The National Budget 2016
It was fiscal Friday in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, one of the most anticipated days of
all…the National Budget. This is the day when the Government sets out the fiscal and economic
outlook for the upcoming financial year and gives an account of the previous financial year.
However, this Budget was definitely one that will be ingrained in the memories of the Upper Six
Economics class of Naparima Girls’. The golden opportunity was offered to our class to attend
the presentation of the National Budget in Parliament and of course, without hesitation and much
excitation, we accepted this once in a lifetime experience. This could not have been made
possible without Mr. Rushton Paray who kindly and unhesitatingly made all the arrangements
necessary for our class to be accommodated and a part of this presentation.
On the 30th September, 2016, at 1:20 pm, ten budding economists accompanied by their teacher,
Mrs. Sookchan, were seated in the Office of the Parliament, House of Representative, anxiously
awaiting to hear the fiscal proposals with the occasional political “picong” that was about to
unfold. I must say, it was indeed an intense setting, and most definitely put our knowledge of
macroeconomic principles to the test. It was certainly a great way of seeing the real life
applications of macroeconomics and also seeing how the politics unfolds behind the scenes. At
the end of the just over three hour session, we were able to get foresight into the economic status
of our country and also the proposed plans that are yet to come, as well as have a greater
appreciation for macroeconomics. The icing on the cake was definitely interacting with the
Prime Minister, the honorable Dr. Keith Rowley, the Attorney General, Mr. Al Rawi, and
other Parliamentarians, all of whom offered their best wishes and praises to us. The session
really offered a lot for us to take whenever we may go. It was truly an incredible experience and
inspired us all to, in some way, want to give some form of service to our country as we become
professional women. As was said by our Minister of Finance, “once we all aspire together, I am
certain that we shall all achieve together.”
Post Budget Breakfast Forum– 3rd October
The chronicles of the budding economists continue as the Upper Six Economics class of
Naparima Girls’ High School attended the Post Budget People’s Sector Breakfast Forum hosted
by the Oil Field Workers Trade Union (O.W.T.U.) and the Co-operative Credit Union League of
Trinidad and Tobago (CCULTT) at the Paramount Building, San Fernando. Prospective
Economists accompanied by their teacher, Mrs. Alana Sookchan had the opportunity to listen to
the criticisms and concerns from a table of esteemed panelists about the 2016 Budget delivered
by the Hon. Minister of Finance Mr. Colm Imbert on 30th September 2016.
Sitting on this panel were representatives from various associations who all had great insight on
the budget and its implications. They included: Comrade Joseph Remy, President of the
Federation of Independent Trade Unions and NGOs (FITUN) and CCULT, Economists Mrs.
Indera Sagewan-Alli and Mr. Hayden Blades, Comrade Vincent Cabrera from Joint Trade Union
Movement, Comrade Shiraz Khan from the Trinidad and Tobago Farmers’ Union and Ms.
Shanice Webb from the Trinidad Youth Council.
Each panelist gave their thoughts on the budget, not only concerning their organizations but also
the impact on the public. As students and young adults, we were given the opportunity to hear
unbiased opinions on the budget that were free of political motives and geared towards the well-
being of the people of Trinidad and Tobago from representatives of various unions in Trinidad
and Tobago who essentially represent the working class of the nation. The panelists gave their
suggestions on how the budget could have been improved as it related to the impact of certain
policies on the citizens of the nation. Many concerns were raised with regards to the
development of our nation and our economic future with the concept of economic diversification
being a contentious topic.Overall, the Post Budget Forum was an insightful experience as it
introduced us to our not so distant future in the working world.