PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC – Prime Minister Patrick Manning Tuesday unveiled his 20-20 vision for Trinidad and Tobago while challenging the opposition to come with a clear and definitive plan for the development of the twin-island republic over the next five years.
“We want to hear from the other side not just generalisations and statement of intent but some plan which can measure up to what we present today. Unfortunately so far, the people have no idea of what they are going to do except rise,” said Manning in a play on the United National Congress (UNC)-led opposition coalition’s slogan of “We Will Rise”.
On the contrary Manning, who spoke during the official launch of the ruling People’s National Movement (PNM) 62 -page manifesto document entitled “Caring About You Today and Tomorrow” ahead of the May 24 general election, boasted that his party had a clear vision for the country.
“Our record speaks for itself and we are of the view that no other government except a PNM government in the history of Trinidad and Tobago has been able to achieve so much in such a relatively short space of time.
“As we continue the transformation of Trinidad and Tobago into a developed country and development the concomitant capacities and capabilities of our people, it is with appropriate respect and understanding that we recognise how much more needs to be done to realise our goal of developed nation status by 2020 and to create the just and caring society that the people of Trinidad and Tobago are capable of,” said Manning in the forward to his party’s election document.
During the official launch, he also reiterated to the audience that included several top officials of his administration and party supporters that he intended to make Trinidad and Tobago a fully developed country by 2020.
Manning also expressed confidence that his party would be given its fourth consecutive mandate by the electorate to continue governing the oil rich Caribbean country.
The vision outlined by the political leader not only calls for a sustained programme that ensures “education is free from ABC to PHD” but also promised better care of the elderly.
“We shall meet the cost of property tax payment for all citizens who receive public assistance grants, the disability grants, the senior citizens grants and the conditional cash transfer card and at a later date we shall consider how to treat with the property payment for retirees 60 years and over who receive an annual income of TT$60,000 (US$10,000) a year or less.
“This my dear friends is the caring that has always characterised governments of the People’s National Movement and as our manifesto reveals this care will continue after May 25,” said Manning, who also promised that his new term would see to massive transformation in agriculture.
The Prime Minister went further to suggest that there would be food security in Trinidad and Tobago even as his government proceeds with a strong industrialisation policy.
The government is promising to develop a US$2.5 billion gas project878, a US$1.2 billion petro chemical facility and a US$1.2 billion iron steel and alumina smelter complex.
A fourth term PNM administration will also focus on seven new targeted areas for development including fish and fish processing, yachting, film, food and beverage, entertainment and aircraft maintenance.
While boasting of its record of leadership over the last eight years, The PNM also pledge to ensure that Trinidad and Tobago does not only have the dominant regional stock exchange in the Caribbean, but an international financial centre.
Manning also reiterated plans for the construction of six new highways and a rapid rail system as part of the programme to revolutionise the public transport system.
The manifesto outlines development plans in other key areas such as crime and security, housing, tourism, justice and Local Government reform.