Trinidad and Tobago: Imbert and Persad-Bissessar Exchange Harsh Remarks

The Finance Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Colm Imbert has responded to the opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s remarks regarding Government’s National Investment Fund (NIF).

The opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar accused National Investment Fund (NIF) of a being a Ponzi scheme, a statement that angered Colm Imbert.

Colm Imbert, who also happens to be the acting Prime Minister, said: “She was very fast and loose with her language. The very idea of referring to the NIF bonds as a Ponzi scheme is absurd. I would even say it is childish coming from the Leader of the Opposition.

“Childish and unpatriotic, Ridiculous, dangerous assertions, baseless, groundless, irrational statements coming out of the Leader of the Opposition,” Imbert said.

Defining a Ponzi scheme, Imbert said: “It’s an illusion. In a Ponzi scheme, you trick investors into investing into an imaginary product. You don’t have the money to repay them.” He warned that the opposition leaders ‘irresponsible’ comments like this may “disturb the country’s equilibrium and poisons the mind of the little people.”

Imbert added: “For reasons best known to herself, the Opposition Leader has tried to undermine the national budget, because she is bad mouthing the NIF that is going to be launched on July 15.”

He warned that a little “propaganda campaign” from the opposition’s side may “undermine the budget and the ability of the country to operate.”

Meanwhile, the opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has stood by his comments that the NIF will turn into a Ponzi scheme.

In an interview with Newsday, she said: “I reiterate that this NIF is an ill-conceived, vague, deceptive Ponzi-like scheme being piloted by an equally vague, deceptive, incompetent government. This Ponzi scheme, like the Grenada stadium, will eventually collapse.”

She raised few more questions regarding the NIF issues to Newsday. The new questions raised by Persad-Bissessar are as follow as we quote from Newsday:

  • “Why is it that the Government is borrowing from the public by way of bonds instead of selling shares to the public as was promised by the Minister of Finance?
  • “Are the bonds guaranteed by the government and if not, why not?”
  • “Does he acknowledge that in the offering of bonds on the domestic market it is really a case of borrowing on the domestic market?
  • “Is this akin to the Government taking a four billion dollar unguaranteed mortgage against those companies with the lender being the unsuspecting public of TT?”

Finance Minister Imbert, however,  has not responded to the newly raised questions and allegations by the opposition leader.

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