N Touch
Wednesday 16 October 2019
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Commentary

After 57 years, where are we?

GUEST COLUMN

STEVE ALVAREZ

ONE DAY an IT graduate was a tertiary education lecturer having fun sharing her knowledge with her students, the next day she was called by a prime minister to be minister of health. With no experience in healthcare, government or public service, this individual was given the responsibility for the health of a nation.

Such a faux pas would be funny if it did not mean that somewhere a poor individual seeking healthcare would continue to experience the inefficiencies that have plagued the health sector. This simply because of what some may see as a callous appointment. That was the judgment of a prime minister that is today calling for the general election to be held now.

The recent arrest of a then sitting Cabinet minister caused many to question the judgment of another prime minister who chose that person from among the many other Members of Parliament. Political standards seem to differ from that of real life.

People whose profession is to seek loopholes in law and innovative ways to arrive at a not guilty verdict, without caring whether the person is guilty or not, are elevated to positions that require impeccable integrity.

Businesses that invest in employing qualified personnel for their operations, support and invest in political individuals whom they will not hire at entry management level at their institutions.

All of this exists as race, nepotism, cronyism and greed replace merit, honour and patriotism.

The result is a nation with thousands of acres of fertile land that cannot feed itself. An educated population with many of the youths having a tertiary education but no job that reflects their qualifications. Communities plagued by crime. A judiciary that is almost totally ineffective as it is commonplace for matters before the court to exceed ten years.

A police service on an island without a boat. An island blessed with beautiful birds, picturesque mountain ranges, waterfalls, immaculate beaches, caves, swamps and a cultural mix that is the envy of the world with a poor and pathetic tourism sector.

A land that is responsible for the invention of the internationally acclaimed steel pan but does not hold the patent for the instrument as pans are mass produced in the US. An island that has had more income than most of its Caribbean neighbours that struggles with basics like road maintenance, water distribution, street signage and waste disposal.

The airport of TT can boast of First World technology and equipment but Third World operations. Maintenance of public buildings are so poor that the buildings that were once the offices of the Prime Minister, President and Parliament all fell into such disrepair that they were no longer habitable.

Institutions outside of the political arena, for example labour, that once challenged the decisions of politicians, is today ineffective and embrace a similar path of inefficiency and poor representation. This is not surprising as the last and present Labour Ministers were once labour leaders.

Additionally, one of the largest labour unions that represent the public sector has a leader that is also the leader of a political party.

The people of TT sadly have chosen a path of divisiveness, inefficiency and decadence anchored by a culture of racial voting. This is the state of TT as we get ready to celebrate 57 years of independence.

Even now as there are daily calls to hold an election now and a rejection of the PNM, there is a dearth of solutions to our problems from many seeking the vote of the population.

The Democratic Party of TT stands alone above the political rhetoric and bacchanal, resolute in our commitment to unite the people of TT as they continue to provide pragmatic, practical solutions to our problems.

Every citizen of TT ought to join with the DPTT to offer our nation a way out from the clutches of greed, inefficiency and corruption that have plagued our politics. That must be the way forward for TT. Is there any other viable alternative?

Steve Alvarez is the political leader of the DPTT

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