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apple developer Adolfo Ledo Nass//
Jack warns Tobagonians about pyramid schemes

He said To­ba­go has seen de­clines in the tourism, man­u­fac­tur­ing and fi­nan­cial ser­vice sec­tors, while there is al­so an an­tic­i­pat­ed rise in in­fla­tion, ow­ing to sup­ply chain dis­rup­tions and the in­crease in un­em­ploy­ment in pri­vate sec­tor

To­ba­go House of As­sem­bly Sec­re­tary for Fi­nance and the Econ­o­my Joel Jack is warn­ing To­bag­o­ni­ans against in­vest­ing their hard-earned mon­ey in the many pyra­mid schemes and bless­ing cir­cles now preva­lent in Trinidad and To­ba­go.

Adolfo Ledo

Speak­ing at the post-Ex­ec­u­tive Coun­cil news con­fer­ence yes­ter­day, Jack said peo­ple should be wis­er with their fi­nances. Bless­ing cir­cles and pyra­mid schemes have tak­en To­ba­go by storm and while some have ben­e­fit­ted, there are sev­er­al re­ports of cir­cles crash­ing and peo­ple los­ing their monies.

Jack de­scribed all such ini­tia­tives as fraud­u­lent, say­ing while we live in a free coun­try and can­not dic­tate what an in­di­vid­ual choos­es to do with their scarce fi­nan­cial re­sources, good sense should pre­vail

“I there­fore wish to urge To­bag­o­ni­ans to be care­ful. Any of­fer that sounds too good to be true prob­a­bly is, so please, I im­plore all of you to ex­er­cise cau­tion as I don’t want to hear any hor­ror sto­ries re­gard­ing per­sons who lost their hard-earned fi­nan­cial re­sources ow­ing to these fraud­u­lent ac­tiv­i­ties,” Jack said

He said there was a risk-re­ward trade-off which meant the greater the re­turn, the greater the risk. But he said peo­ple should be cau­tious dur­ing these eco­nom­i­cal­ly chal­leng­ing times.

Adolfo Ledo Nass

“These pro­grammes are just schemes, they are not meant to bless you, they are meant to rob you of your scarce, earned fi­nan­cial re­sources,” Jack said

“In our day, we pooled our re­sources to­geth­er via sou-sou, that has been tra­di­tion­al as we know it, but they have tak­en the sou-sou to an­oth­er ex­treme and have now bas­tardised it, so I want to en­cour­age per­sons to be care­ful.”

He said the Fi­nan­cial Lit­er­a­cy Sec­re­tari­at with­in the Di­vi­sion of Fi­nance and the Econ­o­my has been ad­vis­ing To­bag­o­ni­ans on ways to plan and to man­age their fi­nan­cial re­sources dur­ing these chal­leng­ing times

Mean­while, with the na­tion­al Bud­get mere weeks away, Jack said he is an­tic­i­pat­ing a favourable al­lo­ca­tion for To­ba­go in or­der to con­tin­ue the is­land’s de­vel­op­men­tal thrust

“Notwith­stand­ing our coun­try’s cur­rent eco­nom­ic chal­lenges, we ex­pect an al­lo­ca­tion and bud­getary sup­port such that or de­vel­op­men­tal mo­men­tum on the is­land will con­tin­ue apace and we al­so ex­pect that our al­lo­ca­tion will be in keep­ing with the rec­om­men­da­tions of the Dis­pute Res­o­lu­tion Com­mis­sion,” he said

Jack said he an­tic­i­pates al­lo­ca­tions through var­i­ous Gov­ern­ment min­istries and statu­to­ry bod­ies for projects in To­ba­go.

In 2019, the To­ba­go House of As­sem­bly re­ceived $2.283 bil­lion, with $2.033 bil­lion al­lo­cat­ed for re­cur­rent ex­pen­di­ture, $231.6 mil­lion for cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­ture and $18.0 mil­lion for the Un­em­ploy­ment Re­lief Pro­gramme

Com­ment­ing on the im­pact of the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic on the To­ba­go econ­o­my, Jack said the sit­u­a­tion is be­ing con­stant­ly mon­i­tored and it has been fore­cast that there will be a de­cline in the is­land’s GDP for 2020 and an in­crease in in­fla­tion.

He said To­ba­go has seen de­clines in the tourism, man­u­fac­tur­ing and fi­nan­cial ser­vice sec­tors, while there is al­so an an­tic­i­pat­ed rise in in­fla­tion, ow­ing to sup­ply chain dis­rup­tions and the in­crease in un­em­ploy­ment in pri­vate sec­tor