Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Time for action by one and all


Mark Fraser

 It is high time people from all walks of life face reality and take steps to stem the violence and unruliness in the country. One is lost for words. This country of ours is blessed with all that one could ask for—fertile land, plenty of fresh water, oil and gas and the rest. The citizens are well informed and literat­e by all accounts. This country of ours is a paradise. Unfortunately we refuse to see this; none are so blind as those who refuse to see!

With all this, who do we have for governing the country? Politicians whose hearts, by and large, are in the right place to govern and deliver the best for its citizens. I said “by and large” very deliberately, since most of these people are sidetracked along the way when it comes to good governance.

Good governance is all about personal integrity, honesty and, above all, a sense of duty to do the right thing by the people and for the people. We have seen all the successive governments since Independence playing the race card one way or the other. 

In recent times, people have got on the bandwagon, to say constitutional changes will bring in the utop­ia. I am not so sure whether conventional, first-past-the-post democracy is the best form for T&T or the proportional representative system. I leave it the experts. However, what I am convinced of is the fact that the current state of affairs in the country is not doing anybody any favours. Our immediate concern is to root out sources of crime.

Enough is enough. Tackling the crime must be one of the prime prio­rities of the incumbent adminis­tration. Is the recently announced Rapid Response Unit the answer? A rose is still a rose, in whatever name it’s called (William Shakespeare); or, in T&T’s case, a thorn is still a thorn, whatever colour you paint it. The Rapid Response Unit alone is not the panacea. How many similar initiatives over the years, by different administrations, have yielded positive results? None. That is the answer. All have been expensive, hyped-up and unsuccessful adventures. These units should not only be target-driven, but should also be accountable for every dollar spent. Unless we as a nation attempt to eliminate or least minimise the root causes crime, we won’t go far.

Culture and climate of crimes and, more so, violent crimes resulting in deaths in T&T have far-reaching consequences as far the nation is concerned. People are scared to travel to T&T. Some cri­tics may argue T&T does not need tourists—we are an oil- and gas-rich nation! This is an idiot’s argument and they live in a fool’s paradise. I beg them to stop for a moment to consider how long these oil and gas reserves will last. Not forever is the sad truth. Investors, especially the foreign direct investors, will all shy away from this place. Let all parties join hands to tackle ever-growing crime in the land. Enough is not enough.

Ratnam Nadarajah

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