With schools set to reopen in eight days and fuel prices due to increase on the same day, Opposition Senator Khadijah Ameen has reiterated the United National Congress’ call for a one-off uniform grant to be given to parents, so they can send their children back to school.
She said the increase in the price of fuel will result in a further hike in transport costs.
Finance Minister Colm Imbert announced in Parliament last Friday that, from April 19, premium gasoline will increase by $ 1 per liter to $ 6.75 and super gasoline by $ 1 from $ 4.97 per liter to $ 5.97. The price of diesel will increase by 50 cents to $ 3.91 per liter while the price of kerosene has been increased to $ 3.50.
During the UNC’s weekly news conference yesterday morning, Ameen lamented that the opening of schools had left many mothers in a quandary.
“You have additional costs because you have to purchase uniforms. You have to purchase additional groceries to prepare meals for children. In some cases the school feeding program is not sufficient. Transport costs for children, whether they take public transport or they are transported via the school transport system, will increase, ”she said.
“This morning, I support the call made by the Leader of Opposition for a one-off uniform grant to be made available so parents can send their children back to school for the reopening on April 19,” she added.
Ameen said the Government’s indecisiveness when it came to education caused a lot of confusion and “undue” stress on mothers and the general public, adding it appears that the Government remains very disconnected from the reality that mothers and women face. “Mothers have lost their jobs. Yes, we say places will open back but most of these places that are opening back are where women are employed at minimum wage, so even to feed your family becomes more difficult as the cost of food goes up, ”she said.
“Salaries are decreasing because you are living on 2013 salaries, and fuel prices are going up, food prices are going up and VAT (value added tax) has been added on. This is war. You have declared war on the people of Trinidad and Tobago. Our people are suffering and we must stand up, ”Ameen said.
Right foot, left foot
According to Ameen, young people and women are already facing social and economic hardship, with no opportunities available for them. She went on to condemn the Government’s decision to increase fuel prices.
“The Government is telling you band your belly, but just a few days ago Imbert said things nice, the economy is thriving and things going good. Then a few days later he comes and increases the fuel price. It will impact on the price of food, ”she said.
Ameen added: “We still have thousands of workers unemployed, right foot, left foot. We have workers on 2013 salaries, right foot, left foot. We have women being attacked and raped in this country with no protection from our Government … we have pensioners who might lose their pension because the Minister of Finance find they living too long, right foot, left foot. Food prices going up, right foot, left foot. They are coming with property tax, right foot, left foot. They have increased gas prices yet again, and right foot, left foot we have not rioted yet. “
“I want to call on the population that we must not sit quietly because I think the Minister of Finance is waiting for us to riot. We must stand up and voice our opinions in a law-abiding manner and let the Government know that enough is enough, ”she said.