THE EDITOR: For some time now I have been wrenching under the pressure of exasperation inflicted by fellow citizens – politicians, intellectuals, trade unionists, and the man in the street – to name a few categories.
Imagine teachers who are supposed to be the eyes and brain of the nation, marching up and down for increased salaries in the face of declining economic conditions. Certainly, I have not forgotten our lawmakers and dispensers of justice who were so eager to have their salaries increased not too long ago.
To my fellow citizens, I say, the signs of impending challenges are all around us. This is not reserved for TT alone. It seems that worldwide we are in the era of challenging economic times.
I recall a few years ago, a past president of TTUTA, Roustan Job, and I passed through Venezuela on a mission to Ecuador. The indelible impact on me was the stampede of hustlers towards us for US dollars outside of the Venezuelan airport and the armed guards around the restaurants of Ecuador. At the time I did not know that we were witnessing the death of the Venezuelan economy. In hindsight, I now know.
Indeed, it seems to me that we all are as complacent as the merry frog, jumping up and down, oblivious of its death in boiling water.
I say this in response to Pointe-a-Pierre MP David Lee who lamented how disheartening it is that in a once robust economy, citizens are now struggling to obtain forex – a decline which can only lead to negative repercussions such as further business closures, loss of jobs and act as a deterrent to foreign investors.
I have said it before and repeat it now. The Government of the day, on a continuous basis, immediately has to begin a rigorous programme of enlightenment as to the nature and dynamics of a modern economy. Our people simply don’t show that they understand how a modern economy functions.
The money we spend is not just coins and notes. It represents the strength or weakness of our economy. Unless we understand this, the kind of inflation and economic stagnation which can emerge will grind us into oblivion.
Things have changed. So far, the Government has managed to help us survive. But more importantly, how long will this tenuous state of survival persist? Yes, Tony Lee, it is not 1962.
RAYMOND S HACKETT