PNM political leader Dr Keith Rowley has accused Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar of deceiving the nation with her announcement of the removal of VAT on food items.
Persad-Bissessar made the announcement on Saturday evening at the ruling People's Partnership pre-budget rally at Mid Centre Mall, Chaguanas.
Speaking at the PNM Women's League conference at the Port of Spain City Hall yesterday, Rowley said the Government, which spent thousands of dollars to hold a pre-budget rally where they attempted to demonism him, could not be trusted.
"How come we could allow the Prime Minister to make an announcement and get headlines in every newspaper for taking VAT off of food. It had been established even before they came into office that VAT not be applied to basic food items."
Rowley went on to list the items which are presently without VAT from the Value Added Tax Law.
He listed almost every basic food item, including flour, coffee, baby milk, oil, salami, icing sugar, corn flakes and water.
"This is what the lady met when she came into office. So the same way they announce they were giving the children school bus pass when that was happening long time, she comes with the same nonsense now announcing VAT with all basic food items already zero rated.
"That is the level of deception and deceit and lies that is this Government and that is why she (Persad-Bissessar) was unable to tell you what the items were that would take VAT off," said Rowley.
He also chided the media for falling for the ploy and publishing the announcement on the front page of all three daily newspapers.
"So everybody that read it will believe that there will be some change in the price of food in this country."
Rowley said he was there when VAT first came into effect under the NAR and because the PNM knew the effect it would have on food, one of the things they argued for and got was the removal of VAT from some food items.
He said the last time there was a removal of VAT from food items was in 2010.
Touching on the PNM General Council meeting held yesterday morning at Balisier House, Rowley said he has received the blessing of the party to go forward and join with other interest groups, including the Joint Trade Union Movement, with which the PNM has had a long history of interaction, on getting action on the Section 34 issue.
"Today we have common purpose in defence of Trinidad and Tobago. Today the General Council supported me unanimously to authorise me to do what has to be done with who it has to be done with to protect our twin island. I am now authorised with my General Council to do whatever has to be done as long as they do it in the principles of the people of Trinidad and Tobago."
He added that he has filed a motion of censure asking the PM to remove the Attorney General and will take that to the Parliament and to all who think the Section 34 issue is a joke and Attorney General Anand Ramlogan has no case to answer, he said: "The Government will vote but it is you the people whose vote will count."