General Elections are not due for another fifteen months or so, and it is extremely unlikely that they will be called sooner. But everyone is campaigning already—indeed since 2013 when the “preliminaries” to 2015 were being staged—internally and nationally.
The Political Leader of the PNM, who will be chosen in May, is favoured to be our Prime Minister in 2015. This makes the PNM elections more interesting to the rest of us, especially as they are introducing democracy within their Party, after fifty eight years of existence!
But it seems that the abiding concern everywhere is a public completely turned off (and indeed shut out) of politics. People are saying they have no intention of voting again. Those who will participate claim that they will vote for whom they disapprove less.
We are buying rotting fish, on the basis of which fish seems less rotten than the others. Columnists who admit their political allegiance are acknowledging the hopelessness of the political management of our country. But they will vote for “their” party even as they acknowledge they need to wash their hands (and not just for the electoral ink!) after they vote.
So people have now joined the discussion of which Party is worse. Not “better”! Better is the comparative of “Good”, and of one thing we can be sure, good governance, and good management we have never seen.
So for whom can we vote when the polls come around next year? You see dilemma? Can you understand how dire is our future?
Things are worsening daily in terms of most of the basic services supplied by the State. And none of the cancers growing upon the body politic or the management systems of our government are new. They have all been there, festering for decades, but for much of the time we had been able to ignore the multiple sores – our failed security services, health care, education, infrastructure, water supply, basic courteous service at government offices and private businesses, the growth of URP and CEPEP into gangs of criminals defrauding the country, and on and on.
The hope we placed in the Peoples’ Partnership in 2010 was just a vain hope. They are no different than any other government in terms of being there to look after themselves and their own. And we have just accepted this for generations.
The PNM and the UNC can only argue about who is or was worse, in terms of nepotism, corruption, incompetence and assorted bacchanal, like feteing the gang leaders, and appointing the Reshmi’s into high office. And this is not a debate which we want any more. We want performance.
I try to assess “performance” of the two parties—PNM from 2002 to 2010, and the UNC from 2010 to 2014. In matters of perceived corruption, both fail badly, but the PNM lose here for Calder Hart’s corrupt empire, and for the CLICO debacle, which the UNC inherited.
The PNM fails in labour relations, having ignored the working class totally, but the working class hates the UNC! The PNM left us with the huge glitzy shells of buildings, the Tarouba Stadium and Manning’s Guanapo Church, all incomplete. But they provided no water, no health care and no personal security. They failed to pay local contractors—other than their “boys”, including Karamath, who Uff said had been overpaid!
Like the PNM, the UNC appointed their people everywhere, handed out contracts to their boys and seemed to govern by vaps, “inventing” projects which were never mentioned in formal documents like the Budget Speech or the PSIP. But they also did things for the people which the PNM could never, and would never do.
They gave laptops to all students entering secondary school. They reduced the mass flooding, not counting the flash floods of Diego Martin and Maraval, which cannot now be stopped. They embraced the tenets of various Environmental Treaties which the PNM had signed and then abandoned, and have given some hope that we can save our threatened natural environment.
But most important of all, this government has rescued our rural infrastructure from total collapse. While people mock “box drains”, these are vital health and environmental requirements of society, and are enhancing and saving rural communities.
These, plus proper (never before done!) repairs to rural roads like the Arima Blanchisseuse Road and the roads to Matelot, and through Central and South, represent the most important and long overdue investment possible for rural Trinidad.
I believe that with no one else to turn to but PNM and UNC, we need to give the UNC another term to complete the rebuilding of our basic rural infrastructure and to save our forests and wildlife. The PNM did not even care about rural infrastructure or our environment.