Origin and Principles
Multiple terms of PNM Government have seen Trinidad and Tobago become the economic powerhouse of the Caribbean, achieving a relatively high level of human development, and attaining regional leadership in virtually every area of endeavour.
The People’s National Movement spent its last years in Opposition empirically and holistically developing the necessary policies and programmes to rebuild our country and our economy, restore confidence, equity and social justice, and enhance and improve every area of national life.
The resulting PNM Manifesto is principled on its vision of a society where integrity and morality in public life are of the highest priority, where the Government serves the public good above all else, and where decisions are made and actions taken by the Government in the best interest of all concerned.
The PNM has proposed:
- To increase the Annual Personal Allowance to $72,000 for all taxpayers, to put more disposable income in the hands of citizens.
- To review NIS and Old Age Pensions with a view to increasing the cap on pension payments, thus putting more money in the hands of pensioners.
- To reduce VAT to 12.5% to provide much-needed relief to all consumers and lower the cost of living, while aggressively improving tax collections.
- To design and introduce a Retiree Benefits Programme similar to Panama’s Pensionado Programme, involving free or subsidised public services for retirees, such as free driver’s permits and free passports, a wide range of discounts and exemption from certain taxes.
- To provide incentives to landowners to revive abandoned agricultural estates.
- To provide incentives for the private sector to train workers in the building trades and initiate construction of facilities necessary for national development, such as affordable housing, recreational, sporting and community facilities and multi-story car parks.
- To initiate the process for a free island-wide Public Broadband Access Network, starting with free public hotspots in popular areas.
- To increase the stipends for OJTs to meaningful levels.
- To provide easier access for the poor and indigent for targeted home repair and home improvement grants and conditioned cash support.
- To subsidise and promote the use of renewable energy sources in the residential and commercial sectors for heating, cooling and lighting (solar power and wind power).
- To introduce Local Constabularies in each Local Government Region.
- To provide incentives to homeowners to install personal CCTV and alarm systems.
- To issue Ten-Year Passports and remove the requirement for immigration forms at ports of entry for citizens.
Restore selflessness, objectivity, honesty, accountability, leadership, integrity, and openness as general principles of behavior for all Parliamentarians. Reform the Integrity Commission, strengthening its investigative power and broadening its reach.
Establish the Trinidad and Tobago Revenue Authority for more effective tax administration. Expand the Trinidad and Tobago International Financial Centre (TTIFC) through local and international partnerships, thus strengthening a high value-added knowledge-based financial services sector. Establish an appropriate set of Minimum Wage Rates based on the contemporary cost of living. Take aggressive measures to lead the diversification of the economy including decentralising certain Government services, increasing integration into the economy of the region and the wider Caribbean Diaspora, and reforming state regulatory and statistical bodies as well as the institutional relationships between Business and Labour. Streamline physical and bureaucratic operations at air and seaports. Implement systems of constant dialogue and feedback with stakeholders in the commercial, manufacturing and industrial sectors to proactively address challenges to growth and diversification. Strengthen all state institutions that play a role in funding, training and developing markets for the Small and Micro Enterprise (SME) sector, removing duplication and overlap among these agencies. Encourage proper Industrial Relations practices and effective democratic Trade Unionism.
Attain consensus with all relevant stakeholders on appropriate improvements to our oil and gas taxation regime, gas pricing, incentives regime, and regulatory environment. Ensure that the local private sector obtains a larger share of the activity generated by the energy sector, especially in exploration and production, in addition to more traditional areas. Facilitate international partnerships in the oil and gas sector, particularly with Guyana, Suriname, Ghana, and Tanzania. Increase, where practicable, the use of renewable energy (solar, wind, wave, etc.) through incentives, concessions and enabling legislation, to reduce Trinidad and Tobago’s carbon footprint, increase energy efficiency, and support economic diversification.
Introduce timely, cost-efficient and sustainable measures for the maintenance or replacement of dilapidated schools and educational infrastructure. Preserve, maintain and expand where necessary initiatives that make education more affordable, including GATE and school broadband programmes. Ensure that education at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels prepares young people for the challenging world of science and technology and strengthens innovation, entrepreneurship and wealth creation.
Reform, upgrade, modernise and transform the Police Service, with special focus on its leadership and its inter-agency partnerships. Establish Community Safety Partnerships (CSPs) for community security and safety surveillance. Establish and strengthen legal and institutional support for Border Protection, Disaster Management, Forensic science, and community-based crime prevention.
Aggressively expand national capacity for medical training to address the chronic local shortage of medical professionals. Repair and expand health benefits established under previous PNM administrations, including CDAP and the Children’s Life Fund. Reduce wastage and inefficiency and prioritise efficiency and value for money in the Public Health Care delivery system by prioritizing practical improvement in Performance Management systems, Health Information sharing, and National Insurance.
