UPDATE: 31th October 2010 @ 12:52 p.m - Tobago and Grenada remains under a Tropical Storm Warning
FROM The Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Services
Date: Sunday 31st of October 2010 ISSUED AT:12:52PM FLOOD POSSIBILITY EXISTS FOR TOBAGO AND NORTHERN AND EASTERN TRINIDAD. Over the past twelve (12) hours, Tobago and specifically Northern and Eastern parts of Trinidad, experienced prolonged periods of rainfall, some of which were heavy and accompanied by gusty winds. The feeder band into Tomas remains over both islands and while satellite and radar imagery show some degree of weakening there are still few areas of intense convection in the vicinity of Tobago that can produce additional rainfall. Grounds are waterlogged in the above mentioned areas and with surface runoff there is the possibility of further flooding to those regions already inundated. There have also been reports of landslides in eastern parts of Tobago. Trinidad but more so Tobago will continue to see some periods of light rain and/or showers and the isolated thundershower with improvement to more settled conditions as the day progresses.
October 29th 2010
A vigorous tropical wave is approaching Trinidad and Tobago and it has a 80% chance of turning into a tropical storm in 48 hours. This doesn’t look good for a population that had to put up with extremely bad weather for the rainy season and continues to weather the Clico financial crisis with desperate threats from formerly-rich policyholders. The 6:25 am bulletin from the Met Services states “The leading periphery of the wave should begin affecting Trinidad and Tobago during the late afternoon/evening. Moderate to heavy showers can be expected along with isolated thundershowers capable of producing 1 to 2 inches of rainfall. These downpours can yield moderate to severe street or flash flooding and strong bursts of gusts in excess of 50kmh.
As the wave continues to intensify and move closer to Trinidad and Tobago showery activity can yield 3 to 4 inches and possibly 5 to 6 inches from early Saturday into Sunday. Wind speeds with gusts in excess of 55kmh are likely.”
You can check for updates here: Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Services
When this system turns into a storm it will be called Tropical Storm Tomas
This severe weather may put a damper on Halloween Celebrations this year as the system has a good chance of intensifying into a tropical depression and then storm before the first withch’s mini-skirt is hemmed even shorter.
May the storm veer north even more.
The public has the impression that the Clico Policyholders Group (CPG), comprising a small percentage of the population of Trinidad and Tobago, is trying to flex its hot-air inflated muscle to bully the rest of the citizens of the country to get back all the toys it freely loaned to Clico to play with plus some extra ones. The public also feels the CPG, in its desperation, contracted an unpopular, unloved lawyer to deliver bully-talk to the population. The Group appears to be trying to terrorize billions in lunch money out of the pockets of people who either didn’t have the money or intelligence to give the Clico dice throwers to gamble with. The Group must understand that despite some policy holders falling on hard times because of the fiasco, the unemployed, the sick, the hungry, the over taxed, and the corruption-battered don’t want to be sacrificed to make the policyholders happy during this extended guava season.
I don’t think all is lost for the CPG as some of the most brilliant business minds in the land, who are also policyholders and members of the CPG, have issued press releases which conjure up the image the bailout won’t cost citizens anything “much.” It’s not that the Group will not be bailed out but the Group seems to want its black cake baked with the finest imported, dried fruits and soaked with Angostura Single Barrel Rum, all at the expense of the country whose citizens will have to settle for the crumbs of a stale Kiss cake. That is what the public is seeing.
The gasoline and diesel subsidy in Trinidad and Tobago will be about $TT2.7 billion this year and the Government is looking at ways of reducing this subsidy, probably to reduce the national debt, and to pay off rich Clico investors who are itching to use their funds to buy more houses in Florida. The Government is proposing to reduce the fuel subsidy by encouraging the use of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) once again. Personally, I think this is another pie-in-the-sky plan since CNG has failed to take off in Trinidad and Tobago every time a ruling regime tries to reintroduce its use despite the enormous potential for corruption in its implementation.
If the Government wants to reduce the fuel subsidy there are simpler and less corrupt ways to do it and those ways simply mean people should wake up and smell the lotus flower and drive smart. Driving smart will reduce fuel consumption which means less fuel to subsidize. To drive smart you only need to observe some simple guidelines as follows:
- Don’t drive aggressively or like an idiot. Accelerate slowly even in traffic and never cross the speed limit unless the perfect opportunity to tailgate a speeding ambulance arises. Some say you can improve your gas mileage by as much as 30% by following this rule. You will also be less likely to kill innocent people due to your natural born stupidity.
- Remove excess weight. This would mean not only to encourage your passengers to lose 50 pounds apiece but also the removal of things you mindlessly carry around in the trunk like Tiger Woods autographed golf clubs, wet Speedo swimming trunks and bikinis, crates of bananas, and scaffolding removed from the Gunapo Church site. Depending on the amount of weight you shed, you can improve mileage by 1 or even 2 percent.
- Avoid excessive idling. This would be near impossible if you are into URP, CEPEP, or work at any Government Office that interfaces with the public but every little reduction in idle time will help the economy.
