PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) – The main opposition United National Congress (UNC) has officially launched its campaign for the December 2nd Local Government Elections (LGE) saying it is prepared to get Trinidad and Tobago working again as it accused the government of failing in several areas including crime, education and health since coming to power in 2015.
Opposition and UNC leader Kamla Persad Bissessar told party supporters in Couva, Central Trinidad on Sunday that the future of the country is “under attack” and that the present Keith Rowley administration “continues to show their contempt for our young people in particular by their gross mismanagement of our education system.”
She said many initiative undertaken by her former People’s Partnership government during the period 2010-15 “have not only stopped…but they have walked back.”
She said the health sector has also suffered, saying “today we are seeing thousands of citizens, our brothers and sisters having to spend days and nights on the floors of the hospitals.
“Thousands of them having to sleep on benches because they cannot get a bed to rest on. Can you imagine the pain and frustration of taking your sick relative, your father, your mother, your brother, your sister or your child to the hospital for medical care only to see them having to sleep on the floor? Can you imagine having to see them sitting on a chair and waiting for a bed while they are in excruciating pain and agony?” Persad-Bissessar said.
She argued that the crime situation had worsen under the present administration and that “daily we are bombarded with reports of incidents of violence, murder, robbery and other crimes against citizens.”
She continued, “What is noticeable is that under the PNM (People’s National Movement), any PNM administration but more so with this Rowley regime – when they are in office, criminal activity increases.
“I remember the days when kidnapping was a common case, every morning I would look at the newspaper and I was almost guaranteed to read about an unfortunate kidnapping for ransom. It became a business under the PNM.”
Persad Bissessar said that the country needs a UNC administration that would be focused on “on getting our country working again.”
“My friends, let us kick off this campaign in memory of the thousands who have lost their lives, homes, families and jobs because of this incompetent Rowley regime. I cry for them all. Hardly a family has been left untouched by the scourge of crime which is not only allowed but encouraged by this wicked Rowley regime,” Persad Bissessar said, using the upcoming poll as a referendum on the ruling party ahead of the 2020 general election.
She has promised that the UNC, which had been a major party in the last coalition administration here would “transform Trinidad and Tobago,” saying “we have been working for well over a year with the best economists and minds across the country; and we have formulated our National Economic Transformation Master Plan”.
She said a new UNC government remains dedicated to creating jobs as well as follow a pro-business strategy, which allows the private sector to be the main driver of economic growth, transformation and sustainable development.
“A new UNC Government will focus on improving the ease of doing business, tackling crime, removing obstacles to business growth and expansion, and attracting local and foreign investments by providing an enabling environment and necessary incentives,” she added.
The former Prime Minister is also promising that a new UNC government will focus on improving the economy’s resilience to future shocks, bringing the budget into balance, stabilizing high public debt, protecting our external position and safeguarding financial stability.
“Reducing poverty, closing the income inequality gap between rich and poor, and providing a safety net for the poor and vulnerable will form an important part of our economic reform agenda and lead to more economic opportunities for people and a better quality of life for all,” she said.
The Opposition Leader is promising that within the first 90 days of the next UNC government, it will repeal the Property Tax legislation, fix the broken sea and air bridge between the islands, protect farmers and fisherfolk by incorporating the Praedial larceny squad into the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service.
The list of promises also includes a commitment to prepare a divestment plan and debt workout strategy for non-strategic, loss-making state enterprises, as well as scrap the proposed Revenue Authority and prepare legislation to reduce personal income and corporate taxes and simplify the Value added Tax (VAT) regime.
There are also plans to re-establish the Ministry of the People and the Ministry of Justice with Persad Bissessar saying “I will never apologize for investing in our people because that is the simple mandate of any government – to protect, provide and invest in its people.
“On December 2nd 2019 we can begin that journey of rebuilding our nation and putting the dreams of people back on track by sending the Rowley Regime a message at the polls. On December 2, 2019 we can work to break the yoke of underdevelopment, neglect, hardship and economic burdens of our citizens by standing up to the Rowley regime,” she added. – CMC