THE EDITOR: One of the activities that clearly distinguishes Dr Keith Rowley’s tenure thus far as Prime Minister is his commitment to staying in touch with people. Conversations with the Prime Minister has proven to be an active demonstration of good governance.
The pillars of good governance, according to the United Nations, include accountability, transparency and integrity. Conversations is a forum for the Government to truly establish these pillars and regain the confidence of the people.
This conversations event held in St Augustine was highly impressive and the organisers deserve to be commended for their consistency. In the midst of all the media publicity, both good and bad, surrounding the Government, Rowley made it his duty, as first priority upon his return, to make himself and members of his Cabinet available for questions and recommendations from the public.
The Prime Minister did well by choosing relevant Cabinet colleagues for the panel. The Ministers of Education and Works and Transport, while on the panel, were really part of a larger contingent of government officials there to take part. Rowley made sure no one who had a contribution to make was turned away, conversing with them even after the broadcasted programme was scheduled to end.
I was also impressed by the turnout and the high level of discourse that the people in those long lines brought to the table. Some of the issues raised and recommendations made were in relation to drainage and flooding, school facilities and curriculum, corruption, technical and vocational training, Petrotrin, medical sciences and Mt Hope training facilities, housing, youth participation in leadership and the economy.
The answers by the panel were honest and where criticisms came, the Prime Minister was able to shed some light on why the Government made the relevant decisions. What stood out for me was when the Prime Minister identified that one of his major challenges is the level of corruption that exists in the public space. Rowley went on to say that the corrupt will find no protection under his watch as leader of a responsible People’s National Movement administration.
The actions of any government must be able to withstand public scrutiny and this series of Conversations with the Prime Minister is highly commendable in that regard.