Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler has advised the leader of the newly-elected People’s National Movement (PNM) government in Trinidad and Tobago Dr Keith Rowley that there is no magic wand that will fix the issues currently facing that country.
While congratulating Dr Rowley on his victory in yesterday’s polls in which the PNM captured 23 of the 41 available seats, Sinckler pointed to low oil prices, acknowledging that a lot of readjustments to policies in the oil-rich nation might be necessary in order to help grow the economy.
“It is a challenging period and we have difficulties to deal with,” said Sinckler.
He explained that while the previous administration would have planned based on oil prices that we over US$100 a barrel, among other things, Sinckler said he believed the new government would have to do some changes.
“There are factors that are beyond our control that impact us very heavily and can cause major disruption in our economic plans but we have to adjust, and sometimes those adjustments may not necessarily be painless. In fact, they may cause discomfort. But in order to keep things stable, in order to keep yourself on the playing field so that when things pick back up you are able to, as they say in cricket, play your shots, then you have to do those things to ensure that you keep your economy and society together.
“That is the object lesson for anybody, those who are in government and those who are out of government. There is no easy magic wand way out of the issues we are facing particularly when some of those issues are deeply structural,” said Sinckler.
For his part, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, the chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), welcomed Dr Rowley to the 15-nation grouping. He added that Trinidad was a strategic partner in the region and Barbados was looking forward to deepening its bilateral relations with Port of Spain.
“My Government is confident that we can further strengthen the bonds of friendship and partnership that we share. We look forward to exploring new avenues for collaboration to enhance the socio-economic development and prosperity of our two nations and the region as a whole in these challenging times.
“I anticipate that the schedule of events at the international level in the coming months will afford us the opportunity to engage in an initial dialogue on a range of matters of mutual interest.” (MM)