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2016 Budget suruj

Excerpts from Budget Contribution by Member of Parliament for Tabaquite, Dr. Surujrattan Rambachan

Looking back at 2015, here are some important quotes made in the 2015 Budget Contribution by the Member of Parliament for Tabaquite, Dr. Surujrattan Rambachan.



“What we have to do for tourism is not depend on the sea-sand experience. We have to give a different experience, a different experience to the tourism people. Why is it that Trinidad and Tobago cannot be looked at as a recuperation and wellness centre for tourists? Why is it we cannot think differently? Why we cannot look at Trinidad and Tobago as a place where people can look as coming for a tourism experience in terms of wellness?—in terms of recuperation? Wellness centres, I believe, can be very successful, because what we will then be doing is developing a specialist product, a specialist product. Not only will it contribute to bringing in tourists to the country, high-paying tourists, high-end tourists, but it will also contribute to rural development, to sustainable jobs, and in the initial stages will also boost the construction sector.”



“Whether the public service and the current government understand it, bureaucracy and the stranglehold it has must be broken. It is fundamental to achieving the required paradigm. The challenge we have to our success resides in developing a competitive environment and competitive product aimed at a diversified economy—it is culture. A cultural shift is needed.”

“Madam Speaker, we have arrived at a particular juncture in our economic history, where we must decide what role Government wishes to play in the development of the country and how much it wants to get involved. If it does get involved, is it going to be a facilitator or is it going to be an obstructionist; that is the thing. Indeed there is a matter of what role the Government intends to play in the current economic scenario. If job loss is as real as we think it is, what economic philosophy is the Government proposing to use so that it can weather the storm and create a financially and socially stable country?”

“If you go back in history, there were similar situations in the United States. Ronald Reagan faced situations like that and, perhaps, it is opportune to ask whether a special recovery plan, like that which Obama introduced, has merit or should be considered in our present circumstance. We have used monetary policy, we have used fiscal policies, and we have reduced interest rates, which is, more or less, part of the monetary policy. Government investment in infrastructure, we have used it and I think it is necessary.”


Looking back at 2016, here are some important quotes made in the 2016 Budget Contribution by the Member of Parliament for Tabaquite, Dr. Surujrattan Rambachan.



“So you can change it but you have to have the talent, and the difference again between the Ministers there and the Ministers who are here and who were there is that we had a sense of what it took to manage and change the public service. [Desk thumping] So you need an instantaneous shift in the attitude of people also, but you need to lead people, you need to show them the importance of what they are doing. Today, it is all gone.”



“I just want to say something to you here today and I mean it, and I mean it sincerely. By your attacks and disrespect, by your insinuations and propaganda, you have been unable to puncture the spirit of the Opposition.”


“You will never break our spirit because we on this side are inspired by a higher ideal and a compelling vision for this nation which invigorates our strength and determination, and which sooner rather than later we will be able to implement. No Government in the history of this nation has brought this country to the brink in 12 months as the Dr. Keith Rowley-led administration has done.”


“No Government has brought tears and pain to people as this Dr. Rowley-led administration, by mismanagement of the health sector, by not having lifesaving drugs at the nation’s hospitals, by the Minister of Health not having equipment and resources to do cataract surgeries at the San Fernando Hospital. So people are now lining up and have to wait for two years for an appointment for a cataract surgery.”




“What is the hope, Minister of National Security? What is the hope for our citizens when in the face of the burgeoning crime situation, a Minister declares he is not to be blamed? Is this not a statement of personal defeat? Is this not an evasion of responsibility? What can the country expect when the Minister throws down the bows and the arrows and says I will not fight? What? What? Minister, is it that you lack the mental toughness? This is the Ministry that sought the addition of two Ministers to assist a substantive Minister? I ask in all sincerity and with all respect, what special skills has the Parliamentary Secretary, the Member of Parliament for Toco/Sangre Grande, brought to the Ministry to fight crime? What has she done having had police experience? A senior superintendent. What inspired strategies has she introduced to support her Minister?”




“The problem, again, in the Judiciary, is managerial competency, not just laws. There are a myriad of solutions which can be implemented in the short run  to bring relief and to speed up justice. But the Judiciary’s leadership must itself stop engaging in the excuse management syndrome and the blaming culture and begin leading and managing. The Judiciary must get judicial managers into the system and if you cannot get them, seek the assistance of the UN for human resources to create the changes. Other than this, nothing will change. The buck stops with the Chief Justice who is the leader of the team. With all due respect, Mr. Chief Justice, the buck stops with you and the box stops also with the Member for San Fernando West, the Attorney General, who must provide the supporting environment. And in 13 months, what the Judiciary is saying, he has not done that, not done that, dismal failure.”




“You know, we have a situation where in the budget of 2016, under Transport, the hon. Minister of Finance, at that point in time, made some interesting comments and one of the things he talked about was the ferries and he said, you know, they will—new fast ferries providing adequate  levels of service between Trinidad and Tobago. Well, the fast ferries are now 17years old eh but we have heard nothing about replacing the fast ferries.”




“This is why if you are spending $10 billion a year on the public service, then you have to ask for performance from the public service. You need to cut the bureaucracy, you need to speed up. You really need to speed up in this country to get things done.”




“Mr. Deputy Speaker, the Government has failed this country very badly in the last year, very badly. They have shown no vision and therefore the people have lost confidence. They have lost faith. They no longer trust the great betrayers of this nation, the PNM Government.”

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