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STREET VIBE: That’s insulting! Condescending politicians are T&T’s biggest freeloaders

“It is sad and indeed ironic that those who have been accusing taxpayers of living off the fat of the land, are the biggest parasites of the offices which they occupy; doing all this while paying no taxes.”

The following Letter to the Editor on Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley’s criticism of the public for its reliance on the government was submitted by Rudy Chato Paul, Sr:

Photo: Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley. (Courtesy Caribbean News Service)
Photo: Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley.
(Courtesy Caribbean News Service)

So there I was, entertaining myself on Facebook—the only entertainment I can currently afford—‘mining’ people’s business, when up jumped the now infamous 22 second video of Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley.

There he was, ranting like David Rudder’s “mad man”, boldly condemning citizens of this land for relying too much on government for having to build the nation’s roadways, health centres, schools “and every this and every that.”

By now, most would have seen the video and as such there is no need to quote him.  I replayed the 22 second clip several times, just to be sure of what I was hearing and make sure I understood what he was saying.

I knew when it became the talking point someone strategically placed would be required to put positive a spin on it. And I was correct—again.

Apparently the PM is of the view that successive governments, for at least the last two generations, have been doing the people of this land a great disservice by providing roads, schools and health centres along with “every this and every that.”  The various regimes have been busily moulding and shaping our entitlement mentality to which we have become so used that we now need to be “weaned off.”

Unfortunately, the goodly Doctor said nothing of the career political parasites who became fabulously wealthy simply by occupying the corridors of power—some for more than an entire generation—while their respective constituencies have been, and continue to be, systematically and intentionally neglected.

Photo: Time to roll up your sleeves!
Photo: Time to roll up your sleeves!

The PM’s logic explains the derelict condition of the roads in constituencies defined as ‘safe seats’ held by both of the major parties. Put another way, one may recall Peter Taylor, not so long ago, also accusing citizens of “living off the fat of the land.”

It is sad and indeed ironic that those who have been accusing taxpayers of living off the fat of the land, are the biggest parasites of the offices which they occupy; doing all this while enjoying exclusive tax breaks.

This means that the PM, who has been a Member of Parliament (MP) since 1991, who was also appointed as a Senator in 1987, has enjoyed certain benefits not shared with the ordinary taxman for the past 29 years. And he is not the only one.

Coincidentally, the current Minister of Finance (MoF) has also been an MP since 1991. Sadly, his portfolio has not the slightest relationship to anything resembling finance. And, like the others who occupy the corridors of power, he has been one of the biggest beneficiaries, since it is evident to all that he cannot survive in any other world—as was evident in his construction of stadium which subsequently collapsed.

For the people who came begging for our support just over a year ago, to speak to us as though we are all lazy and illiterate, accusing all of us of being dependent on the government is highly offensive.

Photo: Time to tighten those belts.
Photo: Time to tighten those belts.

In fact, the majority of this nation are hardworking people, making sacrifices, having been asked earlier to ‘eat cassava,’ while others sip on “Presidential Wine” and a political leader flies like a mosquito, from one nation to another, with nothing to show for his travels aside from accumulating frequent flyer mileage.

That the genius MoF saw it fit to raise diesel fuel three times in the last year, while fuel prices around the world have been falling, is a true reflection of his understanding of economics.

No one is denying that oil prices are down. But this insistance on financing mega projects through taxation on the middle class has managed to reduce them to the status of ‘the working poor.’

The science of reducing VAT to 12.5 % while adding it to most food items is another of the MoF’s genius ideas.

It is abundantly clear that the people who occupy the corridors of power are out of touch with the people whom they begged for support recently. Until the PM and those with whom he surrounds himself with understand the functions of government, reckless statements like the last one will continue.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley. (Copyright Andrea De Silva)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley.
(Copyright Andrea De Silva)

Let’s hope there’s a sequel to his book, which reads: “From Mason Hall to White Hall, and Back.”


Editor’s Note: MPs do pay taxes on their salaries. That error in the initial post was corrected.

About Rudy Chato Paul Sr

Rudy Chato Paul, Sr, is passionate about gardening, music and writing and boasts post-graduate certification in Anthropology, Criminology and Sociology. He also studied Theology, which is why he is actively seeking to make Trinidad a better place rather than waiting for divine intervention. 

