THE EDITOR: TT’s electoral system ensures that no small party has a chance of winning any constituency, save the two Tobago seats.
That being the case, small parties can most usefully contribute to politics by offering non-populist policy alternatives to the PNM and UNC, which might at least plant some productive seeds for the future.
Unfortunately, what citizens instead get from these small political groups are vague promises which are not based on any expertise at all.
So DPTT leader Steve Alvarez in a letter to the editor offers his leadership as a “Christmas gift” to the electorate. As proof of his competence, he offers a list of goals such as getting WASA to repair roads, a mass transit system in collaboration with the private sector, restructuring tourism to earn foreign exchange, and so on.
But all of his goals are the same as every administration’s, and Alvarez does not say what he will do differently to achieve them.
His lack of policy expertise, however, is revealed by his recommendation that all vehicle licence plates be produced by the State as a means of preventing criminals from using false plates.
The effect of such a policy would be to close down the businesses which now make licence plates, create a black market for criminals who want fake plates (or, more likely, increase theft of licence plates by criminals), and create a shortage of plates for motorists, as invariably happens in state-run companies.
Then we have MSJ leader David Abdulah using the occasion of Christmas to offer his policy prescriptions. But Abdulah’s policies are all based on the socialist ideology which is now wreaking havoc in Venezuela and which, historically, has a 100 per cent failure rate.
Oblivious to the paradox, he writes about “corruption, money laundering and other white-collar illegalities and injustices which do untold damage to the economic well-being of the country,” when all these crimes are due to state interference in the economy, and state control is the foundation of all his policy recommendations.
Abdulah complains about “huge and growing inequality in the world” while ignoring the key fact that the poor have become less poor even as the wealthy have become more wealthy by producing goods and services and jobs for the same poor he claims to be concerned about.
He writes that “today’s global stock, bond, currency and commodity markets are no different from the money changers in the temple in Jesus’ time. Those who operate them profit at the expense of the poor and working man and woman.”
But these financial devices allow the non-rich to obtain homes, vehicles, and appliances, unlike the poor people in the “socialist paradise” of Cuba, and increase the size of the economic pie for all.
The main political parties have both failed to institute policies that will lead to the long-term development of TT. But the policies embraced by these small party leaders would, if implemented, surely lead to economic and social collapse.
Luckily, the average citizen sees right through people like Alvarez and Abdulah, which is why they have no political influence among the masses.
ELTON SINGH, Couva