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When hampers are not enough

The time has come for hard decisions and strong decisive action. No longer can anyone in authority hide behind press releases and pictures handing out grants and hampers.

In case the parasitic subordinates of those who wish to destroy and divide our country don't say it, our leaders should realise that "Rome is burning". There can be no excuses for the lack of legislation to deal with recidivism, the failure to address the movement of the masses to and from the capital city via a rail system independent of the constraints of road congestion, the failure to implement structured police patrols, the lack of attention to large-scale squatting on State lands and the illegal construction and operations of businesses and homes on our road reserves.

How can we sit idly by and condone the continued rise in murders, the deterioration of our infrastructure, the failure of our economists to, at the very least, state a plan for economic development over the short and long term?

Since Independence we destroyed many of the structures that governed our country. The colonial leaders trusted our people to be responsible with firearms. Anyone with the proper documentation could have accessed firearms. They trusted the communities to look after their water supply, do road repairs, access State lands, pay local taxes and encourage local development through a strong local government structure divided into counties and wards.

We dismantled that structure for a centralised system, so now someone in a remote village like Matelot or Moruga has to burn tyres in the roadway to get the attention of a minister of government.

We dismantled our rail system, removed from practice structured police patrols, took away our local forest rangers and their powers, failed to maintain the flood control waterways and flood gates and allowed our masterpieces of architecture like the main railway station that is now City Gate,Whitehall, President's House and other buildings around the Savannah to fall into ruin.

As we struggle with rising crime, a young population without direction or vision and an economy held afloat by illegal activities like money laundering and the drug trade, we cling to political power by dwelling on racial and sectarian fears.

This sorry state of affairs can only end through strong leadership and decisive action. Today I call on all patriotic citizens to unite and demand the change that is necessary for our survival. We can do it only if we unite.

Under our democratic system of government, the present administration has just as much time as they have spent in government left to make the changes we deserve. For the sake of our children, it is time to turn things around and put Trinidad and Tobago first.

To the many who may want to exploit the present situation for political mileage I say there is more than enough time for that in the 2015 election campaign. For now Trinidad and Tobago needs all on board to steer this ship through very turbulent waters. Now is not time for mutiny.

Steve Alvarez

via e-mail

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