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‘No basket of election goodies’
Do not expect a basket of election goodies when the People’s Partnership launches its 2015 manifesto.
Instead, look out for plans to take T&T from economic dependence on oil and gas, increase productivity and deliver a better quality of life for citizens, said Planning and Sustainability Minister Dr Bhoe Tewarie, the man co-ordinating the formulation of the PP’s manifesto.
Growth, investment and infrastructure development will be the PP’s focus.
“The manifesto will be a combination of policy, projects, a plan of action and specific target areas for attention,” he told the Sunday Guardian at his Eric Williams Financial Centre, Port-of-Spain, office last week.
He said the government’s focus heading into the election would be to continue the developmental strides it made in its first term.
Tewarie said that in 2010 the PP did not have election goodies in its manifesto.
The partnership presented initiatives that had public appeal, he said.
The 2015 manifesto, Tewarie said, “will have the benefit of having delivered in our first term.”
The PP’s 2010 manifesto focused on social infrastructure, such as schools and hospitals, and seven pillars—people-centred development, poverty eradication and social justice, national and personal security, information and communication technologies, a more diversified and knowledge-intensive economy, good governance, and foreign policy.
This time around, the PP wanted to “significantly increase the per capita of this country and we want to accelerate growth,” he said.
Tewarie added, “We want to accelerate diversification and we want to create jobs in the economy. We want to build an internationalised energy platform built on international partnerships and all of these things. There is so much we are committing to do.”
What the manifesto will contain
While Tewarie did not want to divulge the details of the 2015 manifesto, he said the PP would be coming with a “very ambitious” plan to continue development of its five growth poles, that is, North East Tobago, South West Trinidad, Central Trinidad, East Port-of-Spain, and North Coast Trinidad.
The PP will be working with the T&T Manufacturers Association and the Information Communication and Technology (ICT)-driven sectors to expand exports.
This, he said, would “address the foreign exchange situation and the issue of job creation in the society. So the diversification is very important.”
Infrastructure development for T&T is also on the cards—the road to Chaguaramas and the highway from Mayaro to San Fernando are among key projects.
The PP will also focus on a deepwater harbour in Port-of-Spain which will allow T&T to accommodate post-Panamax ships into the capital city.
“That may mean relocating the Port of Port-of-Spain from its present location, but the relocation of the Port of Port-of-Spain will also open up the waterfront for development and we can use it for private sector development in order to make that a very beautiful part of the city, so that we will have essentially a port city,” Tewarie said.
After having increased minimum wage twice and signed off on two salary increases for public servants, Tewarie said the PP would address the issue of productivity and innovation in the public service “with a view to match the productivity in the private sector, because productivity is a very important part of competitiveness and very essential to make innovation meaningful.”
In terms of international energy partnerships, he explained, the PP had moved closer to establishing an energy fund with global collaborators. Discussions have been initiated with Spain and Germany as well as Canada. “If that fund comes into play, we are likely to see increased competitiveness for the entire Caribbean,” he added.
This, he said, would see a transformation of the local energy matrix.
‘PP achieved 90 per cent of manifesto promises’
Tewarie dismissed allegations that the PP had failed to stick to its manifesto promises made in 2010, such as instituting election campaign financing.
Rather, Tewarie said, a review of the PP’s 2010 manifesto would show that the Government had performed.
“Out of that (manifesto) we have either started or set into motion or completed 90 per cent plus of the things we said we would do. It is impossible in five years to do 100 per cent,” the minister declared.
He said Government had been very faithful to its promises.
What the PP would like to do now, he said, was complete some of the things it could not do in five years.
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