|All Trinidad queries agri $$ Budget cut |
Thursday, October 8 2015
THE All Trinidad General Workers Trade Union (ATGWTU) has expressed concern over the reduction in budgetary allocation to the Agricultural sector from $1.5 billion in 2014/2015 to $831 million in the 2015/2016. In a media statement yesterday, the union noted that Monday’s budget presentation was a balancing act by Finance Minister Colm Imbert to, “satisfy the need for political expediency while stabilising the economy.”
“Indeed the budget seems to be an attempt to sanitize excessive spending, increase revenue and consolidate the economy from a holistic perspective,” the union stated, before noting that a 37-percent reduction to the Ministry of Agriculture would not lead to an expansion of the sector.
“It is indeed contradictory to speak of a strong, modern, prosperous and competitive agricultural sector while reducing the allocations necessary to make this possible. We hold the hope that the budget, be not necessarily hard and fast provisions to be implemented, but instead proposals of policies that may or may not be implemented as unforeseen circumstances may dictate, the Government will see it fit to revise the allocation to the agricultural sector, after careful investigation into the true needs into the sector, not from a theoretical perspective but from a practical perspective,” the union stated.
The union also reminded Prime Minister Keith Rowley, of his election campaign promises to deal with outstanding issues affecting the ex-employees of Caroni 1975 Ltd which include outstanding leases for residential and agricultural lots. “We are therefore calling on the Honourable Prime Minister and the Honourable Minister of Finance to make the necessary revisions in the allocation of funding so as to bring these long outstanding issues to an end. It must be remembered that these are not gifts or handouts but are indeed outstanding provisions of the VESP Package owed to the Ex-employees of Caroni (1975) Limited and also an order of the High Court as per the Deyalsingh Judgment of 2007,” the union stated. “The Prime Minister has a golden opportunity to cross the political divide to rise above the politics of separation to learn of the mistakes of the past, to fulfil his campaign promise and by so doing become one of the best prime ministers this country has ever seen,” the union stated.