Distinctions …and differences

Your Eyewitness caught bits and pieces of the first day of the “Budget Debate”, and all he could wonder was whether any of the speakers had ever participated in a debate in high school – or anywhere else. What jumped out was that everyone seemed to think the louder and more animatedly they spoke, the more convincing they’d be!! What they basically delivered were harangues more befitting street corner political meetings (or the fish markets) than the hallowed halls of Parliament! The PNC MPs especially should be ashamed of their carryings-on, in view of their party’s claims about the oratorical prowess of their founder-leader Burnham.
Evidently seeking to burnish what’s left of their “working class” street cred – after more than three decades of the socialist alternative’s defeat – the PPP Government sent out Min of Labour “Phulourie” Joe Hamilton to fire their opening salvo!! Of course, he couldn’t resist reminding the Opposition benches that in THEIR five years at the helm (2015-2020) they’d demoted Labour matters to be handled by a “Department” headed by Keith Scott – leader of the one-man party NFA. So, it was basically giving this “coalition partner” a “freck” to keep him aboard!!
Anyhow, Hamilton opened up by pointing out the said Coalition Government’s absolute refusal to prepare the workers for the oil industry – which was launched simultaneously with their entry into Government. Since oil didn’t start flowing till 2019, they had four years to do so, and yet sat on their hands. Joe, however, forgot to mention that the coalition perhaps saw the “civil service” as “working class”, since they’d launched the Bertrand Collins College of the Public Service  – which satisfied Volda Lawrence’s criteria as to who the PNC would work with!! Joe claimed that since 2020, the Board of Industrial Training (BIT) had trained some 7500 workers, and there were funds in the Budget for another 7000!! Now, that’s a whole lotta workers who’ll be getting jobs, and, not so incidentally, look kinda favourably at the PPP!!
Joe was followed by PNC Shadow Foreign Minister Walton-Desir, who contradicted Hamilton; claiming that the PPP had done “…nothing for the poor and working class in comparison to what’s being done for big businesses.” She was followed by Min of Info Kwame McCoy who delivered probably the best line of the night – noting that his Government was focusing on real development with their housing and other programmes. He charged that the Opposition supporters couldn’t use their “two pigs and two black fowl” to get a mortgage!!
He ended rather dramatically by contradicting PNC Moca MP Flue-Bess’s claims of high prices there, by holding up a bag of sugar purchased at half her cited price!!

…on development
Over in Calypso land, for their Energy Conference, Pres Ali reiterated his Government’s commitment to go “full steam ahead” on developing our petroleum resources to fund our development programmes. In this instance, he broadened his vision to exhort the wider Caribbean – especially Trinidad – to share his plans. Now, as he’s consistently declared, your Eyewitness is fully supportive of this position, and feels it’s hypocritical of those locals who propose we should remain mired in poverty while the Developed Countries continue burning fossil fuels – and paying us to breather in their pollution!!
Our oil-associated and natural gas fields have given us a whole new dimension to seize the moment to place us in a pole position for development in the rest of this century. While we remain committed to a green future, our forests offer us the opportunity to “suck cane and blow whistle” at the same time.
While TT might offer some collaborative benefits, they cannot run with the hare and hunt with the hounds with Venezuela!!

…on co-op lands
Just when your Eyewitness accused the PPP of abandoning socialism, up comes Joe Hamilton announcing that his Government’s gonna repossess all uncultivated co-op lands.
Invoking Burnham’s Art 18 “Land is for social use and must go to the tiller” doctrine?