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UNC: We are ready for early election

UNC: We are ready for early election

United National Congress (UNC) MP Saddam Hosein believes the country is on the cusp of an early general election.

Hosein disagreed with political analysts’ contention that an election would not be called before the next budget. However, the UNC MP said the party was gearing up for the Prime Minister’s sounding of the election bell.

“There is nothing to prevent the Government from coming in with a mid-year review, passing a supplementary budget to increase expenditure. We might very well see a lot of election goodies in that bag.”

On March 10, Hosein appealed to the people of Trinidad and Tobago, “Don’t be fooled. They could not deliver in the last nine years, and they will not be able to deliver in the next year.”

He was speaking at the UNC’s March 10 media briefing.

“We are asking the people of Trinidad and Tobago to do the right thing and remove this Rowley government from office.

“We must take back our country. We must make our country safe again.”

He also sought to debunk claims that the Opposition did not support important legislation to combat crime. Hosein read from the parliamentary records, pointing to 35 pieces of legislation the Opposition supported in Parliament.

At the same time, he used the same source of information to show the lack of support the PNM gave to bills under the PP administration.

“We have continuously told the Government that law and legislation alone cannot fight crime. You need a holistic fight against crime. You need policies. You need programmes for the youths. You need to build back the educational infrastructure that we left you.

“You need to give people jobs in this country. You need to give people hope and opportunity. You cannot just go to the Parliament pass laws and expect that to be a panacea for this crime situation you left unattended for the last nine years.”

He said it was because of the Rowley-led government’s neglect Trinidad and Tobago was in this situation, with alarmingly high crime statistics.

Hosein predicted that it will only get worse under this regime.

He recalled that it was under the Rowley administration that Trinidad and Tobago experienced the highest murder rate in the country, and to date, there have been 100 murders in the first 67 days of the year.

Yet, he said, the Prime Minister does not want to meet to talk about the crime situation, but choose to dictate to the Opposition to stop talking about crime.

“We will speak about crime because it affects everyone. Crime diminishes the standard of living.”

Hosein also used the opportunity to take Rowley to task for saying on a PNM political platform in Chaguanas East on March 7 that people wanted too much.

Hosein said he was aghast that Rowley, who he said was seeking a 33 per cent salary increase to put his earnings at $80,000 a month, would make such a statement when public servants were given four per cent and told to shut up.

“They did not reject the (Salaries Review Commission) report.”

He said what Finance Minister Colm Imbert did was identify several anomalies in the report, which has been sent back to the SRC with a two-month deadline to report back to the Cabinet, which will then decide.

On the Prime Minister’s attack on Prof Selwyn Cudjoe, Hosein said Cudjoe had every right to speak out.

“Cudjoe must not question your wealth? Why? You are not beyond reproach. You are accountable to the people of Trinidad and Tobago.”

Hosein also spoke about the shake-up at the Strategic Services Agency (SSA), whose director, Major Roger Best, was sent on administrative leave.

Hosein said the UNC had one question for the Prime Minister: “Is this entire issue at the SSA due to two senior Cabinet ministers’ phones being tapped and intercepted?”

He said the Prime Minister could not hide behind the veil of silence.

Hosein also spoke on property tax, saying dissatisfied home owners have been receiving exorbitant assessments. He also questioned the composition of the valuations tribunal.

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