Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 3rd 2014 Contents A32
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Having budgeted to spend approxi-
mately $250-$300 billion in its five-
year term, the Government must have
made a significant contribution to eco-
nomic activity and met a variety of
social and human developmental needs.
The question is, will the critical parts of
the electorate be sufficiently satisfied
with the programmes and achievements
of the People s Partnership government
to want to return it to office in the gen-
Last week we noted that the PP
squandered the substantial political cur-
rency it received in 2010 through poor
governance practices, its failure to
respond convincingly to allegations of
corruption and more.
This week the focus is on how the
Government is expected to fare elec-
torally (2015) based on its performance
in attempting to stimulate economic
growth and meet the several social and
human development needs of those who
have to vote: will the achievements
count for something when the voter
goes into the voting enclosure?
For instance, will the increase in GDP,
the state of medical care, reform of the
Public Service, direct and indirect job
creation by the Government, economic
growth, social welfare programmes and
the like, will the non-party supporter be
sufficiently impressed by the performance
of the Government in economic and
social matters to want to say to the Peo-
ple s Partnership, effectively the United
National Congress, we could take another
five years of your administration?
As stated above, the "critical" electors
are the "political douglas" who are not
fanatical party supporters of either tribe.
The polls are indicating that it is those
electors who will make the difference in
the marginals; the tribes having voted
for their parties in home constituencies.
The pointed question here is: what are
the factors upon which such voters will
make their decisions?
Catching a sense of those realities,
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar
is seeking to have her ministers undergo
an image makeover to appear to be less
"arrogant" and more "caring."
The PNM leadership too has not only
sought to do a makeover on its political
leader Dr Rowley, but from its early
candidate selection, the PNM seems
intent on presenting a slate of candi-
dates more reflective of the society than
has been the norm with this Afro-cen-
As a means of selecting those areas in
which the Government, by its own
choosing, has done some of its best
work, I base the assessment in part on
an online report in which the Ministry of
Planning and Development (MPD) points
to government achievement in selected
areas of the economy and society.
On the issue of crime and security,
the MPD states, "While there have been
considerable reductions in serious crime
over the last fiscal year, it is noted that
there are still many challenges."
Among the challenges: continuing low
detection rates, and an escalation over
the last three years in the number of
murders committed. And while the
report does not identify them as chal-
lenges, the gang culture has not been
countered and crime remains very much
part of the youth sub-culture.
To add to outstanding problems must
be the effective dismissal of the Canadi-
an Commissioner and deputy and the
failure to appoint a commissioner, hav-
ing the incumbent on a "ten-days" plan.
Crime has been a major platform upon
which governments have been voted out
of office in at least the last three elec-
tions. Will the critical electors be satis-
fied that the government has made
them feel safer and is therefore deserv-
ing of their vote?
The reduction of food price inflation
from 20 per cent to nine per cent is an
achievement of significance noted by the
MPD. The cost of food is obviously sig-
nificant to the average citizen/voter. Has
she/he felt that 11 per cent decline in
Food price inflation apart, the MPD s
Web site recognises outstanding chal-
lenges in the agricultural sector such as
a $4 billion food import bill and the
challenge to have agriculture increase its
contribution to the GDP.
The failures of the agricultural indus-
try continue while former Caroni work-
ers remain without farmlands and other
farmers and those in the meat industry
vigorously protest Government s treat-
ment of the sector.
Hospitals remain a priority area for
improvement, states the MPD. That is
nice language for the complaints of mal-
functioning hospitals, avoidable deaths,
especially in maternity wards. The per-
formance of the health sector as it
touches on the lives of people at their
most vulnerable, ie, when they are ill
and in need of medical care, is surely a
matter upon which the critical voters
could decide to cast their votes for or
against the government/ruling party.
The MPD records a steady increase in
the GDP to $89 billion; growth in the
arrival of foreign direct investment to
the level of US$2.5 billion while the
Cinderella non-oil sector has reached
$57 per cent of GDP, are all good-news
items for the Government.
However, the ministry notes that the
fundamental challenges of the economy
remain: the need to increase exports and
for the economy to become more com-
petitive. Are the stated achievements of
the Government likely to persuade the
electorate to return the PP to office?
To be continued
WILL GOVT'S 'ACHIEVEMENTS'
Beware of those who want
to maintain status quo
For almost two decades FFOS has lobbied for
procurement legislation. Every election we are
duped with promises, and then after the election
the procurement bill is left to gather cobweb while
the Opposition sits comfortably awaiting its turn at
the prospect of a feeding frenzy---and oh boy, have
we seen gluttonous frenzies!
We are not surprised that after spending over
$200 billion in four years this Government now, on
the eve of the 2015 general elections, is creating
fanfare with the same promises which we have
heard, ad nauseam.
Our Minister of Planning must be commended for
his efforts but he should be mindful that there are
many who prefer the status quo and will silently un-
dermine his altruistic efforts.
Fishermen and Friends of the Sea
Election nastiness has begun
So the 2015 election nastiness has started! The
recent distribution of extremely distasteful and
racist flyers in some areas of Trinidad targets both
the PNM and the ILP.
It is not difficult to determine who is most likely
to gain if people were to believe that rubbish.
It is amazing the lengths to which people who ei-
ther want to remain in power or get into power will
go.The modus operandi of the perpetrators is very
clear for those who have eyes to see or for those
who want to see.
It is clear that some very influential people in poli-
tics do not love this country and will do anything to
destroy it. They would do well to remember that
God "removeth kings and setteth up kings."
If this is how the 2015 election campaign will be
fought, then God help us in T&T!
Linus F Didier,
Real heritage lost is
godliness in the city
There is an outpouring of empathy for the loss of
our heritage as the Greyfrairs church comes tum-
bling down. A church sold as it no longer served any
The real heritage which we have lost is the godli-
ness in the city of Port-of-Spain. Had citizens been
using the church to pray, God would have saved it
A church in which God is no longer present is the
greater loss of heritage.
Imaam Iqbal Hydal,
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