Sunday, March 26, 2017

Time is running out for rescuing Trinidad and Tobago


Every time something alarming happens, like the murder of WPC Nyasha Joseph, the nation contemplates large-scale protests and the media is bombarded with expressions of concern by citizens.
This continues until something more alarming replaces the former area of concern. Meanwhile, time is running out for this Government to turn things around. Unless this administration starts acting immediately, the remaining credit facilities that are available for restructuring may be eroded. Additionally, the willingness of business to enter into agreements with the administration may be diminished as they consider the possibility of a change in government in the next general election. It is critical that this administration start action of the following immediately:
• Embark on a policy of community management that incorporates community policing, electronic surveillance and structured community police patrols.
• Aggressively restructure the tourism package to include preserving historic buildings and dwellings like the remaining gingerbread houses in Port of Spain through a policy of preserving heritage sites including Chaguaramas. Upgrade hiking trails, rivers, beaches, campsites, caves and other natural places of interest to international standards. Lease Chacachacare for private development and improve transportation to the island through a network of bridges and causeways from Port of Spain through Chaguaramas to the rest of the islands. Allow for Tobago to manage its tourism package. Structure Carnival and the steel pan industry into a public-private partnership aimed at international marketing of the instrument.
• Start large-scale cultivation and processing of agricultural products through a public-private partnership that maximises the use of Caroni lands.
• Survey and map all the lands throughout Trinidad and Tobago and designate areas for agriculture, building development, industry, waste disposal, cemeteries, water retention and other uses in a structured manner.
• Restructure State enterprises for efficiency and profitability.
• Upgrade our transportation infrastructure through a new network of roads and a public- private partnership arrangement that incorporates a rail system, buses and ferry services.
• Restructure government services to be more customer friendly and accessible.
• Embark on a new long-term economic model that seeks to utilise the limited balance of our energy products for manufacturing, reduce our food bill through subsidised agriculture, increase our income from tourism by 500 per cent and encourage investment through attractive tax incentives.
These are just some of the activities that should engage the attention of the Government now. We have declining income, our educated and talented personnel are leaving our shores, our communities are becoming too unsafe to attract investments and our policies are unattractive to foreign investors. We need to change things around. We can do this together.
Steve Alvarez
Via e-mail