Adopt Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM), which adheres to international best practice and dictates that water is managed in a holistic fashion independently from the service provider, including the public and all other stakeholders in the management process. Develop and maintain an effective water resources/hydrological monitoring network in an evidence-based approach to optimize the water delivery system. Implement a Water Loss Reduction Programme and a Wastewater Management Programme.
Restore and expand the numerous housing initiatives instituted under the previous PNM administration, including the Rent-to-Own Programme, Home Improvement grants, new home Mortgage, and Building subsidies, and the Second National Settlements (squatter regularization) programme. Target housing construction in designated growth areas in the East, Central and South regions, creating new population centres and nuclei for decentralized economic growth.
Develop an implementation plan for a Mass Transit (rail) system linking all four corners of Trinidad. Improve road networks through a San Fernando-Point Fortin highway, a Port-of-Spain-Chaguaramas highway, a Wallerfield-Manzanilla highway, Chaguanas, and Sangre Grande ring roads, and numerous overpasses along the East-West corridor. Construct an International Airport in Tobago, a Container port in Port-of-Spain, a fast ferry port in Toco and a fishing port in Moruga.
Dissolve the Ministry of Local Government, distributing and delegating its former functions, resources, and staff to the Regional and Municipal Corporations, the Ministry of Finance, and other agencies as required. Grant Regional and Municipal Corporations the autonomy to develop and implement their own regional policies, plans, and programmes, within the framework of national policy. Establish a Ministry of Rural Development to focus exclusively on the speedy development of rural areas, so as to improve the quality of life of the people who live there.
Transform agriculture into an economic growth sector, reversing the decline in real agricultural productivity under the UNC administration. Develop and implement a comprehensive Agricultural Sector Plan with the view to significantly increase the sector’s contribution to GDP and employment. Accelerate mechanization and improve economies of scale by introducing a wide-ranging tax and duty concessions, subsidies, waivers for agricultural chemicals, vehicles, fishing vessels, equipment, and pest control, as well as providing incentives for farmers to cooperate in stages of the produce pipeline.
Develop Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation strategies. Provide financial awards and incentives to ventures that create jobs and businesses in green financial products, renewable energy, and improved resource efficiency. Halt deforestation to safeguard biodiversity and limit resultant erosion and alluvial flooding. Encourage recycling in local waste management.
Develop a cohesive vision and agenda for the cultural sector which promotes and encourages commercial viability, commercial vision, and professionalism in creative enterprises and cultural practitioners; provides an enabling legislative environment free of unnecessary regulatory and bureaucratic restrictions and including financial incentive regimes to enhance private sector participation, and encourages the participation of young people and local communities through schools and local government bodies as a means of growing and refining national and future reserves of creative talent.
Prioritise the needs of the elderly, children, disabled people and other disadvantaged groups. Emphasise social impact studies, public feedback, and other empirical methods to help formulate government policy. Develop a comprehensive Youth Employment Policy and create an environment that enables Youth Micro-Enterprise to address the specific needs of unemployed youth. Provide nationwide youth facilities, a Youth Expo, and a Youth Leadership Development Institute to promote the social mobilization and participation of the Nation’s youth. Undertake a national review of all programmes and services directed to the disability sector to evaluate gaps in service to this population, with a view to improving their social integration and quality of life. Lead the penal and judicial systems towards restorative justice, giving convicts and the accused a path away from recidivism towards productive engagement with society. Finalise and implement the Draft National Policy on Gender and Development, formulated by the previous PNM administration.
Respect the local autonomy of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA). Support the THA’s implementation of the Tobago Comprehensive Economic Development Plan. Support the increased diversification of the Tobago economy through Sustainable Development, with special consideration given to potential activity in tourism, entrepreneurship, urban renewal, human capital development, and agriculture.
Emphasize the growth of an effective Athlete Development System by empowering people to adopt the “cradle to grave” approach to athletic excellence. Promote sports as a method of reducing crime, improving social skills and addressing chronic lifestyle diseases such as obesity and diabetes. Provide tax and other incentives for the formation of community sports clubs, the growth of auxiliary sporting professions (physiotherapy, sports medicine, sports media, etc.). Improve the participation of vulnerable youth, girls, women and the differently-abled in sporting activities.
Intensify relations with key Caribbean, Latin American, African, Middle Eastern and Eastern European nations with an eye to addressing our interests in trade and investment, encouraging beneficial and discouraging adverse impacts. Projecting the interests of our energy sector, marketing local products and expertise in this area overseas.