PM denies multi-million dollar grant to churches is to curry political favour
Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar has denied suggestions that the TT$55 million grant given to religious groups here was aimed at seeking their support ahead of the 2015 general elections.
"The minister of finance and the minister of energy continue to monitor what is happening with the energy prices. Thus far, there is no cause for panic and we are of the respectful view, based on what the minister of energy and the minister of finance have said we can afford to treat the most vulnerable, the most needy at Christmas time, which I think is one of the most blessed times for the year," she said as she handed out toys at the St Augustine Girls' High School, east of here on the weekend.
She told reporters that the country's religious institutions have an important role to play in the fight against crime and other ills in society.
"I heard someone say it was an attempt to buy out the Christians. I think that that is an insult to the Christian community of Trinidad and Tobago because I would hate to think that anyone in the Christian community could be bought out.
"Those who do not wish to accept the grant, they are free not to accept it. It is a democratic country, but I was very upset when they said it was an attempt to buy out the Christians. I do not think any Christian, any Hindu, any Muslim or any other one in this country can be bought out," she said, adding that the grant was simply a gesture of goodwill.