Friday, January 19, 2018

Dr Rowley deserves an A grade

After two years in office, Dr Keith Rowley has led the Government admirably with many significant victories to date. The challenge of leading with limited resources was only made manageable by a strong cabinet and a strong leader.
Picking up the pieces from the former UNC-led People's Partnership was no easy task with the unprecedented levels of corruption and erosion of confidence in politicians. In spite of these challenges, Dr Rowley was able to steady the economy, make tough decisions and govern based on a philosophy of good governance, transparency, morality in public affairs, prudence and accountability.
The government was able to plug many of the holes in the public system that caused wastage of resources due to corruption and inefficiency. For instance, during his first year in office, Dr Rowley made the call to have all government ministries reduce their expenditure by seven per cent and simultaneously become more efficient.
The corruption taking place in the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) was immediately addressed. Additionally, qualifying household income for HDC was reduced from $45,000 to $25,000 per month to allow persons who were truly in need to acquire homes. The government also increased the disposable income of every employee by increasing the non taxable allowance from $60,000 to $72,000 per year.
The country saw two former UNC political office holders accused of misbehaviour in public office and corruption, being charged by police in one instance and the other being searched and investigated. Dr Rowley also showed his strong leadership by demonstrating his willingness to fire members of his own Government who lost the confidence of the public in carrying out their duties.
Dr Rowley has also made history as being one of the most accessible Prime Ministers we have ever seen. Making many addresses to the nation, appearing live on many radio and television talk shows, continuing his conversations in communities and even volunteering to appear before a Joint Select Committee when the Port Authority of Trinidad and Tobago came under public scrutiny.
These two years have shown that the country made the right choice two years ago on September 7, 2015.
No government is perfect and the PNM has much more to deliver based on their manifesto but for the accomplishments of this PNM administration led by Dr Rowley thus far an A grade is fitting.
Ronald Huggins
St Joseph