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Suruj: Shamfa can’t cut it in tourism

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley needs to review leaving the Tourism Ministry in the hands of Shamfa Cudjoe since she cannot do the job, Opposition MP Suruj Rambachan said yesterday.

“Government needs to better manage tourism, since we’re only exposing Trinidad and Tobago, not truly marketing it.

“It’s a job clearly beyond the current minister and the Prime Minister needs to review keeping it in her hands,”he said during a media briefing at which he and other UNC MPs critiqued Government’s economic management.

“After 18 month of office, it’s clear this isn’t a thinking government, but a wait-and-see government,” he said.

“We’re concerned at rising debt levels—62 per cent of GDP—as one would have to have a way to earn to repay this debt.

“But we’ve seen no credible economic plan to generate funding to repay the debts we’re incurring.”

Rambachan said borrowings should finance methods which earn income rather than being used for unproductive processes, creating a financial sinkhole.

“Government hasn’t shown the source of funding to repay debts and isn’t creating a stimulus package to generate economic activity.

“The Obama administration in the US recession had a plan and within two years saw benefits.

“So it’s necessary for Government to intervene in the economy with stimulus investments, but they’re sitting silently by.

“We’re seeing bank lending rates rising and increasing the cost of doing business, slow private sector growth because people are fearful and losing confidence, job losses which affect the retail and manufacturing sectors and even slowdown in loans for home improvements. That in turn has affected the construction sector,” he said.

Rambachan appealed for care with disposal of state assets lest poor handling truncates earnings.

He recommended seeking niches involving small and medium businesses and establishing agricultural production and agro-processing to increase food production and decrease the food import bill.


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