THE EDITOR: So the election are just around the corner and the question rolling around in everyone’s mind is: Who do we vote for?
My two fundamental issues are the crime rate, and the diversification of the economy.
The crime rate is still unacceptably high and I believe it is an issue which everyone would agree is a critical one. I mean, what’s the point of living in any country if you never know from day to day if you will be alive at the end of it?
I think appointing a police commissioner who was previously a minister in another government was the right thing, the brave thing, to do and Gary Griffith has certainly made a huge difference in pushing the envelope beyond our complacency zone.
However, we must recognise that both the PNM and the UNC have allowed this cancerous crime situation to fester for so long that it has become a part of our economic and political fabric, with both parties deliberately allocating contracts/revenue to “criminal cancer agents” in exchange for votes. We are now at stage four cancer/crime rate. Having said that, I still believe Griffith is our best surgeon to rid us of this cancer.
The diversification of the economy is also a critical issue, what with the formidable rise of the US fracking industry and the avalanche of alternative energy options, with prices dropping dramatically.
This means we have at best a ten-year window during which we either find at least three other economic pillars to replace the revenue from our one-pillar gas and oil economy, or our country goes into bankruptcy and our citizens get put into a “financial jail” by the IMF behemoth.
In terms of our diversification efforts, both parties have failed miserably.
The reason is simple: the politicians voted into Parliament have neither the experience nor the aptitude to assist in this diversification guidance of our country. We need people who have been successful in this experience previously and know exactly the shortcuts to take and the pitfalls to avoid.
People like Arthur Lok Jack, Dr Aleem Mohammed, Robert Bermudez, Kama Maharaj, Norman Sabga, proven entrepreneurs who have diversified their own businesses. They are the best people to advise our country how to chart this diversification course.
I recommend these people be given a charter as the diversification committee, with a timeframe of 12 months to come up with at least seven recommendations, and another 12 months to implement at least three of these. This is the only practical option which would give our country a chance of “surfing over” this oncoming economic maelstrom – fracking and alternative energy – headed our way.
In conclusion, therefore, I would give the PNM a B grade for appointing Griffith to start the crime-fighting process. But based on past performance, or lack thereof, with respect to diversification, both parties would get a failing grade.
However, whichever party comes up with the best diversification strategy, while keeping Griffith as the police commissioner, would get my vote.