Why we must act for the good our of country
It is difficult to be living in this country and remain unmoved by the deteriorating state of political and social life and its likely impacts on the economy. At the same time, one cannot help but be buoyed by the unflagging enthusiasm and social activism of those who toil selflessly to instil and nurture hope of a better tomorrow. The challenge is to negotiate the highs and the lows and maintain a balanced, comfortable normalcy as we go about our search for meaning in life in 21st century Trinidad and Tobago.
Many are appalled at the pervasive corruption, the inadequate accountability and the poor governance, characteristic of the way in which the affairs of State are conducted. Dismay often gives way to despair as so many institutions established as watchdogs of our interests seem to be crumbling.
Frustration festers as citizens feel a sense of helplessness and uncertainty about what recourse is available to them in the circumstances. We should not underestimate the potential for such pent-up emotions to erupt, undermining a fragile socio-political stability. The current political discourse provides little hope of change any time soon, change that would enhance citizen empowerment. Whatever is said to the contrary, brand TnT is being considerably tarnished by the goings-on.
The coalition of the corrupt may constitute a formidable force to be reckoned with, but do they outnumber the good? Regardless, why does the wrongdoing prevail and even proliferate in this our native land? History records that “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing”. It would be tragic then if those who profess disgust at corruption and governance failure waver in an unhealthy state of apathy and inaction because “it’s just the way it is”.
In the struggle for the soul for the nation and control of the economy, the good must overcome the bad and the ugly. We must liberate ourselves from the negative mindset. We must identify and partner with like-minded citizens and allies in civil society and organise ourselves into a cohesive, coherent lobby and countervailing pressure group with a plan, strategy and action to take back the country from the “tenderpreneurs” and political financiers. When many are involved, apathy decreases, helplessness ceases. Standing alone, chances of withstanding and overcoming the blight of endemic corruption are almost non-existent. But there is unbelievable strength in unity of purpose and action. Against all odds, the impact of the Arab Spring still resonates.
We citizens can make a difference, for we have more power than we think or know we do. And it is surely not limited to the ritualistic staining of the forefinger every five years. We act responsibly exercising this power to review our Constitution and effect the required changes to increase citizen influence in the governance processes. And we act wisely, remaining alert, ever vigilant in our self-interest. Loopholes in these arrangements are blatantly and continually exploited for greed and personal gain at the expense of the common good.
Failure to act is not an option, for this would condemn us as
“…pitiful isolated individuals…(to go)…into the dust bin of history!” I am confident that this is not the destination of choice.
Winston R Rudder