- Buy cars with good fuel economy like the Toyota Corolla with a 1.5 cc VVT engine or the Honda Civic with a 1.6 cc iVTEC engine. There are many other cars with good fuel economy on the market locally but try to avoid those foreign-used cars since most dealers are not honest but have a talent for selling Eskimos ice and politicians corruption. Their public image of honesty can be very deceptive.
- Japanese Prius sales take a slide (businessgreen.com)
- Fossil-Fuel Subsidies Still Dominate (tnr.com)
- Fossil fuel subsidies “dwarf” support for renewables (businessgreen.com)
- Fossil fuel subsidies are 10 times those of renewables, figures show (jamblemag.com)
- Japan’s green-car subsidy comes to a halt; sales of subcompacts dip 12.2% (green.autoblog.com)
If a Clico Insurance Agent calls today I would be polite and tell him to sell for another company. What will the Clico Insurance Agent offer customers? Will Agents say how many years Clico was in business before collapsing? Will Agents promise customers peace of mind, stability, security and Government backing? Can the Government appointed Board inspire customer confidence? Will Clico be run like the hospitals or the Ministry of Works? Can Agents promise it won’t?
The Clico Insurance Agent has almost nothing to offer customers other than the past misdeeds of the previous owners. Owners who gambled with people’s pensions and savings. Owners who should be investigated by the police. How can anything on Clico’s website have any importance to today’s buyer. The website is only a piece of history and has nothing to do with the new Government sponsored company. People cannot base any future business on Clico’s boast of the past. On Clico’s website one requirement for potential Insurance Agents is “The Candidate should be free from personal financial problems.” This sounds like a sick joke.
Maybe in a recession people buy more insurance because people think more about suicide and insurance with Clico has a suicidal feel about it. If Clico cannot generate new business would the existing investors and pension fund holders suffer? I don’t know the answers and I am not willing to gamble my money to find out.
Yesterday’s Newsday carried an article which claimed that almost $TT 3 million was spent on drapes for the Prime Minister’s mansion. The title of the article was Manning’s $3M drapes but I felt it should have read Curtains for Patrick. It could be three million for drapes is a steal of a deal in China but in Trinidad and Tobago it seems a little too much. Drapes weren’t the only thing the population paid for but also furniture and bedclothes at $ 7 million. What I had the biggest problem with was the not the drapes, the king size bed or even the $6, 400 nightstands but with the pillow cases at $158 each. I, like nearly all the population, would want the Prime Minister to sleep well but not that well and with my money under his head.
To be fair to the PM, these expenses were incurred at the height of the economic boom and his ego. These spending facts are probably only the tip of the iceberg and it’s only a matter of time before everyone knows how much the executive at UDECOTT is being paid to be inefficient but not corrupt. The economic crunch is just starting to hit Trinidad and Tobago and foreign exchange is already in very short supply. Trinidad and Tobago is very foreign exchange dependent with all these nonproductive mega projects still being paid for in US dollars. Very soon foreign exchange control will be introduced to maintain a reasonable rate with apples and grapes being banned again. Without foreign exchange available to the common man the standard of life in Trinidad and Tobago will be different. People will start to complain as certain foreign items like powdered milk and SUV tires become scarce. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is soon a call by those pretentious Trade Unions and other opportunist to shut the country down for a few days like was done in Guadeloupe recently.
Belt tightening will be forced on the people but to hear it coming from a person as wasteful and insensitive as our Prime Minister just adds fuel to the fire. But if I was the PM I wouldn’t worry too much and Kevin Baldeosingh explained why in his Calypso Critique article. This recession doesn’t look like it will go away anytime soon and with billions of tax payers’ dollars going to the CL Financial bailout there will be less available to quiet the people. If only the Government had some shares to sell…
Could the failure of the Trinidad and Tobago conglomerate CL Financial, the largest financial group in the Caribbean, be the tip of the financial crisis in Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean? Is the financial Titanic about to hit? If citizens are asking what the country would be getting for the multibillion dollar Government bailout of CL the answer would be a financial system which has not collapsed. If people are asking why no beefed-up laws were passed to regulate CL Financial when the Central Bank became concerned about their high risk ventures since 2004, the answer would be who knows.
The worst thing a financial institution and system could experience is a run. No financial system could endure a run by its depositors for very long since runs are to banks what silver bullets are to werewolves. Financial systems survive on confidence and the lack of confidence can move from one institution to the next easily like a forest fire in the wind. In the financial world the strong usually pays for the sins of the weak. As ludicrous as it seems right now, the best thing the public could do is be concerned but party. People should leave the financial institutions alone and let the regulators do what has to be done. This is one time where don’t worry be happy might work. The other banks in Trinidad and Tobago are stable and we were told the others never went into those high-risk ventures that CL Financial was prone to undertake. The problem with high-risk financial institutions is that most of the people who invested in them were ignorant to how high risk the ventures were and made the decision to invest based on a glossy brochure an/or an insurance agent – the two least credible sources of the truth.
For Trinidad and Tobago’s and the Caribbean’s sake I hope the valuable assets of CL Financial prove to be valuable. Maybe this is the right time for cash-rich China to step in and acquire a part of Trinidad and Tobago at fire sale prices. Or maybe they will wait for it to burn a little bit more.