OFFICIAL WEBSITE OF THE UNITED NATIONAL CONGRESS, The Official Opposition In The Republic Of Trinidad And Tobago.

Re: MP Ratiram Exposes PNM’s Deception To The Agriculture Sector

To: All Media Houses
From: MP for Couva North, Ravi Ratiram
Date: 29th February, 2024

RE: MP Ratiram Exposes PNM’s Deception to the Agriculture Sector

As the Shadow Minister of Agriculture, I stand before you today to address a matter of utmost importance—the government’s latest attempt to hoodwink the public. It is with a heavy heart that I expose their cynical ploy, wrapped in the guise of concern for our citizens’ well-being.

In the final months of their term in office, the PNM Cabinet has unveiled a grand plan: the establishment of a committee to reduce food prices.

On the surface, this may appear as a noble endeavor, a beacon of hope for families struggling to put meals on their tables. But let us not be fooled by their smoke and mirrors.

The PNM’s latest proposal to form a committee to reduce food prices in Trinidad and Tobago reeks of desperation in the final year of their term. This feeble attempt appears to be a calculated move to mask their previous failures in addressing crucial agricultural issues. It’s a transparent ploy to feign action while conveniently seeking reelection, further showcasing their lack of genuine commitment to addressing the longstanding challenges faced by our agricultural sector.

1.⁠ ⁠A History of Broken Promises:

We must never forget the countless promises made by this PNM administration over the years. They pledged to improve agricultural infrastructure, enhance food security, and empower our farmers. Yet, what have we witnessed? A neglected sector, a dilapidated agricultural market, and a lack of investment in our agricultural sector. Their track record is one of empty rhetoric and unfulfilled commitments.

2.⁠ ⁠Timing Is Everything:

Why, I ask, has this committee suddenly materialized in the eleventh hour? Why now, when their tenure draws to a close? The answer is simple: re-election. Desperate to secure another term, they scramble for any semblance of accomplishment. But let us dissect their motives:

  • Photo Ops and Sound Bites: Expect glossy brochures, ribbon-cutting ceremonies, and eloquent speeches. They will parade committee members, handpicked loyalists in front of the news cameras, showcasing their dedication to the cause.
  • Election Campaign Fodder: The government hopes to ride this wave of faux activism straight into the hearts of voters. “Look,” they’ll say, “we’re tackling food prices head-on!” But it’s all a charade, my friends.
  • Distraction from Real Issues: By diverting attention to this committee, they conveniently sidestep their failures in education, healthcare, and infrastructure. It’s a magician’s trick—an illusion to keep us from scrutinizing their abysmal governance.

3.⁠ ⁠The Committee’s Toothless Mandate:

Let us examine the committee’s mandate. Will they address the root causes of rising food costs? Will they tackle import tariffs, streamline distribution channels, or invest in sustainable farming practices? NO! Instead, they’ll shuffle papers, hold meetings, and issue reports while food prices continue their upward climb.

Let us not forget that it was only in 2022 that this same PNM administration established the Agricultural Multi-disciplinary Voluntary Advisory Committee, and to this date absolutely nothing of benefit has ever been produced or reported on by this Committee for the advancement of Agriculture in this country.

Of the issues farmers are still waiting to be addressed, we have:

•⁠ ⁠flooding as a result of poorly maintained waterways
•⁠ ⁠the increasing cost of fertilizers and chemicals
•⁠ ⁠poor pest management and responses from the government
•⁠ ⁠extremely long delays in disbursing subsidies to farmers
•⁠ ⁠land tenure
•⁠ ⁠and their continued refusal to engage in the Leader of the Opposition’s crime talks, which has been discussing the major issue of praedial larceny.

Until these issues are addressed I’m afraid that the members of this new committee and any new entrants into Agriculture are only being setup to fail.

The farmers and citizens of this nation deserve better. We deserve leaders who act with integrity, not those who manipulate our hunger for political gain. Let us see through this farce, this hollow committee, and demand real solutions. When we cast our votes, let us remember their deeds, not their words.

As the UNC Shadow Minister of Agriculture, I pledge to fight along side my Honorable Leader, Mrs. Kamla Persad Bissessar and my colleagues, to bring about genuine change. For policies that uplift our farmers, secure our food supply, and ensure affordability for all. By doing this, we can break free from this cycle of PNM deception.


MP Ravi Ratiram
Member of Parliament for Couva North

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