From all indications, it is clear our nation is not at a cross-road but in crisis and needs to be rescued. I am not being political or asinine in my approach but rather pragmatic.
As a citizen, I am bewildered by the unnecessary issues we as a nation have to deal with on a daily basis, be it the lack of political will to deal with the high crime rate, the A2 visa scandal, Petrotrin’s oil leak and its public-relations gimmick with cries of sabotage and subterfuge, EMA’s (Environmental Manage-
ment Authority) outrageous fine or the Police Service Commission’s inability to produce timely reports.
Trinidad and Tobago is 51 years old and after careful consideration, one can surmise that we have made very little or no significant progress as an independent nation. If we did, we would have been dealing with more important issues that focus on economic, social and environmental development and considerations, job creation, increased productivity in all areas, ongoing discussions on advancement of our democratic society, updated labour and work-related laws and regulations, innovation and invention, and creative mechanisms to alleviate corruption and nepotism, just to name a few.
The idea that we still politicise everything just makes us resemble a banana republic. In essence, we are in the same ship as the Central African Republic, Sudan and other backward countries.
Imagine the shock and horror that permeated the air when the EMA belatedly announced it had fined Petrotrin $20 million for the first oil spill. This is not only a slap in the face for any right-thinking citizen but simply outrageous and defies logic. Instead of being irrelevant and outdated, the EMA would do well to ask itself a few questions. I hope its management will consider these.
1. How did they arrive at that figure and what will it be used for?
2. Why was it necessary to fine Petrotrin now and not wait until after the spill is cleaned?
3. If Petrotrin refuses to pay the fine, what recourse does the EMA have?
In any case, sabotage or not, Petrotrin’s CEO and board are responsible for what transpired. This is not debatable as according to precedence, in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the CEO was removed. If we are ever to move a step closer to developed-
nation status, then we must pattern ourselves after developed countries such as the US, UK and Norway.