In answer to those who accuse me of being impatient with the current Administration, i would like to remind them that this was no ordinary election but the result of a badly wounded and cornered Government defending itself against attacks of impropriety and corruption, and a rampant Opposition promising the earth, the moon, and the stars were it to get into Office in a manifesto document containing SEVEN INTERCONNECTED PILLARS FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT.
Watching the news tonight it finally dawned on me why the Government appears to be failing. They either never thought they could win the election, or no one in the Coalition really took the Manifesto seriously in the first place.
To put it another way, having put all their energy into fighting Patrick Manning, there was none left to put into the creation of policies to carry out the promises they were making. With no 'go forward' in place to operate as a Government and in the absence of any real plans and policies, members of the coalition, cut adrift from the election machinery with no clear lead to follow, latched on to the one thing they knew, campaigning.
Why are they not guided by their own promises?
In the spirit of their manifesto, and in keeping with 'Pillar 1: People-Centred Development – We Need Everyone and All Can Contribute', and 'Pillar 6: Good Governance – People Participation' - I intend to do just that. Please excuse me when I go from the sublime to ridiculous, but we really need to look at this thing in its own light and I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried.
The Minister of National Security, in referring to the incoming Commissioner's controversial multi million dollar remuneration package responded arrogantly "Pay the man anything if he could get the job done!" to which I ask how much is too high? Is it ridiculous to say, give him Tobago for reducing crime in Trinidad?
Obviously the Minister is being guided by 'Pillar 3: National and Personal Security – Human Security for Peace and Prosperity'.
As if taking his cue from Brigadier Sandy where this Pillar is concerned, the Minister of Justice (which is different to the Ministries of Legal Affairs and the Office of the Attorney General in a yet unexplained way) has one upped the Minister of Works in his call for hanging by suggesting they be hung in the square and i say no, go further. Have the police execute them in the streets wherever they find them and charge their remaining relatives for the bullets. Cut off their heads and give it to children whose parents can't afford footballs.
The Minister of the People, whose job seems to be this Government's equivalent of a HiLo bag boy, is walking the length and breadth of the country with media in tow embarrassing the poor and the destitute for cheap political points. Is there no one around to tell him it is not having the effect he thinks it is having, and that we would respect him more if he was really busy taking care of ALL the nation's poor and needy outside the glare of the cameras? Is this his interpretation of 'Pillar 2: Poverty Eradication and Social Justice – Preference for Poor and Disadvantaged?' Because if he really is going to do it one case at a time it may take very long.
Press Secretary Garvin Nicholas, in trying to defend the Government and this Minister's abandoning the promises made to the elderly on the eve of the election by the then Coalition, has thrown the Party's advertising agency under the proverbial bus by claiming the promises made were a 'misprint.' In a move that woke the Leader of the Opposition from his slumber to register his ire and outrage, the Press Secretary has been trying to do a 'two step' on an issue where honesty is all that was really required.
The Minister of Education has agreed to purchase twenty four thousand laptops and put them in private hands at a cost that could have purchased fifty thousand powerful desktops in twenty four hour computer labs throughout the country that could have facilitated ALL the children of the country as well as could have been used after hours by adults for a nominal fee generating revenue to upkeep said labs.
In almost direct contravention of 'Pillar 4: Information and Communication -Technologies – Connecting T&T and Building the New Economy', and 'Pillar 5: A More Diversified, Knowledge Intensive Economy – Building on the Native Genius of Our People', the Minister and his cohorts endeavored to do the complete opposite of what was promised and one wonders if he ever even read his Party's Manifesto.
What happens next year, another twenty four thousand laptops? If this is not corruption it is stupidity and I am not sure which one is worse.
This one act alone defines the lack of anything like a plan being displayed by the current Government, leaving the only reason to support the present Administration being how nice the Prime Minister looks in evening wear.
The Minister of Health has apparently gone on the rampage and turned her double barrels on the people who she claims are overstaying in the hospital beds after treatment and I say darn straight, this is 2010, can't we perform surgery at the nation's hospitals in something like a drive through?
The Minister of Local Government, Fireworks and Private Warehousing has made friends with those formerly branded as denizens of corruption and is currently finding ways to incorporate special effects into Eid, Hosay, Phagwa and Easter.
The Minister of Agriculture has pulled a racist coup, by using an East Indian Party to fool East Indian people, and lulled the farmers into a false sense of security, making them believe that sustainable food production was ever a real consideration for this Administration.
'Pillar 6: Good Governance – People Participation'. This one point seems to be lost on every member of the current Government, and was immortalized by the Minister of Health when, on the Local Government Elections campaign trail, stepped up to the mike and told hecklers in the crowd "We heard you, now shut up!"
'Pillar 7: Foreign Policy – Securing Our Place in the World', which apparently means a world with no Caricom and a broken relationship with our number one trading partner on the planet, the United States.
Not comfortable with just using motor mouthed Minister of Sports Anil Roberts to insult their Ambassadorial presence here, our Attorney General appears to be working hard to strain the bonds of treaties that bind our two nations by placing himself in the gap for two former Party financiers wanted in the United States for crimes committed in that jurisdiction. This is never going to end well, and again I ask the Prime Minister to instruct her Ministers to be guided by the promises made.
Politics has to function year round if we are to get the politics right. Gone are the days when you can elect a caretaker Government and cross your fingers and hope for the best.
Trinidad is in a very bad way right now, and really does need all hands on deck. The dregs of the last energy boom and the deficit financing we are presently being afforded are the only things maintaining some semblance of national sanity.
When the money eventually runs out ( and if things continue the way they are going it will), there will be little left to keep this place from falling apart completely, seven Pillars notwithstanding.
Something to think about...