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Strategy of distraction on Trinidad & Tobago mid-year budget review by Minister Imbert


By Geisha Kowlessar

Petroleumworld 05 16

Economist Marla Dukharan said she was surprised at Finance Minister Colm Imbert's comments about her since she did not make any statements about his recently presented mid-year budget review.

In an interview on yesterday's CNC 3 Morning Brew, Dukharan said it might be a case of using a strategy of distraction to get away from the real issues. She said she was out on the country when Imbert made the comment and had only returned on Monday.

Imbert had criticised Dukharan and four other local economists—Roger Hosein, Indera Sagewan-Alli, Mariano Browne and Patrick Watson—who were referenced by the Opposition during their contributions to the debate. He accused them of being biased because of political and other affiliations.

In the case of Dukharan, Imbert questioned her independence and referred to her as “Miss Bitcoin.”

Saying she was shocked to find out that her name had been called, Dukharan said: “In my view, the Government ...has a most successful and well executed strategy of distracting attention away from the issues every time there is some sort of an economic report or data being released from the rating agencies or from IMF and even from Government itself in the form of a budget or mid-year review. It is very disappointing this continues to happen every single time.”

Recalling when Standard & Poor's delivered a negative rating outlook for T&T she said: “There was a supposed mix-up in the numbers which were given to them for the forecast for energy production and that was just to distract attention away from the essence of what Standard and Poor's said as to why they delivered this negative outlook on their rating.”

Dukharan said economists, commentators, analysts and even those in the media industry had a responsibility to acknowledge and understand the strategy of distraction and deliberately keep focus on the issues.She said she did not view Imbert's comments as a personal attack.

“It's a strategy and it's working brilliantly, won't you say?” she said.

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Story by Geisha Kowlessar from Trinidad & Tobago Guardian
05 16 2018

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