Imbert: ‘I’m like the Hulk’

“I’m like the Hulk.”

That was Fi­nance Min­is­ter Colm Im­bert’s grin­ning con­fes­sion yes­ter­day as he re­spond­ed to UNC MP Fazal Karim’s queries dur­ing yes­ter­day’s Stand­ing Fi­nance Com­mit­tee (SFC) scruti­ny of 2020 Bud­get items for the To­ba­go House of As­sem­bly (THA).

 

Im­bert, in Par­lia­ment, made the com­par­i­son be­tween him­self and the com­ic book/movie char­ac­ter, telling the Op­po­si­tion he was al­ways pay­ing at­ten­tion and, “I’m like the Hulk....” he de­clared.

That re­mark (and grin) was one of the lighter mo­ments com­ing from Im­bert whom SFC chair­man Bridgid An­nisette-George had to cau­tion fre­quent­ly on how he replied to the Op­po­si­tion.

Im­bert and UNC MPs found all kinds of ways to ac­cuse each oth­er of be­ing “rude”—and no­body was call­ing it “To­ba­go Love.”

Al­most a quar­ter of the time spent on the THA was de­vot­ed to Im­bert’s tus­sling with UNC MPs, main­ly Ra­mona Ram­di­al and Dr Tim Gopeesingh. He fo­cused on Ram­di­al par­tic­u­lar­ly when she probed items in de­tail. Im­bert al­so be­came frus­trat­ed with Gopeesingh whom he said wasn’t lis­ten­ing,

“This is the 16th time I’ve told you that THA or gov­ern­ment can’t fill pub­lic of­fi­cers’ posts and on­ly Ser­vice Com­mis­sions can do that,” he replied on Gopeesingh’s query about va­cant posts.

“You’re play­ing for the (Par­lia­ment chan­nel) cam­eras,” Im­bert de­clared.

“Can you stop talk­ing fool­ish­ness, you’re pa­thet­ic!” Gopeesingh re­tort­ed.

“You’re in­sult­ing—you’re in­sult­ing me,” Im­bert replied.

“You’re rude and ar­ro­gant—I’m fed up of that,” Gopeesingh com­plained.

“You’re play­ing the vic­tim,” Im­bert told him.

SFC chair­man An­nisette-George ad­vised both to pro­ceed in a more re­spect­ful man­ner and with­out per­son­al opin­ion, “Trade that in an­oth­er place,” she warned, “It’s (SFC) been long and we’re weary, but don’t in­flict that on the pub­lic.”

When Im­bert re­buked Ram­di­al that she was “just be­ing sil­ly,” An­nisette-George warned him to “Stop with the at­ti­tude.”

Ram­di­al, at an­oth­er point—query­ing fund­ing for con­tract of­fi­cers—told Im­bert off, “I’m elect­ed to do my du­ty and ask these ques­tions. I don’t un­der­stand why you’re giv­ing me trou­ble to an­swer.”

Im­bert re­spond­ed, “You’re elect­ed by the peo­ple of Trinidad—you seem to dis­like To­ba­go.

Ram­di­al replied, “You’re be­ing ri­otous!”

Im­bert con­tin­ued, “The peo­ple know you don’t like them.....”

 

Ram­di­al protest­ed, “I love the peo­ple of To­ba­go.”

Im­bert then said, “Ha­ha­ha­ha—joke. I don’t be­lieve her .....In your dreams. You hate To­bag­o­ni­ans! No con­tract of­fi­cer will vote for you or UNC be­cause you don’t like To­bag­o­ni­ans.”

Ram­di­al replied, “He has to be crazy. Ob­vi­ous­ly, they wouldn’t vote for me—I’m in Cou­va North and the peo­ple of Cou­va North will vote for me. How­ev­er (To­bag­o­ni­ans) vot­ing for Wat­son Duke is a dif­fer­ent sto­ry.”

“None of them will vote for UNC or Duke. No chance. We get­ting all 12 (THA) seats,” Im­bert im­me­di­ate­ly de­clared.

When Ram­di­al queried num­bers re­gard­ing fish­ing fa­cil­i­ties’ al­lo­ca­tions, he asked, “You want to know how much fish too?”

Im­bert at an­oth­er point start­ed re­ply­ing to queries ro­bot­i­cal­ly, in syl­la­bles. He ex­plained why. “I-am-speak-ing-slow-as-all-you-doh-hear.”

When UNC MP Vidia Guyadeen-Gopeesingh asked him whether crops farm­ers’ cul­ti­va­tions in­clud­ed bo­di, Im­bert said To­bag­o­ni­ans called that “string beans.”

Ram­di­al, af­ter an­oth­er ex­change with Im­bert, said, “I don’t know why you’re like this—con­de­scend­ing.”

“I’m con­de­scend­ing? You’re be­ing rude. Rude and dis­re­spect­ful,” Im­bert replied.

When Ram­di­al asked about ve­hi­cles, Im­bert said, “Why you so fas­ci­nat­ed with ve­hi­cles.”

“You want to know what else I’m fas­ci­nat­ed with?” Ram­di­al asked.

Im­bert re­tort­ed, “No. I have no in­ter­est what­so­ev­er. I’m scared—fright­ened.”

 

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