N Touch
Sunday 23 September 2018
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The storms around us

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley

Because we believe that “God is a Trini” we are spared the devastation that is occurring in the rest of the Caribbean.

The hurricanes, sent by God to devastate our island neighbours do not come here and wreak death and destruction upon us. If you wonder why not. Why God decides to send havoc to the other islands, but not here. Consider that God probably accepts that we in T&T wreak such havoc and corruption upon ourselves, that She spares us the terrors of natural disasters.

This opinion about hurricanes and God is facetious of course, for most storms pass north of us without God’s interference. Indeed, if it was God sparing us from storms, why does God send such bewildering incompetence and crime and corruption as a permanent curse upon us?

While hurricanes devastate islands and even North America in deadly weekly succession, we continue to stumble along, having reached the saturation point of corruption, crime and incompetence. We can no longer hide our failings—they are bursting through the secret envelopes, the broken pipelines and the slashed open veins of our people.

But it is nature’s deadly happenstance that is wreaking havoc through the northern Caribbean, wiping out homes, schools, offices, shops and infrastructure. All of those islands are being brought to their living and economic knees in ways totally unimaginable to almost every one of us here in TT. But we are lucky enough, or blessed enough to have God Herself be a Trini and spare us these devastations.

So what do we do to build upon our geographic and weather blessings? We work slowly (we never get brisk!) to destroy our infrastructure by ignoring maintenance, we cannot provide ourselves with a steady supply of water or electricity, notwithstanding our natural resources. Our education system is collapsing into a state of anarchy. Violent crime is spreading across the land like a plague. We allow all sorts of people to shut down our marine lifeline to Tobago as they seek to find smoking half-sunken ferries to bring here to join Colm Imbert’s piece of junk—the MV Su.

Face it, citizens: We care for nothing here in this place. There is no leadership in Government or in Opposition. There is no leadership in business or in labour. How are the estates dealing with our crises and revelations of corruption which are preventing progress and denying our citizens their due? They appoint a series of investigations to stumble over each other and create enough confusion for every miscreant and incompetent to walk free. And the status quo continues to sink, until everything is dead and broken. What is this deadly silence that has enveloped us as we watch our country collapse into a failed state?

And while we continue towards economic collapse, the Water and Sewerage Authority announces that they are asking for people to pay more for the irregular supply of this necessity. I will submit a comment to the Regulated Industries Commission (the bureaucracy which decides if WASA gets more money to waste). However, I refuse to pay any more monies to the Government for anything until the Government gets a grip on itself and starts to become efficient and effective in all that it has to do.

Our biggest faults and slackness in this land of ours are waste, inefficiency, corruption and the total lack of concern about all of this. All of this deliberate incompetence and dishonesty is embraced by us. We boast of how little we do at work and how we “hide” from supervisors. WASA’s management and workers must become hard working and efficient, fix all their leaks and collect the unpaid water rates which too many refuse to pay. Then there will be “water for all” and the utility will not need to raise its rates. We can do this.

I watch our Prime Minister dance uncomfortably on just two of the issues before us: On matters of the port and the ferries, with investigations still ongoing, just Mr Mouttet’s unofficial report before him, the PM is aware of corruption which he will root out, and wrongdoers will be punished. However, in the “missing oil” matter at Petrotrin, with auditors’ reports pointing to fraud, Rowley sits quietly outside the fray, leaving the issue to Petrotrin. He acknowledges that he is a friend of the person involved at Petrotrin, but apparently not with the ferry people? I offer no further comment, as we wait to see how these two issues play out, side by side, other than to suggest that Mr Mouttet look into the missing oil fiasco?

If our estates cannot see that they must get together to save the country from itself, the storm that we are courting will destroy us all.

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