23 Feb 2009

Backlash! – A country screwed

Yesterday (late last night in fact) I had a phone call from someone in Trinidad. This person revealed to me a possible plan by the Government that will screw over the entire population.

Now this is only speculation, but you know the old saying, ‘where there is smoke….’. The idea expounded does have merit though.

Word is that the Government is running out of money in the coffers, and no wonder, given that the massive spending since Papa-tricks became Prime Minister has been on a runaway train, and not even a Rapid Rail one at that.

Despite cautionary words for years from the Central Bank, the former Governor of said bank (and an economist in his own right), and other experts, spending increased so drastically, that it outstripped the rate income tax was being paid in. In other words, they have already bled the country dry. One had even suggested that the current budget should be based on a price of US $30 per barrel of oil, rather than the US $70 per barrel that was used.

They are currently struggling to pay contractors, and salaries for public servants.

The next step, according to what I heard last night is a series of steps. First, I understand GATE is to be terminated. No new applicants will be accepted for the free education programme. There goes the dreams of funding up to PhD level.

Next, there is a highly likely possibility that the dollar will be devalued in comparison to the US dollar. The word is that the devaluation will be $10 TT to $1 US. Currently the rate is US $1 to TT $6.31. This date of this change is yet undecided, some saying it will be Ash Wednesday (2 days away) or some say after the summit.

What this means is that with immediate effect from the change, every one is working for 36.9% less. Contractors earn that percentage less on their contracts and goods prices will increase, including food, and other necessities of life. Salaries of public servants will be devalued, despite ‘negotiations’ that saw them obtain measly 3% (or thereabouts) increases.

My own belief is that Papa-tricks will wait till after the summit since, no matter how loyal ‘PNM till I dead’ supporters he has, they too will have howls of protest, and might create security risks. A devaluation of this sort will leave us, one of the ‘richest’ islands of the Caribbean, with a currency that may only be higher than those of Jamaica and Guyana in value.

Yes, I predict there will be a backlash from a country screwed.