PM Rowley sees brighter 2022

With the last two years defined by a crippling pandemic, harsh restrictions, economic downturn and job loss, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley is giving some hope for the new year, telling citizens 2022 will be better.

Trinidad and Tobago has meandered through restrictions over almost two years in an attempt to control the ebb and flows of COVID-19 cases – businesses were closed, movement restricted and a State of Emergency implemented among the measures adopted by the Government.

However, with the country facing an unprecedented surge due to the Delta strain as it brings the year to a close, Dr Rowley expressed some optimism on the economic side heading into 2022.

“What we can look forward to in 2022, I think, is some considerable improvement,” he said when asked to give his outlook for the new year.

“We expect some considerable improvement as long as we are able to keep the economy operating. What I don’t want us to have to do is throttle the economy again.”

As he reflected on the past year, he said it was a “difficult” one and while he was hopeful the country would have dug its way out of the pandemic, the reality confronting the Government and the country is much different.

“Fortunately, it’s not been worse, it could have been worse. It has not been worse than it is, but it has not been good,” he noted

In the past few months, the Prime Minister said significant portions of the economy have been reopened and, more importantly, the Government has no plans of returning to further lockdowns. However, he says health experts who advise the Government on the implementation of measures have serious concerns about opening the economy even further. Thankfully, he said, the economy is no longer in a period of stasis.

“Economically, as long as we are not beaten down by the virus in 2022, our economy should improve,” the PM added.

Dr Rowley mentioned the “good” progress being made in the agriculture sector and service sectors. His hope is that Tobago’s economy will be kickstarted, joking “maybe with a dip in the water very soon.”

According to the Prime Minister, his preference would be for Tobago to serve as an example of what can be done once vaccination numbers are up, since its population is significantly smaller.

“Because Tobago is a unit, a small unit, we should be able to have a level of vaccination in Tobago that will allow the island to have its economy functioning in a way that the stresses of the virus can be, if not eliminated, significantly ameliorated,” Rowley said.

Rowley non-commital on run for 3rd term

Could Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley run for a third term as Prime Minister? It’s an answer he’s keeping close to his chest although he hinted that this would be his final term when he gave his victory speech following the 2020 general elections.

Following the People’s National Movement’s defeat at the THA election last Monday (December 6), Guardian Media asked whether this would be his final THA election as the PNM political leader.

Back in August after a general election victory last year, Rowley told PNM supporters “this can easily be my last term in politics in Trinidad and Tobago.

“I am not one of those politicians who believe that when you come into office, you should go out feet first. I have places to go and people to see.”

When asked if that position still stood over the weekend, Dr Rowley said, “I don’t know.”

According to him, he is not one who claims to be able to see around the corner but is instead focused on his responsibility of managing T&T’s affairs.

Asked again if the position still stands, Rowley said: “When I have something to tell you about that I will let you know.

“I usually ensure that I do not have to disown any position that I have taken, but it’s difficult to take the future on board sometimes. Nobody knew we would spend two years in a pandemic. I don’t know how much longer this is going to go.”

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