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Letter: Our progress is totally dependent on our willingness to embrace local government reform
Published on March 8, 2017 Email To Friend    Print Version

Dear Sir:

Some things are dependent on other or they just cannot happen. For example, unless a car engine is cranked by some force it will not start. That is the way it is with fixing Trinidad and Tobago. The problems we face socially, economically or physically cannot be solved by a group of people elected every five years that meet periodically. There is a successful formula that is common in almost every developed country in the world and that is a strong management model at the community level.

It is impossible to develop outside of that model. WASA in St Joseph should not have to authorise and initiate action to connect a water supply in Diego Martin. The ministry of works should not have to organise and execute contracts to repair a landslide in Moruga or Rio Claro. The commissioner of police in Port of Spain should not be the one to approve a firearm’s licence for the farmer in Cedros or Toco. The tourism ministry or the tourism company should not be the one to determine the financial viability of constructing launching facilities in Chaguaramas or upgrading a hiking path to El Touché with an appropriate viewing tower at the summit.

These should be planned and executed by the communities in a managed structure similar to what obtains in the developed world.

Communities should be able to raise funds for their development, sustainability and security. Moruga and Toco for example can upgrade their beach facilities and charge appropriate fees for accessing these facilities. St Joseph and Maracas can hire appropriate personnel to ensure that a journey to the top of El Touché is safe and enjoyable for a fee. Camping grounds with proper sanitary facilities can be constructed and maintained at our rivers, mountains, caves and beaches all managed by local communities.

There is already over eighty defined communities in Trinidad with a police station in every community. There is an urgent need to restructure policing to allow for community electronic surveillance, community police patrols and a management of policing under the authority of the community management and not central police management. There is an immediate need to separate community police from national state police.

No PNM, UNC, DPTT or other political party can solve the problems confronting Trinidad & Tobago unless there is radical reform in the management structure. That reform must start with empowering our communities to manage their lands, infrastructure, fire services, security services, courts, health services, educational facilities, sports facilities, cultural affairs and tourism. Local government reform is urgent and must start now.

God bless our nation.

Steve Alvarez
Reads: 3469

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