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Politics in TT must be a conversation, not a row

Friday, April 21 2017

THE EDITOR: Since the general election of September 7, 2015, which saw the People’s National Movement become the elected Government, replacing the People’s Partnership, the national state of affairs has experienced a constant rate of decay.

It is unfortunate that an oil-rich nation, referred to in the past as the New York of the Caribbean for its economy, level of infrastructural and societal development, and its standard of living, is now on the path to become the Zimbabwe of the Caribbean if conditions and policies remain as are.

So how did TT reach this boiling point of underdevelopment when in the period 2010-2015, under the leadership of Kamla Persad-Bissessar, the nation enjoyed significant growth and improvement and was elevated from Third World to developing nation.

The fact is the past 18 months under the Dr Keith Rowley-led administration has been absent of vision, absent of innovation, no sense of national direction, little concern if any about the rights, liberties and standard of living of citizens, as well as total disregard for the principles of good governance.

If we are to remedy the crisis facing our nation, the politics must develop to where it is a conversation between the Government and citizens and not an argument.

The politics must be one where the citizens tell the Government where they want to go as a nation based on the principles of equality, democracy and liberty, while the Government responds with the best approach possible to achieve what is not only desired by the population but what is in citizens’ best sustainable interest.

As the renowned British Conservative philosopher Michael Oakeshott said, “Politicians should not see their task as moving society in a particular direction, towards a goal or series of goals. Rather, they should allow the people to set their own direction naturally and ensure the State is maintained in a safe and secure condition.” Upon reflection, the Rowley-led administration has been doing the total opposite. It has been leading TT into a direction which satisfies its own political goals, enhances the economic gain of its financiers, promotes self-gain of a selected few of its supporters, all at the expense of citizens who are being economically, socially and humanly suppressed.

The ignorance towards the needs and wishes of the population by the Government is demonstrated in situations such as the deteriorating healthcare system coupled with numerous cries of citizens which are met with the Government’s refusal to open the brand new Children’s Hospital built by the last administration.

With each passing day those in authority consistently ignore the pleas of the population to provide safety and security due to spiralling crime as the Government seems to lack the political will to address the situation.

In the past 18 months, the Government has abandoned its responsibility of ensuring a sustainable standard of living and prosperity for citizens as it has failed to generate employment, contributed to thousands of job losses, imposed numerous tax increases and significantly reduced if not eliminated the social safety net available to the vulnerable.

The term “governance for the people” is often proclaimed in global politics but this has been the perfect example of governance against the people.

Governance must be about listening and reacting to the needs of those the Government is constitutionally bound to serve. The alternative is leading the people towards goals which they may not desire, with unpredictable consequences which could threaten the preservation of the better features of society.

NICHOLAS MORRIS via email

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