Trinidad and Tobago foreign exchnage woes – the real reason for the shortage


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.

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The Latest Cigarette Advertisement in Trinidad and Tobago


Cigarette Advertising in Trinidad and Tobago

Cigarette Advertising in Trinidad and Tobago

According to the Ministry of Health’s website:

17. Does the Tobacco Control Act really prohibit advertising? Under which circumstances is advertising of tobacco products allowed?

Indeed, the Tobacco Control Act has placed prohibitions against advertising.

There are, however, some limitations to the prohibitions:

A person may advertise a tobacco product by information advertising or brand preference advertising by way of:

a. A publication that is provided by mail and addressed to an adult smoker who is identified by name.

b. A publication that has an adult readership of not less than eighty –five per cent (85%)

c. Signs in a place where children (under 18 years) are not permitted by law.

Please note that these allowances do not apply to lifestyle advertising* or advertising that could be construed on reasonable grounds to be appealing to children.

The loophole which the eager-for-revenue local newspaper people might use in carrying this cigarette ad is that children don’t read much anymore and children see newspapers as a legacy product waiting to become extinct.

I, an adult by age, was drawn to this ad and my initial reaction was “so cheap.” No doubt this latest salvo by a clever company had more than the bland informational effect it was supposed to theoretically have. I almost had the urge to run down to the nearest dealer and start my addiction while I still had a few extra dollars. Though cigarettes are at the top of the list of addictions that will quite likely kill you in several ways, so to does alcohol, fried chicken, corn curls, cell phones, fast cars, promiscuous shapely women and political parties.

I don’t think this cigarette newspaper ad was necessary and it was in very poor taste. All that was needed was the dealers carry a pamphlet with the new prices which informs the addicted why they are paying more for their own tragic demise. Why should the nonsmoker also  have to know about the latest price increase while being tempted to look cool with minty breath? Greed for increased profits at the expense of human life is usually the answer.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

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Shanghai Construction takes in front


Shanghai Construction Group takes in front and welcomes the new Prime Minister

Shanghai Construction Group takes in front and welcomes the new Prime Minister

Shanghai Construction, builders of the Guanapo Church, has taken the lead by placing nothing less than a full-page ad in the Trinidad Guardian to congratulate, or is it welcome, the new Prime Minister. It stresses, with as much tact as a supposedly guilty company could muster, that it is a Chinese Government State Company and wants to maintain good relationships with the people of this beautiful country and not necessarily only the beautiful people of this country. I suppose they, the Chinese Government, want to make it known that they want to be left alone and in peace or else. It is a classic case of my Government is bigger that your Government and richer too. We will see how this plays out because there are few hundred thousand people in the country who want to know the truth and nothing but the truth about the past. It is not about vengeance but about setting the right example for citizens of this beautiful country.

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Icelandic Volcano batters the Caribbean and the World


An aerial photo shows smoke rising from the volcano under a glacier in the Eyjafjallajokull region of Iceland, on Wednesday, April 14, 2010. European air traffic from Scotland to Scandinavia and the Netherlands was disrupted by volcanic ash spreading from Iceland, shutting airports and prompting British Airways Plc to suspend all domestic flights. Photographer: Arni Saeberg /Bloomberg

Just imagine, one volcanic eruption in an island country as unnoticeable as Iceland has the potential to send the economies of European countries in a tailspin and by extension the World. Nearly all air traffic over Europe has been at a standstill since last Friday with its predictable resumption days, weeks, or even months away. This one volcanic eruption, spewing supposedly aircraft-unfriendly ash, has changed the world temporarily or even permanently. Some may doubt it but the effects of this uncertain flight disruption, now and in the future, will not only bankrupt many airlines but people. Even if flights were to resume in a day or two the European tourist market will shrink due to the unpredictability of traveling to and from Europe, rendering penniless many small businesses that depend on air cargo and travelers.

The economies of many tourism-dependant Caribbean nations will be devastated even more than it already is if travel to and from Europe declines, and it will. I think these Caribbean countries should start to market more in North America, South America, and even China, Japan, Australia, Malaysia and forget Europe for now. The economies of scale has prevented the people of these Caribbean islands from being anything more than a people who have to wait on others to make ends meet and have their tiny island dreams come true.

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Trinidad and Tobago – Running on Empty


I yawned last night when the news on all local TV stations reported that the police, famous for being loyal to our incorruptible leader, raided UDeCOTT offices, Sunway International’s offices and the home of Calder Hart, possibly looking for remnants of The Treasury. They did this after months of intense investigations – the AG claimed the investigations started since September last year but it appears nothing was done until the suspect fled the country maybe on a tipoff from one in the know. From what I saw on TV, the investigators wore shirt jack suits and detained some Dell and Lenovo PCs, a few external hard drives and laptops probably sporting quad and dual core processors. The police will probably find nothing but some local and foreign pornographic photos, a few good Malaysian jokes, family photos of long lost relatives and very little about churches or bank accounts. Even I don’t leave that kind of thing lying around my hard drive.

This raid was very entertaining and caused the press and print media to squeeze as much mileage from the recent government orchestrated stage show featuring loyal supporters of the God of the Government. The media however missed the most important piece of news to affect Trinidad and Tobago now and way into the future and that news is the money done. This report was pushed to page 10 of the Trinidad Express which says “BPTT Head: Natural Gas boom over.” Now, if a man like BPTT’s current head can face reality for a change and tell the public there will be no more easy money and we in Trinidad and Tobago must start to actually produce things the world wants  besides gas, oil and Chubby sweet drink, then things must be really bad. The Government knows this and many sensible people also know that the chances of getting their money from any failed insurance companies are getting dimmer by the second despite a bankrupt Government’s guarantee.

All these non-productive Port of Spain cosmetic projects, including the billion-dollar-fiasco-summits, have finally taken its toll on the country and all the money ain’t even done pass yet. The freeloaders appointed to cabinet are shaking in their shoes trying to justify their existence to the Prime Minister by nodding after every sentence the man utters, even when he is in a heightened state of delusion. I guess they must be suffering from his delusion as well.  A snap election is inevitable as more news of suspected financial wrongdoings is leaked to the public. Those contractors who had the foresight to milk the country dry before the downturn must be commended for their clear vision of the future. Hopefully they were smart enough to change their money into US dollars and bank it in Miami before our TT dollar floats away. I also hope they found the time and took those well-deserved European vacations. Hopefully, Citizens finally realize that God is not a Trini and he is extending the drought,  and WASA’s and UDeCOTT’s officials tenure just to prove this point.

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Hurricane Season Predictions 2010


An active Atlantic hurricane season is predicted for 2010 but this might not translate into productive rainfall for Trinidad and Tobago which will cause WASA, a proactive organization, to prepare a future press release claiming that though the country is constantly under flood water, the dams are still dangerously low so the country will have to invest billions on energy-hungry, corruption-resistant desalination plants which will feed those water leaks that will be maintained for  both cultural and financial reasons.

On the bright side, the drought of 2010 has Trinidad looking more and more like the Prime Minister – destroyed via stupidity. As part of the country’s 2020 vision for the Hurricane Season, more of Trinidad and Tobago will be under mud when it rains because citizens have been comforting themselves with soft drinks in plastic bottles and replaced those third world foam mattresses with developed nation status mattresses from Serta, Restonic and King Koil.  Though we have parts of Port of Spain looking almost first world with the Waterfront Project, garbage bins, and that other national pride, the analogue-ready NAPA, these building are like some beautiful women, good to look at but suck the treasury dry.

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