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December 13, 2019
A not-so-traditional Christmas shopping list
December 13, 2019

Messing around with million$

For the life of me I cannot wrap my head around the situation surrounding the gasoline problem which affected thousands of motorists.

The news reports say Unipet owes Paria Trading some millions for fuel delivered and the government, who owns Paria owes the gasoline company a similar amount in subsidies and VAT.

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley made no bones in assailing the company for its behaviour accusing the company of trying to get gasoline supplies for “free” and then drew taxpayers into the narrative by talking about court expenses when the company filed a court injunction.

In a most mysterious turn, it was suddenly announced in a press release from Paria Trading, no less, that some sort of agreement had been arrived at and gasoline supplies to Unipet stations started flowing again last Monday afternoon.

The public remains in the dark about the signed or unsigned agreement. I guess like so many other agreements the government has negotiated there is a secrecy clause, so the people are prevented from knowing what the agreement contains. Or maybe when another crisis erupts, as was played out last weekend, the public will get to know.

Now onto this $100 note imbroglio that is causing the public all sorts of grief and anxiety. The repercussions are wide-ranging for the small man, small businessmen, hand-to-mouth citizens and as a matter fact everybody who is anybody.

Since the announcement was made, not about the traffic gridlock which caused endless horrors but the precious $100 notes, there has been panic all over the country.

Let’s agree that this decision…plan…call it what you want, seemed to have gone awry from the beginning. It is the belief that matters dealing with Trinidad  and Tobago currency is under direct purview of the Central Bank (CB), but the 14-day deadline announcement to get rid of your old $100 notes came from the Minister of National Security, Stuart Young, then when things got a little ticklish the Minister of Finance, Colm Imbert came forward and promised to resolve the situation. Whether he did or not, I don’t know but it fell on the CB to announce that the current $100 notes were valid until year’s end.

The point I want to make is that the country’s money matters must not be mixed up with other issues.

The CB is supposed to remain in charge of Trinidad and Tobago currency, but the involvement of other ministries seems confusing and most likely was the cause for all the ensuing panic.

It cannot be stressed enough, that such matters have nothing to do with either the National Security or Finance ministries. But this is lawless Trinidad and Tobago, where this kind of action is normal. C’est la vie!

Finally, for all the decades I have been attending funerals, in whatever capacity, in one I attended a fortnight ago the eulogist, the deceased’s daughter, took the cake and had me totally enthralled.

One is accustomed to hearing in a eulogy, how good the deceased was; what he/she accomplished in this life; what kind of life he/she lived; how he/she was a generous and good Catholic, and so on… As a matter fact the platitudes meted out sometimes is beyond comprehension.

This eulogy read out by Ellen Fullerton was laced with quotes from the Bible, but for each quote, she noted how it reflected her mother— her sense of forgiveness; her compassion; her love for neighbour; her sense of peace. It was just an awesome report on the life of a single mother, Facil Fullerton.

It brought me joltingly to reality, wondering since most eulogies always says good and wonderful things about the deceased, never the bad things. This was a most refreshing experience and the entire congregation seemed spellbound by the way she placed her mother’s life in a new perspective showing how closely human life relates to the Bible and how everything is related in some way to the Word of God.