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Letter: Are we ready to move forward?
Published on June 17, 2017 Email To Friend    Print Version

Dear Sir:

Is it possible that the British were deliberately irresponsible when they left the Caribbean to be managed by descendants of slaves and indentured servants? Are the Caribbean people incapable of effectively managing themselves? Were the British wrong in assuming that the Caribbean people were adequately educated and politically mature to build on the foundation of government that they created? Are the people of Trinidad and Tobago capable of effectively managing themselves?

Over the years the people of Trinidad and Tobago have been blessed with more money per capita than most countries in the world. In spite of such wealth, they have not built adequate roads to effectively deal with their daily congestion. They demolished and destroyed the train and bus system they inherited. The water distribution system is unreliable. A large percentage of the water supply is lost due to leaks in the system. In spite of being blessed with mountains and hills where tanks can be constructed and gravity used to augment the water distribution, most of the water is distributed through a system of pumps.

The system of local government left by the British was destroyed and replaced by an inefficient centralized system or regional corporations. The education system is not structured to deal with those not academically gifted and consequently many are left unqualified for regular employment. This has resulted in a number of unemployed youths turning to a life of criminal activity.

The island that once exported cocoa, coffee, citrus, coconut and sugar as the prime source of income is now incapable of feeding its population locally. The agricultural sector is all but totally destroyed and the country depends on food imports to feed itself.

The people of Trinidad and Tobago seem incapable of doing simple things like run a bus system where routes and schedules are published. Infrastructure projects cost much more than the average global cost as politicians and public officers have little regard for austerity. The justice system is ineffective as courts are clogged up, prisons filled and criminal activity escalates. Many live in fear of crime. There are communities ostracized because of rampant criminal activity.

While this terrible state of affairs persists, there are reports of politicians and aspiring politicians allegedly filling the political space with rhetoric and unproductive condemnation of each other. The media, public interest groups and civil society are yet to begin the process of arriving at a discussion on solutions to the problem that confront Trinidad and Tobago and many Caribbean islands. As the standard of living in many Caribbean islands deteriorates, the leaders become defensive, angry, arrogant and self-righteous. Again one may ask were the Caribbean people ready for independence?

God bless our nation.

Steve Alvarez
Reads: 3170

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