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  1. A fantastic motivational speech by our Hon. Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley???.

    Nowhere in that speech did the honourable doctor refer to taxpayers having to now foot the bills for public services. All yer ungrateful DUNC people not easy! Satanic spin doctors, and racists LIARS whose only goal is to spread lies and bad rake. HAUL….!!

    God bless the people of Laventille and bring them out of their distresses. AMEN!

  2. We have become the laughing stock of the Caribbean and the entire World because we have a Jackass at the helm of our Nation, Mr Manning warned us but we didn’t listen, now he want us to wean off the trough, well tell us why should we pay PAYE, 5% ROAD Tax and HEALTH SURCHARGE you Asshole for you ride Mercedes Benz and Build New House , Look man wean your darn ass off Trinidad & Tobago once and for all. All this while we called Chambers Duncey think again people this current one ain’t Duncey he Assey.

  3. Rowley time you and dirty dwen wean your self off my wallet and go back under that rock in the forest wear you come from

  4. Don’t look for things to criticise but to build up he said a lot of positive things in that same speech ,talk about it please.When Kamla open Colour me Orange she said who don’t like it they could put it where the sun don’t shine ,I didn’t hear you or any one criticise her like that so don’t be bias.We make you out

  5. Don’t judge people by what you think because you are not in his mind .You above all person should think different ,you would not like any one to misunderstand you

  6. I am waiting patiently for when these same mischief makers and their quest for attention digs into the SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT PROGRAMME. and again singles him out for mischief making, It is also good to see all the sheeple on here quickly berating this man and I am sure that NONE of them have personally listened to the speech And I will say this now ALL THE HOLLERING AND CONDEMNATION IS NOT ABOUT THAT SPEECH AT ALL. The first person to start the ball rolling will be one of these persons calling themselves columnistd and journalista But all they really are is just common mischief makers.

  7. One on grey goose; the other on fancy imported wine: he must be own a brewery. He had better start de witch hunt to retrieve what was misapproptiated/spirited away by the previous regime. Everytime these sleaze ball politicians (male and female) mess up, the poor man must sink his hands even deeper into his already shallow pockets to fill the gap. Politicians are vampires – every last one of them! Infrastructural construction and maintenance services moreso in education and health services are but two main reasons citizens pay taxes. “Politricktians’ mess up and the poor man becomes the villian. Boldfacedness!

  8. mugabi has not one iota on how to run the country. a very motivational man!

  9. I had some hope after his victory speech but his rantings as of late comes from a man that seems to be buckling under the pressure. it’s been over a year and yet it’s still the blame game.. I am still waiting to hear about what is being done about the shortage of medicine at the hospitals. resurrecting old projects seems to be more important than a life. if he don’t want the “taxpayers” to ask for their back pay and all that, then why pay taxes? it’s not your personal account, it belongs to the taxpayers who pay your salary! time to stop bitching and moaning and get to work. if you can’t handle the heat get out of the kitchen.

  10. Poor man will suffer and feel it..politician living nice..we dont need pnm or unc we need brand new goverment they both failed us..

  11. Time for a next election get them out

  12. We have to get tough love in this country!

  13. The last time energy prices fell this far it caused the collapse of the Soviet Union (that’s right. It wasn’t Reagan. It was the Soviets being too broke to buy grain to feed their population) and what they still call the Lost Decade in Latin America. Anybody who thinks that we can maintain the same standard of living is simply not being realistic. If the government is warning the population of that then that is them doing their jobs. Honestly, who vex could vex. But this is plain old shooting the messenger.

  14. I can’t believe this debate over semantics is still going on. It reminds me of the backlash against Black Lives Matter that gave rise to Blue lives matter and All lives matter. Because they didn’t say “black lives matter as well” in the context of black lives being unrepentedly snuffed out. So in Rowley’s call to residents of greater Laventille to take an active roll in their children’s lives by being active in the PTA etc the clip that was strategically selected for political mischief becomes the talking point. SMH

    • Ahhh yes. Strategically selected. Rowley specifically started by saying what he was about to say was for the country. But because people were critical of what he said next… it is the media who set him up. :-/

    • All because people have too much ego to even consider: Maybe I shouldn’t have said that…

    • Like I said, semantics. Surely, words could be better chosen. However, having heard the budget presentation the day before which also spoke of the plans to partner with the private sector as well as UWI I understand the intent. Rowley’s point was that we depend on the government for roads schools etc as well as everything else such as our children’s performance in school among other things. In all I am seeing a narrative that the government is trying to motivate the citizens to become actively involved. You won’t get that from the clip that was selected. As in academia where knowledge of the author’s worldview adds context to a document. I have firsthand knowledge that the work of the head of news at the tv station involved here is compromised by her racist and political agenda.

