such a broad pronouncement, but any investigation into the matter would provide evidence of its existence. But even in the 2020 budget, which is already being touted as a goody bag, you might notice that the tax breaks being offered to businesses only include those in the energy sector, while manufacturing and trade are paid mere lip service.
While there was also a tax break given to the agriculture sector in theory, the fact is that with shrinking land space, little development, and the fact that a majority of the food belt remained nestled in ponds and lagoons, any money which these farmers may save through the concessions would most likely be lost to turbulent weather conditions or competition from importers.
Then there is, of course, the social welfare check which the Minister of Finance boasted about during his budget presentation before going on to list how many pennies and farthings would be thrown at the peasants in our society to secure their votes in the upcoming elections. Probably the biggest slap in the face came to those in the public service who were informed of a new pension plan to aid in their retirement, but which in reality only becomes another deduction in their ever-shrinking payslip.
And again, when you consider these seemingly innocuous and isolated line items as part of a whole, you begin to see how the PNM is restructuring the entire economy to reinforce big government as the dominant influencing factor in the society, and with the Prime Minister positioning himself as the Godfather or the Don, from whom anyone seeking to prosper must first consult for blessing.
The PNM has no faith in the OWTU to operate the Petrotrin refinery
There has never been a more powerful oligarchy operating in our society, and the design for this class system has been intricately fashioned and produced by this PNM administration. As such, there are no opportunities for prosperity outside of the government mandated infrastructure. What we are left with therefore is a society where any entrepreneur, either local or foreign, that risks their investment in this country will be taxed out of business in order to provide relief to afford the working class a mediocre lifestyle. All the while, the PNM and their associates profit off of the laborers in the energy industry while providing no real opportunities for advancement out of their current social class.
This, of course, brings me to the sale of the Pointe-a-Pierre oil refinery, which I have explained in a previous missive, with a more definitive explanation forthcoming. But every time the Minister of Finance speaks on the issue however, you can hear the rancor in his voice towards the OWTU.
It could not be more obvious that the PNM has absolutely no faith in the OWTU’s ability to operate the plant, and from his statement during the budget presentation, it almost appears that he does not believe that the expected proposal would even be approved. In fact, the only thing that the PNM cares about is taking credit for the initiative of awarding the bid to the OWTU, in order to gain political capital, while being fully aware that the deal may actually never materialize.
It is ironic, but when Dr. Eric Williams published his book on Capitalism and Slavery in 1944, he was immediately accused of supporting communism by the Catholic Church and other groups as a result of the subtext in his writing. Whether or not you subscribe to the idea that the book was in fact meant as a communist manifesto is subjective.
However, there was something said by Dr. Roodal Moonilal recently that re-contextualized my own opinion. When remarking on the statements by Dr. Keith Rowley regarding a revision of our local history texts, Dr. Moonilal opined that it was not the job of politicians to write history books, but rather should be left up to historians.
While he was right of course, it does shine a spotlight on Dr. Williams who was both historian and politician. Because while I by no means intend to discredit Dr. Williams’ work as an analyst, I will say that history is replete with communist leaders rewriting the histories of their nations for their own political agendas.
It is no secret that Dr. Rowley is affirmed to carry on Dr. Eric Williams’ legacy, and it appears that he is committed to doing so even if the destination is, in fact, a Communist state. When you place all of this in line with the shift in foreign policy, you will also notice that the PNM is impeding our relations with the US, while simultaneously strengthening those with China, Venezuela and Cuba.
As the old adage goes, “show me your friends and I will tell you who you are”. And when you look at what communism did to those countries and their citizens, you begin to worry about what the PNM has in store for sweet T&T if they get their wish.