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Letter: Award the 'Disorder of the Nation' to them
Published on August 25, 2014 Email To Friend    Print Version

Dear Sir:

I am not trying to denigrate Patrick Manning’s character or principles. I am saying he did not accept the Award on principle but on the political capital it gives him. It must have been a welcomed shocker.

On an aside, I do not think he, Manning, understood the meaning of "sustainable resource use" but, then again, I do not think most, if not all, but one or two elected politicians, understand this concept. So what? If I am correct should he or any of them get an award called the 'Order of the Nation'? Maybe if we are sufficiently ignorant they should. I must admit I am not clear on what basis such an award is made.

Deviating further, I was ashamed that Manning, the then leader of this country of which I am a national, was seen by the world to take someone like Benny Hinn so seriously. I mean I am not sure about you but many of us cringed. I mean in my circles there was a collective cringing. Order of the Nation? Who knows?

The PNM before and during Manning’s watch, let's face it, championed a model of failed state capitalism (an oxymoron anyway).

The fact that we have oil and gas is not as a result of any great strategy, policy, principle, regard for institution or upbringing of any sitting politician. The fact that there is great profit demand from outsiders eager to bring their technology and invest in producing and exporting our oil/gas energy or using it as input into mass export of primary commodities for peppercorn rent to make windfall profit, is also not the result of any political, economic or social strategy by anyone, other than to give the resource away under 'spectacularly' attractive circumstances, including wholesale disregard for environmental well-being and inter-generational equity.

With our huge per-capita resource base there is plenty to throw around on an island of one million people. If we stretch our imaginations and agree, however, that such interest and investment was and is indeed due to our brilliance, what did it get us? A first world tertiary education system, where R&D is cutting edge? A world class health system? Top notch infrastructure? High social mobility? Low crime rates? Self sufficiency in anything? A closed industrial system like Singapore, where wastes are converted back to raw materials and reused, resulting in zero-waste targets, and some of the most efficient energy-to-product conversion rates in the world? Order of the Nation? Please.

Three years ago the industries at Point Lisas were audited for comparison to best-in-class for energy-to-product conversion. The inefficiencies recorded alarmed me (while I was on the board of the National Gas Company) but few others. We are at the back of the class. But who cares as long as the product flows.

We collect rent from these outside investments. What do we actually do with the rents? We subsidize unsustainable lifestyles, corrupt public procurement processes to benefit family, friends and financiers, and in the process, spend the rent money, and here we are. We have no value for environmental and public health impacts, losses, etc. Ha ha, who cares. The EMA? Please let us not collapse on our collective selves. Sustainability?

We welcome anyone, anyone with money irrespective of costs. A deregulated inefficient and 'spectacular' profit export energy sector is the PNM model which the UNC advanced seamlessly.

Are Kamla's predecessors who managed the state apparatus deserving of the nation's highest award -- the 'Order of the Nation'? I am not sure. Maybe there are criteria I am unaware of.

I am here trying to understand the basis, the justification, for Manning and Panday being selected for the award. Manning has rejected it. I am sure he thinks he is deserving of the highest recognition. However, he has not rejected it on the basis of principle but political advantage. Manning played the card he was given well. The circus spotlight is now on Panday.

Cathal Healy-Singh
Environmental Engineer
Reads: 4675

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Paco Smith:

While not being privy to all the relevant inputs concerning this article, I must say I found it quite analytical and very informative.

Thanks for sharing your insights.


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