Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has detailed how a UNC government will fund some of their plans for the country.
Speaking at the party’s virtual meeting last night, Persad-Bissessar said she plans to establish a National Infrastructure Fund to fund its plans to improve infrastructure.
Persad-Bissessar said that the UNC government would not be borrowing money or through taxes but would instead utilise the cash balances of State-controlled institution investors like the National Insurance Board and the Unit Trust Corporation.
“We could use their cash balances to mobilise an initial $4 billion in capital for the National Infrastructure Fund,” she said.
In addition to that, Persad-Bissessar said the UNC government will also tap private insurance companies and pension funds to become shareholders.
“So we would have Government funding and private investment,” she said.
Persad-Bissessar said that to manage the fund, they would elect a board instead of putting a government minister at the helm as is the norm.
The UNC will also implement a remote working system to help people work from home.
Persad-Bissessar fleshed out some of the details of the parties “master plan” which also included a National Infrastructure Improvement Plan to help with road maintenance, traffic and flooding.
“We could put in place a flexi-time work policy. It means that instead of everybody having to reach to work at the same point in time, people can have flexi-time. You come in a little later, you leave a little later so that not everyone is on the road at the same time,” she said.
Persad-Bissessar said that although roads have not been touched by the People National Movement (PNM) in the last five years, they are coming now to pave the roads.
She warned contractors that the Government would not pay them for the roadworks before August 10.
“The are owing contractors and people seeing the gimmick,” she said.
“Our nation’s physical infrastructure is in a state of collapse. Our roads are deteriorating, flooding is always a problem, traffic continues to result in thousands of manpower lost,” she said.
She said the plan would maintain the infrastructure and create jobs.
“First we have to fix the traffic problem,” she said, which included the construction of a park and ride facility in main towns.
Part of the plan also includes another water taxi but from Point Fortin.
“This will help us move people to ease traffic congestion,” she said.
Another aspect of the plan to alleviate traffic woes is a rapid bus system.
“This will have a dedicated, predictable bus rapid transit system from North to South and East to West to make transport affordable and ease traffic congestion,” Persad-Bissessar said.
She said the UNC government would also continue to decentralise government businesses so that citizens did not have to go into Port-of-Spain for everything.
With regards to flooding, Persad-Bissessar said that the party was on high alert and ready to step in and help those impacted by the possible rains expected over the weekend.
She said part of the plan was also to desilt rivers, create retention ponds and sediment traps.
“That is a major thrust to alleviating the flooding,” she said.
With regards to the sale of Petrotrin refinery, Persad-Bissessar said she was “very concerned” about the rush to “give away” Petrotrin 18 days before the general election.
“What is different? You owe an explanation to the people of T&T,” she said.