THE EDITOR: Three times a charm; meaning when after two failures you try again and you get it right the third time. Never more truer than Marlene McDonald’s third appointment as a government minister. From all accounts this time is surely a charm, circumventing all previous mishaps and snafus.
The Prime Minister has got it right thus far. He understands the gamble and has attempted to mitigate the risks, first by insisting there will be no invitees to McDonald’s third swearing-in and, second, by appointing her as a minister in the Office of the Prime Minister while still holding a portfolio. He has in one fell swoop strengthened his hand over two of the most troublesome areas of government.
The naysayers may very well note that the Prime Minister is still the man responsible, even as he balances the competencies of the minister and seeks to strengthen his governmental agenda. From all accounts the goodly minister is reported to be highly efficient and even more effective both as an orator and an administrator.
The Prime Minister, who recently scored a “D,” is sorely in need of an efficient and effective Public Service. Public sector reform, a hallmark of previous PNM governments, has been given the short end of the stick. I hope the minster applies herself to an accelerated reform programme with immediate effect.
Governmental information likewise has been woefully inadequate and is primarily responsible for the big “D.” I am not convinced and do not subscribe to the view that this Government has done and is doing nothing. Compared to previous governments, both of the PNM and the UNC in particular, which spent millions advertising even the opening of a standpipe, it may very well seem like nothing.
However, I am of the view that what this Government is doing is not what we are used to seeing a government do or, more likely, not what we want it to do. Thus it is that the appearance of “nothing” takes on new meaning.
The minister must set as her first task explaining to the population the new direction this Government has taken, its emphases and policies, redirecting expenditure from public sector works to conservation and debt repayment, the eradication of waste and over-spending, and the merits of balanced budgets.
These are not attractive propositions for a population used to the opposite. This Government has chosen a road to responsible government and conservatism, believing that it can pull this country and its people up by their boot straps.
SATU-ANN I RAMCHARAN, political scientist, Maraval