Archive for October 25th, 2007

October 25, 2007

Manifest Manifestos

Home at last and truly exhausted so I will keep it short as I just need to vent to myself really and somehow doing it here makes me feel better. The COP released their manifesto today and tomorrow the other two parties will do the same. I must say the COP one is quite comprehensive even though it is just the first of a trilogy. The next two will deal with implementation plans and a timetable for achievement. It seems the two most radical things they are proposing are the movement of many current government services to a community level and the right of recall which will allow voters to dismiss their representative should he or she not perform. Both excellent ideas in my book.

My ranting concerns the state of lawlessness that exists in this land of ours. There is a complete lack of courtesy that extends to how some people seem to regard human life and reaches its nadir on the roadways. I have to drive every evening at around 7 along the main East-West highway, the Churchill Roosevelt, to get from ieTV to 90.5FM, maybe a 15 kilometre drive. During that time I witness things that make my mind reel and invariably results in me having to take an Excedrin when I reach my destination. Because of the hour traffic moves briskly along the three Eastbound lanes and I am usually able to drive the speed limit with no difficulty. This does not seem to be enough for  about 50% of the people. They whip across lanes with nary an indicator light in evidence and then whisk back again for no discernible reason. While I am in the “slow” inner lane drivers come speeding up within inches of my bumper flashing their lights to get me to drive faster, presumably they are aware of some amendment to the speed limit I am not privy to. And mind you, the lane to my right is clear so they could easily switch. Cautious drivers, such as myself, keeping an eye on my right mirror and the rearview mirror have clearly also not been informed that what we know as the “shoulder” is really a high speed lane. Cars overtake missing headlights and once they pass it becomes obvious that taillights are also clearly an unnecessary accessory.

Driving in Trinidad is not a commute it is a local version of Russian roulette. What angers me most is that night after night facing this horror I have yet to spot a traffic cop or a police car waiting at the side of the highway. Apparently when night falls the entire lot of them vanish like an unsecured pet in a yard in Barataria. I need to know how a country that can afford a blimp for the police to do who knows what can’t ensure that citizens are safe when they drive themselves and their families on the nation’s roads? The National Security Minister needs to explain to me, as if I were a small child, why this situation prevails when he has billions of dollars at his disposal. Perhaps if he spent less time explaining that things are much better as regards serious crime ,despite that silly business of a murder rate of 280 as of today just short of last years 300 plus figure, he might me able to devote himself to dealing with things that actually make us safer. Maybe his human resource background seemed like the perfect qualification for his portfolio to the PM but to me it means his has no clue as he has proven over 5 years. Admittedly, his qualifications are superior to his predecessor ( who lasted a year) whose qualification was that he ran a nightclub. I think both choices indicate a contempt for the needs of the population. Rewarding party hacks and repaying favours seems more important than finding square pegs for square holes. Frankly, if i were the PM in charge of a National Security Minister who has proven to be the abject failure that he manifestly is, I would fire him and banish him to live in one of the areas with the highest murder rates…then I would apologize to the population and fire myself.

The main problem here is a complete lack of accountability on the part of those holding public office. In the case of the current government, and I hesitate to even bestow such a grand title on them, has spent around to 150 billion dollars of OUR money and what do we have to show for it?  We have large swathes of the country that do not have a reliable supply of water, bad roads in many areas of the country, traffic that means many people spend 4 hours a day commuting on an island that is not that big, people dying from incompetence and sleeping on the floors of the health institutions, no fully equipped  hospital in Central Trinidad, a ridiculous crime rate and a single digit “solved crime” figure, no burns unit on the island with several industrial parks and a lot of tall buildings going up in the capital. Hmmmm. What have they spent our money on you ask? well…again..a lot of tall buildings, some street lighting, some recently paved roads in some areas, a billion stadium at Toruba that is not yet finished which we simply had to have for the Cricket World Cup 2007 that is long gone and, of course, the blimp. Oh! I forgot, the 150 million dollar PM’s residence and “diplomatic centre”. Are these things worth 150 billion? You decide but I can assure you we can’t get that money back.

While I have been typing a moderate rain has started and I can tell you with 100% certainty parts of Port of Spain have been flooded. The perennial canard the government drags out is that this is caused by people dumping old appliances etc.  in the drains – attention government! There are no dumped appliances in downtown Port of Spain! It is a result of your incompetence. Can the opposition do any better? Who knows. The UNC had their chance and admittedly did a better job with water and the roads but 100s of millions are still missing as a result of an orgy of corruption and the combination of Panday, Warner and  Maharaj is about as stable as nitroglycerine on a Tabaquite road. The COP has no track record but has some good people though I have no idea if they would do what they promise efficiently. All I want is what is best for the great people of this amazing country.

As a side note, I had to drive Tony back to the office this evening and all I could think is “I am driving someone I admire intensely and who also happens to be the CEO of a multi-million dollar company and a major player in T&T’s largest conglomerate..oh god…let some idiot not run into me”. Apologies, I just noticed i said this would be a short blog and it has turned into a major rant. Such is the nature of blogs. Off to bed now.

Addendum: Peg I just got your email…I will check out the link tomorrow..too tired now…thanks for sending it.