Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Taken for a ride

 Three days before its 52nd anniversary of Independence, Trinidad and Tobago had the distinct honour of joining the exclusive club of two out of 52 Commonwealth countries to have both the recall and run-off systems. 

The other country is Kiribati, formerly known as Tuvalu and 32 atols comprising Gilbert Islands that have been independent

since 1979. Kiribati has a population of about

100,000 in an area of about 300 square miles that the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projected could be all underwater in about 30 years. Unless there is another blip, T&T would remain the only Commonwealth country with these self-deluding systems.

After 103 years of recall, the USA has managed to remove only two state governors and the French have elected one president under the run-off system. Thanks to three senators, after three days of debates, they have managed to move T&T from Westminster straight to the Palace of Versailles in France and at the top of the list of Third-World, laughing-stock banana repub­lics. Even those three learned gentlemen must know that these systems, even with minor tinkering, have not worked properly anywhere in the world. Just ask the Canadians, Swiss and Venezuelans whom the Government believes are as happy as pappy with recall. 

What is missing from these reforms is the right of recall of the prime minister by way of a referendum because unless there is an outbreak of mad cow disease within a sitting government, the no-confidence vote will

never remove anyone from within their ranks. The next burning questi­on is how will non-performing, unelec­-

­ted senators sitting as ministers be recalled?

The sad part of these reforms is while Kiri­bati is likely to disappear under water, T&T may have to live with them for a long time. Come September 2015, citizens will realise they have been taken for ride on a Disney World train.

Jim Jhinkoo