Formally, being a sweetheart implies having a romantic relationship with someone. Informally, however, it means reaching an agreement or having a contract between two parties in an illicit or illegal way, the commonly-cited “sweetheart deal”.

Our Prime Minister has declared that “all budgets in Trinidad and Tobago are sweetheart budgets because …(they are) where the State does a lot for the people of the territory.”

The Prime Minister needs to go a step further and articulate how people have benefited from the removal of value-added tax (vat) on zero-rated food items and replaced it with 12.5 per cent vat. In transporting us to these new value-added budgets, he must also explain how removal of subsidies on fuels, be it diesel, regular, super or premium, has benefited the travelling public who now have increased transportation costs.

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