THE EDITOR: General elections are held on a five-year cycle in TT and judging from the last few elections, I strongly recommend that they be held every 18 months. Here are the reasons for my recommendation.
In the first year, the elected party complains that the treasury is empty.
In the second year, there are accusations of theft and corruption.
The third year is about what the last government should have done and did not do and the initiation of commissions of enquiry.
The fourth year – and this is where the start of the last 18 month comes in – the government in power states what it is going to do, although there are no funds available.
The fifth and final year, which is an election year, hundreds of human and infrastructure-related projects are enunciated and get started without the available funds.
Here are some of those planned by the current Government:
A causeway from Port of Spain to Chaguaramas.
The San Fernando Waterfront Project.
Rebuilding of Skinner Park in San Fernando.
Generous delivery of food cards.
A port in Toco, Trinidad, for Tobago.
A highway to Toco to this new port is to be built. Both port and highway to cost $5 billion (estimate) although local tourists to Tobago are in the decline due to the state of the economy and the planned highway would in a crime hot spot area.
A new airport in Tobago to cater for an increase in foreign arrivals. Foreign arrivals in Tobago dropped from 99,000 ten years ago to 19,000 presently, although $38 million is given to subsidise these 19,000 tourists. This decline in arrivals will be reversed when the new airport is built because tourists like to see a new airport. Just for comparison, tourist arrival in Jamaica is around 4,500,000.
There is no training of locals on how to interact with tourists to cause them to want to return. Many people associated with tourism in Tobago have two jobs because unemployment there is approximately three per cent, virtually no unemployment, according to a conference held there last year. So Tobago will survive with or without tourists.
Three boats for the Trinidad to Tobago run (one already in service).
A new hospital for Arima, one for Point Fortin and one for Tobago.
A highway to Manzanilla.
A new block for the Port of Spain General Hospital.
A new mental health system/buildings.
A new cancer centre.
A new arm of UWI in Debe.
Flood mitigation in Port of Spain and in the Penal area.
Dredging of the Port of Spain port.
Repair of pothole in existence for over four years.
Drilling of new wells by WASA to cater for a drought similar to 2019.
Four hundred million dollars worth of public housing is in the planning stage.
Refurbishing of the four heritage buildings in Port of Spain for $600 million, although there is no money for repairs of the Claxton Bay school.
The sum of $17 million for the third home of the Prime Minister in Tobago, plus the daily cost of security and maintenance for this house to be used a few times a year.
The new port in La Brea.
The new Chinese complex in Pt Lisas.
The Curepe interchange.
These are just some of the projects that are to be done in the last year of a government in office, hence you will agree with me that since the last year in office for a government is one of total rebuilding, elections must be held every 18 months so that we will have First World status at the end of the next 18 months.