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N Touch
Monday 11 December 2017
Letters to the Editor

Time to breathe again

THE EDITOR: Looking at the rocky depression on the Chaguaramas golf course, my son asked why can’t they simply get a truck to deliver a few loads of sand in the bunker and make it functional? I explained that if we were tasked in doing that, it would simply mean picking up the phone, calling a supplier and eventually paying no more than $20,000.

For the Chaguaramas Development Authority however, it may likely have to be discussed at a meeting, placed in a budget plan, prioritised and finally be subjected to huge price increases with sums of money redirected to almost everyone involved in the procurement process.

Bureaucracy is perhaps the major stumbling block to progress in TT. For the PNM Government that has more experience in government than any other political party, it seems to be the norm. It is perhaps the number one reason why very little seems to get done when it is in governance.

There are critical decisions to be made. On the top of the list is finding alternative sources of foreign income. This is closely followed by curbing the daily plague of criminal activity in our communities. In this small island of 70 by 40 miles and a population of under one and a half million people, these challenges are not unsurmountable.

The economic activity associated with transforming Chacachacare into a modern marina and tourist island in conjunction with business partners like Crew’s Inn, the Yacht Club and MovieTowne is enough to provide employment opportunities for thousands in the West of Trinidad.

The resulting foreign income from bunkering services as ships take advantage of our strategic position off the Panama Canal and outside of the active hurricane belt can assist in our foreign exchange earnings.

A new network of roads financed by tolls for some major new highways can provide employment and contractual opportunities for many in the construction industry.

The unskilled personnel in our communities can easily be employed as park rangers, agricultural service personnel, tour guides and security personnel in a new tourism initiative.

With determination and vision there can be renewed economic energy in our country in a short time.

Reducing criminal activity in our communities is not as difficult as it seems. Gun violence can be reduced with a period of gun collection through an amnesty programme where all the guns collected are destroyed publicly.

This followed up by a gun court with nightly sessions and extremely severe penalties for illegal gun possession will put a dent in gun violence.

Zero tolerance for gang activity with strict adherence to our existing laws on loitering and truancy will reduce the perception of some communities deem hot spots.

All of this is possible with reduced bureaucracy, corruption and partisan appointment to critical management positions in our governance structure.

It is time for TT to wake up from a deep depression and hopelessness. Time to reject in strong terms the few who perpetuate division among our people for personal gain.

It is time for us to embrace each other from Port of Spain to Guayaguayare and from Toco to Cedros hand in hand in rebuilding TT. We can do this if we want a better place for our children.

STEVE ALVAREZ via e-mail

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