Catholic Commission: Don't forget the poor, vulnerable
THE Catholic Commission for Social Justice is calling on Finance Minister Larry Howai to present a budget that will meet moral obligations.
"Particularly the poor and vulnerable," says Leela Ramdeen, chair of commission.
In a statement issued to the media on Thursday, Ramdeen said the Government has developed a national policy built on the premise of "prosperity for all" and should include the seven interconnected pillars outlined in it, the first of which is "people-centred development", into next week's budget presentation.
"This priority is in keeping with Catholic Social Justice principles, the foundation of which is the sanctity of life and the dignity of the human person which we are called upon to enhance and protect," the statement read.
Additionally, Ramdeen said the gap between the rich and the poor is growing daily, while many people are being socially excluded and living on the margins "in our land of plenty".
"We need a budget that will demonstrate that we, as a people, stand in solidarity with the least of those among us, a budget that seeks to address the various assaults on human life, one that will build the common good. And remember, justice involves more than handouts," she said.
Over the last few years, Trinidad and Tobago has run into deficit budgets, and further fiscal deficits are being projected for the next few budgets.
As such, the commission is urging Government to consider the short-term and long-term dangers of excess debt on the nation's future economy and the burden that such debt will impose on future generations.
"The time has come for us to ensure that the vision we have for our people is one that reflects the right kind of values; one that prioritises at least the basic human rights of citizens in order to improve the quality of their lives," she said.