People and economist are saying that Trinidad and Tobago is living beyond its means and that is contributing to the drain on foreign exchange in the country. This was no doubt made worse in the short term by the flood of back-pay to public servants. Also, our spending habits such as buying too many cars and flooding “skyboxes” with goodies all year round is no doubt a big drain but I can say from observation that the forex drain from buying imported cars far outweigh the purchases via individuals’ skyboxes.
But the real cause of this drain is too much disposal income due to heavily subsidized basic needs such as water, electricity, prescription medicine, gasoline, laptops, GATE and canned foods. If we were to pay a less subsidized portion of these items then there would be less money to make the unimaginative big time importers of everything even less imaginative and innovative. The motto of these companies seems to be “just bring it down and it will sell.”
Everyday you see oil prices sliding downhill worse than Jack Warner’s reputation. Everyday you see countless ads urging us to buy in order to be happy. Banks, a big beneficiary of the big disposable incomes due to big government subsidies, are all too willing to make it happen with a loan of your choice. The Minister of Finance hinted that they are concerned with how the reduction in government subsidies will affect the most vulnerable. The most vulnerable has always been the politicians’ pet and best friend so it is always in political parties interest to have as many most-vulnerable as they can create as democracy is one man one vote.
I am anxious for the elections to be over with and I do not envy the next party in power as something drastic will have to be done quickly to prevent our thin-walled economic bubble from bursting. Sink or swim, Kamla or Rowley, I want this thing called General Elections to be over so we can pay attention to the more serious things in life like the economy and how much de Government goe give we.
Clever Packaging of Fast Food
Trinidad and Tobago is a frustrating country to live in not only because the police service can be selectively incompetent so as to intentionally start unrest but the population gets constant mixed signals from the authorities. On one hand foreign fast food franchises are government-encouraged and causing traffic all over the place while on the other the Minister of Health accuses citizens of being too fat and unhealthy from fast foods thus becoming a drain on the treasury. Not a big drain as kickbacks paid over the years to politicians and their friends but a drain on the public purse by the public is always looked upon with the highest disgust by holders of high office.
Hot cross bun
Yes, we as a country need food and jobs but it seems we are doing this at the expense of our health and foreign exchange. We are a bad food society and the lines of people buying fried food and chips at locations nationwide will always vastly outnumber the amount of people lining up to greet any former political hero on his or her way to buy something down town. I can sympathize with the Minister of Health’s frustration as citizens always complain about the level of health care available while lounging on a couch, enjoying KFC and a massive Pepsi backed up with a current roll without raisins.
Despite high taxes on cigarettes and alcohol, these companies are immensely profitable due to the addictive nature of their products and the foolish people who buy them. It is no different with fried food with salt. High taxes are never a deterrent with addictions and taxing bad food to pay for dialysis seems as foolish as giving crooks access to the treasury and depending on integrity laws to keep them honest.
We need to take our lives in our own hands and fight the attraction of these toxic substances being sold for high profit and packed in cleverly designed fast food boxes and brown paper bags. Saying no to bad food will benefit the economy and the happiness index of the country. The turning of our collective backs on bad foods will start a good food revolution and also force doctors into more productive and humanitarian professions such as farming and engineering. It will be a win win situation.
The Government’s newly launched Colour Me Orange crime and poverty reduction project has a good chance of turning into something called Colour Me Bloody Orange crime escalation and poverty reduction by forced population elimination scheme as there is now every indication this has the makings of a war – first the big stones in the car park then the guns in the streets. What might appear to be a simple weeding job to the casual observer may end up being a weeding out exercise, with the principle being dead men don’t work, though some do get paid. It is true the PP Government is trying to reduce the amount of gold chain snatching and muggings taking place for the season of good will and joy but Colour Me Orange seems like throwing gasoline in the fire where crime is concerned.
The Opposition’s greatest fear is the Project will buy the Government support while that is the Government’s greatest wish. I suppose Government’s policy is to manage gangs rather than eliminate the need for them. Maybe Government has seen the benefits of being in a gang and want to become the leader of the Orange gang, the most feared and ruthless gang since the last Government gang. But every cloud has a silver lining so I decided, in the interest of my economy, to become a community leader and will be accepting members into my gang. All members must be willing to fear me while looking menacing to the general public. Once we, the aka_lol Gang, are deemed to be both a threat to national security and a lost cause we too will qualify for some Orange. it is either that or we continue to perish in traffic and continue our careers as lowly, unappreciated, completely-ignored -until-we-miss-a-tax-payment taxpayers.
If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man ~ Mark Twain
Pleasure Unleashed at $1,000 a pop in Trinidad and Tobago
The old saying was “Carnival is colour and colour is Kodak” but all that has changed. Now, the new saying in Trinidad and Tobago is “Carnival is pleasure and pleasure is expensive.” Yes, pleasure has a price and sometimes it’s $1,000 per person in Maraval. To be fair, it is an all inclusive event meaning it’s all you can eat, all you can drink and all you can wine between the hours of 2 and 9. But the question is how much can one man or woman eat, drink and wine without getting sick or creating a bad impression in the minds of the ones who did not get too drunk to forget. Yesterday was the first time I had the opportunity to actually see expensive Carnival fete tickets so I had to take a photo and blog for the world to see. At these prices I was expecting the tickets to be the size of on iPad but unfortunately they were regulation size tickets or even smaller, probably in an attempt so as to maximize profits. I wonder if fete promoters pay taxes or if the police will be waiting for those fete-intoxicated drivers? On the positive side, these fetes do bring in foreign exchange as these two tickets were bought with a foreign credit card by a foreigner as I am sure many tickets to Carnival fetes were.
The mood of a country
The culture of a country is not only found in the country’s song, dance and shark and bake but also in the full-page ads in the newspapers. In studying the culture of a country most anthropologists and space aliens listen to the drums but miss the real beat drummed out by ad agencies via full-page ads. Some say the newspaper headlines tell the story of a country but as this task of headline creation is usually given to the accountant or janitor at most daily newspapers, headlines can be misleading. Since the cost of one full-page color ad is almost equal to or more than the yearly salary of many workers and public servants in Trinidad and Tobago, it must never be taken lightly. These ads sometimes show, in a subtle way, who are the real power brokers in a country thus who are pulling the strings.
Since there is much to learn from full-page ads this blog decided to take some photos of some of these ads appearing in the daily newspapers over the last few days to document the Carnival season for 2011 and by extension, the mindset of our happy country.
RBTT lies to customers
RBTT, or is it RBC, is what most customers call the new Public Service and in Trinidad and Tobago this says a lot. By that I mean it is not an organization that cares about its customers. This is why RBTT decided to shut down its electronic banking system over a weekend and as if it wanted to make the public service look good, the disrespectful bank also lied to customers. When I say lie I mean put out an ad saying it was shutting its electronic banking service and in bold say ONLY AT WITHDRAWALS WILL BE AVAILABLE AT THIS TIME. That was and is a lie. Most customers were unable to access cash from ANY AMB since Saturday evening and this was still so on Sunday morning. Maybe somebody high up at RBTT is being fed bullshit by the incompetent RBTT IT people just as the AG was fed crap by his investigators. I again say, somebody at RBTT has to be fired for this continuing indifference to customers.
Proof of RBTT's flair for lies
Maybe people were fired the last time a huge fiasco occurred but the public needs to know that the bank is getting rid of its incompetence. To correct this continuing incompetence and indifference by RBTT to customers, people need to show the bank who has the power. Money talks but money also walks.