While it is not there as yet, this country is heading to a failed state status, Downtown Owners and Merchants Association (DOMA) head Gregory Aboud is warning.
Speaking at a luncheon by the Rotary Club of Central Port of Spain on Thursday, Aboud had sharp words against what he considered a governance model that encourages failure.
“The state operates on a system of patronage (rewarding loyalty). That is how you create failure,” he said.
Those in government, he admonished, are only there to further their own causes and the cause of their parties. Ministerial portfolios are a reward for those loyal to the prime minister.
“They are there to serve their party and not the people. And that defines the difference between failed and successful nations,” Aboud said. The country will not change, unless that system changes.
The people are the ones who are supposed to hold Parliamentarians accountable, Aboud said, and they in turn are supposed to hold Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley accountable. But that can’t happen if ministerial positions are a reward for loyalty.
“We (must) have good rules in place and have a good system that holds our leadership accountable. Give MPs better salaries than Cabinet ministers. If we did that then there would be a real chance we would be able to move from (failing state) to successful state,” he said.
The government was the only real bankrupt entity in the country, he added, when after earning hundreds of billions of dollars it hardly saved any of it. The State should therefore be grateful most citizens can still afford to pay the increases that it needs to run the country.