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posted 9 Jan 2018, 10:10 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 9 Jan 2018, 10:11 ]

Keston K. Perry
The Prime Minister announced a National Investment Fund that will basically constitute the proceeds from the sale of CLICO assets. The approximate $23 Billion (though some analysts determine it is more) of public money that had been put into this Private Company will be akin to a holding company.

My understanding is that it will be where private investors, mainly high income and upper middle income earners, can buy units that would be denominated so that investors earn interest and other rewards on their investment. Contrary to the Prime Minister's statement, regular working people cannot afford to invest and do not have the surplus income so to do. So they will lose out and those with means and political connections will gain more wealth.

What the government has proposed (that I think should be resisted forcefully) is basically taking monies once owned collectively by all of us to be transferred to a few rich and upper middle income people who can afford and get rich on this fund. I think this is an obscene travesty.

Redirecting these funds in this manner is not a useful or long term approach to investment that has any chance to spur diversification. Public ownership of those funds is the ONLY guarantee that any redistribution of wealth will occur so that the labouring and working class people may benefit; even though I am skeptical, given the modus operandi and ethos of this government to be aligned closely to a few members of the upper class.

The government has also not outlined any transformative public investment strategy that will redound to citizens' collective benefit now and the future.

Some are engaging in certain bourgeois technical and procedural discussion that is of no use to the collective citizenry. They say that investing in state enterprises is wasteful, leads to corruption and ineffective decisions. This argument is flawed on many levels, not least of which it sets up state enterprises as a bogeyman without appropriate evaluation on their own terms of why they may perform poorly.

Many were happy with the de facto nationalisation of Clico with state agents effectively running it over 8 years, but now are saying the state should not hold it in trust or invest the monies on behalf of citizens in transformative diversification projects and collective public goods. This blatant hypocrisy has to be called out.

We should not hold out this fig leaf from an anti-democratic elite to decide that these public monies should be transferred to their party financiers. We should resist this action immediately and forcefully. While the people elected the PNM to address a challenging economic situation, we did not do so for them to transfer monies to party hacks and the 1 per cent. It is an undemocratic move that should be staunchly opposed.