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Tuesday 23 July 2019
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Letters to the Editor

Why we are where we are at today

THE EDITOR: The weekend news could be summarised in one word: “depressing.” The forecast of dark economic clouds on the horizon due to the scarcity of natural gas could not overpower the sinking feeling in the stomach when the details of the gruesome murders are read. The woes of WASA and scarcity of water made my throat dry.

This is the state of TT today, shy of six decades as an independent nation. We are a blessed land and a blessed people, with an abundance of natural resources that are unavailable to other nations of comparable size and colonial history. Yet as we struggle for basic needs of food, water, personal and economic stability, those nations have moved ahead and become trailblazers in their own right. Why have we not done the same?

One story that to me highlighted why was a piece on the proposed multimillion-dollar road to Toco. Being a resident of Sangre Grande, my mind went back to just under two decades ago when the idea was first proposed under prime minister Basdeo Panday.

Much investment was being offered to a part of the country long forgotten, with great promises of economic advancement. But the project never got off the ground. Why? The residents protested bitterly, their voices amplified by the PNM politicians who they supported, many of whom are still in public office today.

Fast track to 2019, the project is back on the front burner. Apart from 19 years, nothing has changed essentially except that the PNM is in office. But grumblings, if any, about “flora and fauna” are not to be heard, at least not in the loud, almost violent tones of 19 years ago.

The political allegiance of the people of Toco is not hidden, so it seems as though principles of economic development stand solely on the shifting sands of politics.

The Toco story is not isolated but it is testimony to what happens of TT. For better or for worse, we never stand on principle. We support things merely based on which politician is promoting it. And when the reins of power change, so does our support.

In this way, there has never been a concrete vision in our future, and in spite of our once abundant wealth, we have no real plan of where we want to be. Projects are meant for short-term benefit only, but never with future planning in mind.

So as a people, we cannot blame the politicians solely but must shoulder the responsibility for where we are. We have no vision as to where we want to be, how long we are willing to take to reach any goal, and even if the vision is present, we have no diligence to work towards it. Sadly, we seem doomed to be a post-colonial developing nation.

VEDAVID MANICK, Sangre Grande

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