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Focus on the simple stuff first

OVER the years, much has been said and written about new politics and governance. The business of governance has evolved into a complex, very expensive and divisive endeavour.

It is disappointing that after centuries, mankind is still struggling to devise a structure to allow for the peaceful existence of each other.

The citizens of Trinidad and Tobago, like many others worldwide, do not need complex voting regulations and constitutional arrangements while the nation still struggles with the basics.

Some of the simple things our citizens really need are:

· to be able to go to bed knowing if their property or person is threatened, a simple call to the nearest police station will result in a timely intervention from those responsible for protecting our communities;

· there is a reliable water supply and electricity service;

· that disputes can be efficiently, expeditiously and fairly settled in a court of law;

· that their environment is maintained and kept clean;

· that their children can have access to a safe, clean, modern and fully staffed school system where they are prepared to face the challenges of an ever-changing world;

· that citizens are allowed to freely practise their religion without fear of persecution;

· that the vagrants, homeless, mentally challenged and poor are adequately and respectfully treated and properly housed.

· that Government services like getting a passport, transferring a car, getting a driver’s permit or clearing goods from the nation’s port are not tedious tasks exploited by corrupt public officials, but instead are expeditiously competed by customer-friendly Public Service professionals;

· that public offices are clean, healthy working environments that encourage employees to give of their best;

· that public officers are adequately compensated for their labour;

· that mothers can bring their newborn into the world in a clean, peaceful, aesthetically pleasing health facility rather than the hot, insect-infested rooms with limited facilities that is common in some of our nation’s hospitals;

· that in the event there is a natural disaster, there are clearly indicated emergency routes and response teams in every community to provide emergency food and shelter;

· that at the nation’s Carnival celebrations there are adequate toilet facilities, well-structured programmes with adequate compensation for those who invest in making this celebration the nation’s largest tourism package;

· that our historic buildings, sites and engineering feats like our train system and water supply system at the Hollis Reservoir are well documented and preserved for future generations;

· that the signage on our nation’s streets are to international standards rather than the small signs that are unreadable from a distance;

· that our agricultural lands are defined, surveyed and preserved for agriculture and an agricultural policy be developed to determine what will be cultivated for export, for supplemental food security and for livestock;

· that tourism, energy, food production, technology, construction, the pan industry and cultural events be all integrated into an overall plan to earn foreign exchange and strategically place Trinidad and Tobago to be competitive over the long term.

Only when we are focused on these things can we boast of good governance and developed-nation status.

God bless our nation.


Steve Alvarez

via e-mail
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