Opposition Senator David Nakhid enters the debate on the Appropriation (Financial Year 2021) Bill, 2020 during the 5th sitting of the Senate.

This country appears to be an “annex” to Venezuela right down to using the same messages as the Venezuelan Government does, says UNC senator David Nakhid.

This was among accusations Nakhid dished out to the Government during Monday’s budget debate in the Senate.

And Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat flung these and other accusations right back when he spoke after Nakhid, dismissing him as a “Just Come.”

Nakhid attacked T&T’s Foreign Affairs thrust especially on Venezuelan, adding it seemed that Government didn’t dare say anything different to Venezuela on the issue of the Nabarima oil tanker whose 1.3 million barrels of oil cargo could hurt T&T’s marine life if the vessel sunk.

Nakhid added T&T had to rely on a British MP to raise the issue of stranded T&T nationals overseas, “…And then (Government) attacked him,” he noted.

Nakhid said the budget was a “kick the can down the road” package lacking resources, squeezing the middle class and poor and holding no hope for youths. He proposed giving tax break on the property tax to those who had well maintained properties and landscaping. He said that could create painting and landscaping jobs.

Attacking several ministers – such as Rambharat – as lacking expertise and accusing Government of supporting “narco-traffickers” from the One Percent, Nakhid was warned by Senate President Christine Kangaloo several times to withdraw remarks and be courteous, “You are in the Senate,” she said cautioning him on language.

Rambharat immediately took aim at Nakhid from the start of his contribution, addressing him directly. “I’m not prepared to listen to the Count of Bahrain,” he said.

Noting Nakhid said he had been out of T&T for 39 years, Rambharat said, “Then you ent even out of maternity , you remind me of somebody who Just Come, you need to be schooled and I’ll help you!”

Rambharat, who slammed criticism by Nakhid and UNC senator Damien Lyder on T&T’s dealings with Venezuela, said Nakhid couldn’t talk about anything in T&T since he’d been away from here or so long ,”You just arrived!”

Rambharath attacked the way the PP Government handled various Agricultural operations from importing Tyson chicken from the US and importing honey to importing coconut water from the Dominican Republic at local coconut farmers’ peril.

Rambharat reiterated plans by the Estate Management Business Development Company (EMBD) to terminate leases of people who failed to meet state agricultural land lease conditions – to plant the land- and redistribute that land to people who want to plant crops to feed T&T.