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May 24, 2019

This, that, the other…

Usually I do not comment on political happenings in the country. And this is simply because politicians, of whatever ilk, hardly if ever, put the welfare of the people and the proper development of the country before that of party and self-interest. That is how it has been ever since our country attained independence almost 60 years ago.

But people in various leadership positions have tried to hoodwink the population with increasing regularity. For instance, everybody knows that the Dragon Gas deal is in trouble because of the uncertain future of the Venezuelan political situation. Yet ministers refuse to admit that it will affect our economy in some way.

And why wouldn’t someone in the government who knows, come out and say exactly what we, as T&T will be doing to help struggling Venezuelan migrants who are now flooding our country.

The certification process is a good start, but what about the humanitarian aspect—the exploitation; sex slavery and kidnapping. Are there police involved? What do the leaders have to say?

Then there is that mid-year review by the Finance Minister in which he says everything is honky dory and Trinidadians and Tobagonians have no need to panic.

I am neither a politician nor an economist, but the arguments put forward by the nation’s top economists who shot gaping holes in his forecast are considered by him as doomsday specialists or naysayers. It sounds kind of Trumpian – I am the only one who knows.

I cannot conceive how the Petrotrin shutdown which affected thousands of workers and their families, suppliers and a whole host of people, did not impact the jobless numbers.

There are hundreds of small businesses forced to retrench workers and even several government departments have been closed, but still the minister produces figures to show otherwise.

After the obvious failure of the once successful Air Guard, with unserviceable helicopters and a fixed wing aircraft and a string of pilot resignations, the Minister of National Security comes up with the idea that an all-purpose unit will soon be mobilised. It can be used by the police, the army, the coast guard and the prisons. But how soon, he has failed to say. Just another something to keep the people living in hope.

I wonder how many people believe this bolt from the blue—the Housing Development Corporation’s (HDC) plan to build hundreds of apartments at South Quay and at Lady Hailes Avenue in San Fernando. Really! I think by now everybody knows this cannot happen, certainly not in time for the upcoming General Elections due next year.

This may seem to some as wild speculation. I am talking from experience. Since I was a junior reporter and that was a few decades ago, the Licensing Department was going to be computerised. How far along has that gotten?

The Red House took some 20 years to be refurbished and it was supposed to be ready last year. The Prime Minister says it would be ready by Independence Day. President House was supposed to be fixed at least a decade ago. Today it still stands like a relic, pretty much in a state of disrepair, an example of how important such things are to our politicians.

As a born Trinidadian and for a better T&T, I implore the citizenry to be honest with themselves and hold our representatives more accountable to us—the people.