    • Knit picking and pickers, the order of the day. When Kanla promised every woman or girl who had a baby, $500 dollars, that was creating the same dependency syndrome the PM was speaking of. Laventille is a place where you’d find a lot of these women and girls, and most of these children may even end up fatherless. They made stupid promises and set bad precedence. The $1 million for relatives of slain police men is one. Interestingly, they never paid a cent to them despite the promised being made over 3 yrs ago. Now it’s a “threat” from Kamla to use the court house to “make sure” the money is paid.

    • If the bar is set as low as Kamla and her gang, then we ent going anywhere. I want more than just being better than the PP. Because that isn’t difficult.

    • You’re right. And a good way to raise the bar is by not honouring that payment. Instead, let insurance coverage take care of that. I’m sure the policy I have takes care of my family if I’m to die fro a vehicle accident or any other form of death.

  15. The faster we wake up and realise we are in abnormal times,the more prepared we will be.Some of us still focusing on dotishness,instead of the serious times that has befallen us.

    • Abnormal in terms of recent social history, but our situation is what you would expect knowing the history of the country. To achieve anything near reasonable living standards we will have to at least recognise that the bubble has burst and we will have to restructure for the benefit of the whole society.

  16. WOW! How does this post with its comments help us with nation building? Is the nation T&T a lost cause?

  17. For too long we have become accustomed to politicians sugarcoating faeces and feeding it to us as candy.Dr Rowley ,with his raspy voice and Tobagonian fortrightness, is posing a serious challenge, to those of us who have become addicted to the candy fed to us in the past. The man referred to a businessman ,asking for a stimulus package in the budget,he then went on to speak about dependance on government,in obvious reference to what the businessman said. While his comments fell in most of our gardens,I hardly think that the PM expected the ordinary citizen to build their own roads and schools .

    • After the business man talk and the stimulus package he went on to say more…and that corn was thrown mainly for the Laventille people and then the rest of us.

    • “Laventille people and then the rest of us”, Rose-Marie Ingrid Lemessy-Forde, wow. Sounds like the title of the book I’m going to write about all that is wrong with Black people in Trinidad.

    • Rose-Marie Ingrid Lemessy-Forde and by extension Lasana Liburd ,do you honestly believe the PM referred to you and I, when he spoke about dependance on the government to build roads and schools?

    • Danny Holder ,according to Ms Lemmesy Forde,”Laventille people” are different to the rest of us.Jah help us,yes.

    • I did not have to hear the entire clip to know it was mischief unc3 was making.

    • I read somewhere some time ago that when slavery was abolished the ex slaves downed tools and went up Laventille to heal their wounds and reflect on the big White experience. Some gradually came back down and went back into slavery for a servant wuk and to breed for their slavemasters while the rest of us stayed up the hill inventing steelband and other cultural pursuits. Maybe not always identifiably so, but we different yes.

    • Ok Lance and Danny. I’m going to try this one last time. I recognize that sometimes people are so passionate about a particular view that when someone tries to offer a dispassionate opinion the gist of it is lost. Rowley departed from his talk about the virtues of the budget and stated. ” And I say to you the citizens here in Laventille and elswhere in the rest of the country. …” etc. I’m not saying Laventille people are different from the rest of us. I’m saying that Rowley made the separation. Now it may have been because he was speaking in Laventille. But because Laventille has been traditonally pilloried over the years for being over dependent on the government, to me that was uncalled for in his speech. In fact he took what was an overall uplifting discussion and literally gave the media fodder. And Lance if the PM was not referencing you and I when he spoke about dependence on the government, pray tell who was he throwing those words for?? The man said …”I say to YOU”. So guys there is no need to start going off on a sanctimonious tangent about slavery etc. because of my interpretation of what Rowley said. That’s all this is.

