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PM offers premium press briefing

Scene: Prime Minister’s Post-Budget press conference

First Journalist: “Prime Minister, it’s been said that the zero VAT rating announcement was just an attempt to distract the public away from the Section 34 scandal. Can you comment on that please?”

PM: “That is just PNM propaganda. We’ve dealt with the issue in Parliament and proved that we listen to the people’s concerns and acted appropriately. Now, I’m here to talk about the people’s budget that will turn their dreams into reality.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar

Second Journalist: “But you still haven’t explained how it happened.”

PM: “Look we explained it was an oversight and I fired the person responsible. Now let’s talk about the wonderful measures we put in place to make Trinidad and Tobago truly a heaven on earth.”

Third Journalist: “But I don’t understand why you haven’t explained how Volney managed to bypass cabinet procedure and convince you to get the President to proclaim clause 34 when the Government gave its word that…”

PM: “Right, I’m only answering questions on the budget.”

First Journalist: “But…”

PM: “Jack knows where you all live, you know, so watch it.”

Second Journalist: “Erm, it’s being said that the removal of VAT is just a gimmick as there was already zero VAT on virtually all basic foods. How do you answer that?”

PM: “You see Dr Rowley would have you believe that I’m out of touch with our citizens but that is not the case. We’ve removed VAT on all juices such as pineapple, cranberry, etc. Even black eyed peas are zero rated, so I think it’s the ideal time to invite them to Trinidad to perform.”

First Journalist: “Financial analysts said that any negligible savings made by removing VAT on food will be lost due to the removal of the fuel subsidy…”

PM: “That is total rubbish, put out by the PNM to distract people from the fact that this government is improving the lives of all citizens of Trinidad & Tobago. I am advised that only 6% of the population, the middle class and the rich, will be affected by the increase in premium gasoline. I am advised that it’s the people who drive Audis and BMWs who will pay more.”

First Journalist: “But manufacturers such as Kia, Toyota, Mazda, Nissan recommend premium and those vehicles are owned by the ordinary person. And when you say 6% of the population, don’t you mean 6% of car owners? If we say that 15% of the population are too young to drive and many married couples only have one car that means that something like 25% will be affected…”

Second Journalist: “And if the overall cost of transport increases, won’t that be passed on to the cost of all goods, including food? So won’t the net effect of this budget be an increase in food costs?”

PM: “I am advised that the increase in fuel will not affect food prices.”

Third Journalist: “But won’t an increase in taxi and maxi fares mean that, before people reach the shops, they are already worse off?”

PM: “I am advised that everybody will be richer and happier and that’s why this Government has the people’s support.”

Second Journalist: “Ahmm. Well, I noticed that the two largest sports programmes, Hoops of Life and LifeSport are under the Minister of National Security. Shouldn’t these programmes fall under the remit of the Ministry of Sport? Wouldn’t Mr Warner’s time be better spent helping to solve crime?”

PM: “These are anti-crime projects and I am advised that because of these, violent crime will be reduced by 50% over the next 3 years.”

Third Journalist: “But I don’t think any Government has ever reduced violent crime by 50% in 3 years. Can you explain how this will be achieved?”

PM: “You’re welcome.”

Third Journalist: “Excuse me?”

PM: “I’m always glad to speak to the media and you know my Government are big supporters of the media’s right to do their jobs.”

Third Journalist: “But you didn’t answer my question, Prime Minister.”

PM: “No, no. Your job is not to ask me question. It is to print the answers I give you. So run along now. And remember to tell your editors that Jack knows where they live too.”


Editor’s Note: This column is pure satire and all conversations are faked; no offence is meant at parties named although they probably deserve it

About Filbert Street

Filbert Street
Filbert Street is a real columnist who works in a fantasy world that sometimes resembles our own.

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