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posted 11 Nov 2013, 07:15 by Gerry Kangalee

by Gerry Kangalee

It is time that working people and the poor stop getting distracted by the stupidness that passes for politics in this country and focus on the facts that our standard of living and quality of life are being made worse and worse as time passes.

Real money is passing through this country, so much so, that the government has to issue billion dollar bonds to soak up the excess liquidity in the system arising from money laundering, the cocaine trade, real estate speculation and the refusal or inability of the parasitic business elite to invest in areas that would add value to the productive capacity of the country.

While we skin and grin at the latest foolishness coming out of the mouths of buffoons and confidence tricksters calling themselves politicians, inequality of income distribution is increasing; health and education is in a state of chaos; growing unemployment is being masked by OJT, CEPEP and other mek wuk programmes, personal security is at an all time low.

The vast majority of the labour force is unorganised and has little protection against the vicious exploitation of their employers who do not seem to realise that slavery ended in 1838. The unionised sector of the workforce is under serious and sustained attack designed to crush the trade unions in order that the kakada that the working class now receives from the national income pie will be further reduced and end up in the pockets of the capitalists.

We saw the massive assault on the workers of Trinidad Cement, where dozens of workers were dismissed, including union branch representatives. We saw this pattern being repeated at National Petroleum where sixty eight workers were dismissed in one shot, including all the union representatives. Now Carib/McAL has gleefully stormed the dance and has fired four workers, including three shop stewards.

It is clear that the operatives of the employers on the industrial relations front are smelling blood; they are sensing that the trade unions are not as strong as they should be (to put it mildly) and they are throwing knock out punches.

While trade unions are scrambling to come to terms with the renewed strength and confidence of the employers, the State is raising the ante on the economic front by speeding up the handing over of state assets built up with public funds (your money and mine).

Minister of Finance Larry Howai, on November 6th 2013, in a speech to the Trinidad & Tobago Coalition of Services Industries stated: “The re-vitalization of the Trinidad & Tobago Stock Exchange (“TTSE”) is critical to achieving our objective of a vibrant and efficient capital market. To this end, it is my intention to double the number of companies listed on the over (36) within the next five (5) years…the Government has decided to play a leading role in this initiative.”

What is interesting here is that the government sees it as its responsibility to “revitalize” the capital market by handing over public assets, our assets, to those who already control a large chunk of the economic assets of the country, while overfed capitalists dribble and drool over the prospect of fattening themselves further, without taking the risk of putting their assets on the stock exchange.

Yet these same parasites mumble dotish clichés about free enterprise; that the government should not be involved in economic activity; that they are the engine of economic developments, when they full well know that the preservation and further accumulation of their ill-gotten gains are in large part dependent on government handouts, subsidies and access to foreign exchange they had no part in sourcing. And they have the brass face to accuse working people and the poor of suffering from dependency syndrome!

In the same speech cited above Howai said the government is going to set up an investment vehicle which would hold and list the shares on the stock exchange that the National Gas Company (NGC) has in Phoenix Park Gas Processors. Reports claim that when the parasitic financial gangsters got the news they began to wine up and misbehave. They realized that it wouldn’t be long before they got their claws on NGC, the jewel in the crown of public assets, with its $18 billion in assets and its $4billion dollars in profit.

Howai further confirmed that The Trinidad and Tobago Mortgage Bank would be listed on the stock exchange as has been stated on numerous occasions. He further stated: “Several other state enterprises which require strategic investors such as the Vehicle Maintenance Company of Trinidad and Tobago, the National Helicopter Services Limited, the National Flour Mills Limited and the Point Lisas Industrial Port Development Limited have also been identified as possible listings.”

So here we have it. The media have us eagerly following the intrigues, scheming and manoeuvrings of the different gangs of confidence tricksters and hustlers known as political parties although which party ends up in government; which party controls which regional corporation has no bearing on the material conditions of existence of working people and the poor.

But where is the focus on the activities that will have a profound effect on our ability to enjoy a decent, civilised lifestyle, to mind our children, nourish and educate them properly? Let us have no illusions about it: the attack on the trade union movement; the accelerated effort to privatise everything in sight is going to lower the standard of living, destroy the quality of life and reduce the ability of working people and the poor to satisfy our interests, regardless of whether we are unionised or not.