The Belt Tightening Game
While nationals of T&T are being told to tighten our belts, the Government has not made any significant changes with respect to this new national initiative for themselves. All true and great leaders, lead by example. The mere 7% recommended reduction in expenditure for the various ministries, will make just about the same difference that an ice cube will make in a swimming pool. This is especially true now more than ever as the price of oil continues to drop.
Residents cannot be expected to trust leaders that hold one yard stick for the population and another yard stick for themselves. The continuous deficits in the annual budget reflect something that is much more serious. That there is a deficit in intellectual capital and vision.
The recent revelations about TT$400,000 in alcoholic beverages found at the Prime Minister.s residence tells us that there was no regard for prudent management by the last administration. The items that were left, were there only because they could not have been guzzled down fast enough or carted off the property without being noticed. In these hard economic times, is it really necessary for the Government to purchasing truckloads alcohol?
Should not a directive have been given by the present Prime Minister that all Ministries and State Companies stop the purchase of all alcoholic beverages, as well as fete tickets, especially since over $300,000 was found to be spent on these tickets by a state company? With fetes charging TT$400-800 per head, should not a fete tax/license be introduced? These guys need to learn how to follow the money if they want to really balance the budget properly.
Recently the Finance Minister vehemently defended the 200% increases in Business Levy and the Green Fund. The reason being that businesses that show losses are all run by scamps. No consideration was given to companies that were genuinely in trouble. It will be just too bad for them. This minister should do a little research at the Companies Registrar, he will be amazed at the vast number of defunct companies that are being De-registered. Some of these companies once gave people jobs and contributed in some small way to the GDP of the nation. It is this kind of high handed approach that will just make a bad situation worse. No wonder we have one of the fastest shrinking GDPs in the world.
If the leaders of this nation truly want to lead by example, and not just dish out harsh measure to others, I recommend the following:
 Forego all tax benefits on their incomes;
 Forego all tax benefits when purchasing new vehicles; and
 All Parliamentarians, Permanent Secretaries, Government Executives and State Company Executives take a 20% cut in all areas of remuneration.
Now let’s see, if the real leaders will rise to meet this challenges, or just continue to lay the burden upon the population and only give us cheap lip service.