Trinidad and Tobago marks 52 years of Independence on August 31. We also celebrate 38 years as a Republic on September 24.
Today, this small island developing state must confront many more uncertainties and unknowns than were anticipated when we confidently raised the national flag at midnight on August 30, 1962 or embraced republican status September 24, 1976.
As a people, we seem to be coping fairly well with the growth pains of nationhood and negotiating the challenges of development with some success, as we feel our way to a relatively stable, maturing democracy.
In this regard, we have much to be proud of.
However, not infrequently situations arise which seem to betray a lack of confidence in our institutions and by extension, ourselves.
The clearest example yet is our ambivalence in accepting the Caribbean Court of Justice as the final court of appeal in the land: seemingly comfortable to retain vestigial structures of colonial dominance even as we trumpet our sovereignty at every turn.
Recently, another matter has been a source of concern and cause for reflection! The death of the infant at Mt Hope evoked widespread public outcry, no doubt prompting the establishment of the committee comprising three eminent persons.
It appears very much as using a sledge hammer to kill an ant! Surely, given the remit of a medical complex, there must be procedures in place that automatically kick in when situations like these arise; arrangements demanding demonstration of competence and leadership from the responsible hierarchy of officials of the hospital and Regional Authority without the reflexive, ebullient intervention of an omniscient policymaker, however well-intentioned.
Incidents of this nature are not uncommon in such institutions!
Is it that no such mechanisms exist in our health institutions and that the task of the enquiry extends to looking into and making proposals to address this yawning gap?
Or are we so lacking in confidence that we do not trust in ourselves to competently and fairly deal with such a matter?
The need for foreign expertise to sit on this committee is questioned unless we’re prepared to concede the foregoing.
A detailed examination of the terms of reference, including the timeline for delivery of findings, conclusions and recommendations may be instructive.
Alas, we are yet to come to terms with this matter of self-confidence and nation-building!
Winston R Rudder