Well, as your Eyewitness pecks away (with one finger!) at his keyboard to get this out, like everyone else, he’s waiting for the Finance Minister (FM) to mosey down Main/High Streets to Public Buildings and deliver his Budget Speech. Today, he’ll be getting two water decanters filled by the staff, so’s to get through his at-least-three-hour speech without croaking!! And one hopes the PNC and AFC MPs haven’t brought their whistles to accompany the said speech – like they did the last time the FM took the floor on the NCM!!
He’ll need at least THREE decanters of water to speak over that cacophony!!
Anyhow, your Eyewitness is old enough to remember waiting for Budget Speeches back in the Burnham days – along with the rest of the country. Everyone was on tenterhooks to hear what new torture would be invented to squeeze more of their hard-earned earnings into the Government’s coffers! Well, President Ali has assured us that “dis time na lang time”! In this budget – the first one by the Government now that it’s settled down, taken a deep breath, and considered using the money in the NR Fund – he said everyone can expect a lotta goodies to come down the pike.
Expectations are high – and have been stoked by the Opposition, who’re outbidding each other to claim they’ll be responsible for whatever comes their way!! Just this morning, the AFC demanded that the minimum taxable income be raised from the present $70,000 to $100,000. The PNC – represented by its new leader Norton, who’s now also APNU Leader – jumped in right after with a demand for a $120,000 floor!! By the time of the Speech, maybe Opposition Leader Harmon – who’ll be in Parliament – will come in at $150,000? What the heck, they have nothing to lose – and with Harmon, maybe he’ll score points against Norton more than the PPP??
But the President gave a broad overview of what we are to expect. For sure Clive Thomas ain’t getting the US$5000/Gy$1million he’s been demanding for the pocket of every household in the land!! That’s a helluva lot more than the “chicken in every pot” that FDR promised the Americans during the Great Depression!! But then FDR was a Keynesian, and Thomas is a Marxist-cum-Buxton ideologue!! For ordinary folks, we’re told no new taxes, some relief from inflation (some new grants?) and much stimulants for businesses – who’re expected to hire more workers to put money into THEIR pockets.
Of course, all those infrastructural projects funded by that money might take some time to take off! But none of that will matter to the Opposition.
They’ve been focusing on a 50% increase in Public Servants’ salaries!!
One long-awaited meeting finally took place between Granger, Harmon, Norton and the APNU top honchos. There’d been the long standoff between these Opposition worthies ever since the PNC leadership elections – when Granger and his place-holder Harmon were soundly trounced by Norton for the position of PNC Leader. The latter had naively assumed that Granger and Harmon would disappear into the sunset – not necessarily together and holding hands! – and he’d take over as Opposition Leader.
Well, Granger and Harmon did step aside as Leader and Gen Secretary of the coalition respectively. But this isn’t any reason for Norton to sing hosannahs, as he did. While Harmon later resigned on his own volition as LOO – rather than face a humiliating vote, Granger remains the Coalition’s Representative of the list. Meaning, Norton can’t even get into Parliament as an MP to BECOME LOO!!
Granger kept the Representative of the List job…and holds Norton’s fate in his hands!! He has a good excuse, if he resigns, Ramjattan ascends!!
…for a fair share
It’s clear that Trinidadian Massy’s arrogant attempt to seize a greater share of our oil patrimony hasn’t ceased. This can only happen when its Chairman announces there will be no application to the CCJ!
Let’s launch that Massy boycott!!