Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has urged citizens not to panic, saying that there will be no job cuts or removal of social subsidies in the new year despite the falling global energy prices.
The prime minister said she will address the nation on the state of the economy and the implications of falling oil and gas prices next week.
She said in her New Year’s Day message at the final post-Cabinet media conference at the San Fernando Teaching Hospital.
Persad-Bissessar said despite decreasing oil prices, government will not be cutting back on any salaries, social and health care programs, and other major projects.
“The preservation of jobs is high on our agenda” she said, adding that all social programs which assisted the poor and vulnerable would continue.
The prime minister said she planned to meet with business groups and other stakeholders to discuss the implications of the falling energy prices.
Persad-Bissessar said she was not daunted by the current situation, adding that it was not the first time she dealt with falling energy prices.
‘We are at a point in our nation’s affairs when we are faced with lower energy prices. I was part of a former administration in l995 when the country had to also be managed with lower energy prices. Despite, this we demonstrated that we were up to the task and the country experienced a level of prosperity which few thought was not possible,” she added.
“Attempts to distract my attention and energies from my responsibility to lead and manage the affairs of this nation will not deter me from my goal or a prosperous and secure nation,” Persad-Bissesar said.
“She added that when she took office T&T’s financial stability was “threatened by the $20 billion-plus (US$6 billion) Clico debacle and the almost $1 billion HCU (Hindu Credit Union) fiasco.”
“Today, as we approach the final few months of my first term as prime minister, I can say with a lot of confidence that T&T is in a better place than when I inherited the responsibility for its administration,” she said.