    • Good save Rose-Marie Ingrid Lemessy-Forde, I think I understood your intentions, but you must admit that your statement is open to interpretations. And also Laventille, my Laventille, has a much longer list of sensitivities than you accounted for.

    • Danny I’m glad you finally understood what I was saying. My writing “Laventille people and then the rest of us” was a quick attempt to paraphrase Rowley. I assumed people on this thread actually listened attentively to what Rowley said. Maybe your closeness to “your Laventille” made you read more into what I wrote. The first time I had a quick listen to the speech I too assumed he was referencing businessmen and contractors who have come to expect largesse from the government in terms of contracts. But right after he berated that group and he dissed economists for criticizing the lack of “srimulus” in the budget, he made a point of directing his now infamous comments to “the people of Laventille and elswhere in the wider community”. This I thought was his biggest mistake in the speech because if he had left out those words people could rightly assume he was directing his statement about “doing things differently” to the same business and contractor community. I’m still a little baffled that people like Lance who I hope listened to the speech more than once, are not getting this point. And Danny I wasn’t trying to account for any sensitivities in Laventille people. I was simply stating facts. And it is true that the general public has long held certain negative views about the Laventille community. I’m not speaking from a personal perspective..just to be clear. I dont want you misconstruing my last statement.

    • How ironic that people are talking about others not paying attention to the entire video when clearly they didn’t do so themselves.
      Really, Wired868 was always meant for independent thinkers who are willing to tussle with fresh ideas and perspective. People just have to know if that sounds like something they can manage or not.

  18. Out of curiosity I looked at the 24 minute video at the end of the letter which took a particular slant about the information shared in the 22 second clip and was astonished!!! Did the letter writer take time to listen to the context of the speech? Was there nothing of value said to the people of Laventille in those 24 minutes that needed to be highlighted? Where are we heading as a nation when selective sound bytes are excerpted to manage our opinions and we replay those repeatedly without going to the source? Let us do a bit more research and get the back stories please people.

    • carol sometimes one word could spoil an entire speech if a guy tells u he loves u a million times and cuss your mother once DAT one instance will register on your mind so what comes out of your us wat makes u lady

    • That is true and politicians have to make every effort to avoid such mine fields. However, when the context of the speech was the development of a special community that people beat up on continuously, many sound bytes could also have been used to engage others in solution finding.

  19. Since when underwear is restricted to just panties. The name suggests just that, it could be bras, whole or half slips,garter belts, waist clinchers,camisoles among others.

  20. I’ve never considered putting a statement in context as “spin”. I encourage everyone to listen to what went before and after the 30 seconds featured. It’s on the Office of the Prime Minister Facebook as well as YouTube.

  21. This man does not understand the job of a gov t that is their duty he looks stupid in the eyes of other leaders

  22. Many of our so called journalists and interviewers are lazy and biased. They deserve a good dressing down ever so often. That being said many of our politicians are arrogant and feel that they are entitled. Arrogance and entitlement I can handle. Is not like its new. The past five years of wastage and thievery, that was too much.

  23. This country will get nowhere. Granted that there is no definite proof, it is noteworthy which ethnic group is spewing the most venom. So very sad.

    • Have you seen today’s news in the USA a teacher was sacked because she said Mrs Michelle Obama is a Gorilla? We need this type of measurement in TNT. The citizens of my country are very disrespectful especially to those in authority. SMDH

    • Wait …. this from people who called KPB a drunk? And who continue to call our Prez “Powers”?
      Who are the disrespectful ones? They are following on from what happened over the last five years!!!

  24. Thats like Hillary calling the people of America who suports Trump..Deplorables…that is how Politicins the world over see us…time for change Mr Rowley….Time we demand you step down as our PM….as our Freeloadind PM…

  25. Was the PM talking to these people too…steups yes. I keep saying this is not a real country nah

  26. That is why he’s into Politics for so long…Freeloading on the people of T&T…shameless…

  27. Rowley needs to resign. He lied on the platform in 2015.

  28. But Rowley living for FREE…he doh have to pay for nuttin…this must change…he gets a salary…so why he should be living FREE at our expense….