THE EDITOR: The people debating the 2022 budget are supposed to represent us. They are from among us and are our representatives in Parliament. If they truly reflect who we are then we are in big trouble.
There will always be different positions on the way forward. That is normal and is expected. One expects that both sides would not only go to the Parliament prepared for a good debate but would do so knowing that the people they represent are watching.
While one may struggle to forgive the reading of one’s presentation, the mispronunciations, the abuse of the English language and the cross talk that borders on the obscene, it can be said that those shortcomings are common in many of us.
The areas of concern are:
* Almost everyone from both sides of the aisle seem to be duty bound to heap praises on the leader of their party. Praise? Really?
Grand Chemin, Moruga, has been without water for over a week while the reservoirs are overflowing with water; there are potholes – make those craters – in every community; and citizens continually struggle to access basic government services like paying customs duty, taxes, and national insurance without having to wait in long lines and carry with them large sums of exact cash.
How can one then be heaping praise on the leaders who could have addressed those shortcomings?
* There was the case where an opposition representative took pride in stating boldly in Parliament that a leader in Europe was critical of our government. Proud of criticism from a person whose forefathers once enslaved our people without respect for human live and dignity.
Not for a moment did that representative think that anyone disparaging our government is disparaging TT. He did not think that despite our differences politically, we are in this together and our response politically and otherwise to external threats need to be a patriotic concerted effort to alleviate possible discomfort to our citizens.
* Of note was the plea from members for basic services in their community. One representative spoke about a bridge that was in such a state of disrepair that a large sector of the community would be inconvenienced with further damage.
In this 21st century, in a country of less than 1.5 million people and a budget of $52.4 billion, representatives are begging for simple things like bridge maintenance?
The budget debate was painful to listen to. It demonstrated a level of incompetence at almost every level of governance. From poor and neglected infrastructure to an almost total lack of concern from those we voted into office to represent us.
In the end what we heard was praise for the leaders, shameful criticisms and the highlighting of the ills that confront our citizens daily.
Our representatives are a snapshot of our population, and the picture is reprehensible.