Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 5th 2016 Contents A17
Tuesday, January 5, 2016 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
One thing I love about
reading BC Pires, aka
Y Boy, is that his voice
is authentic Trini, de conscious
yout man limin on de block.
His article "New Year s dazed
and confused", published January
1, 2016, was lean in banality and
fat in insightful prose. The
movers and shakers in this
country (at least those who are
left after the dust of dismissals
has settled) should take heed of
his analogy of our vision being
backward rather than forward.
We developed a Vision 2020 at
great cost and effort, then dis-
carded it for the expediency of
Seven Pillars and are back to
Looking backward is a country
suffering from Dutch Disease
caused by oil and gas, addicted
to an analogue paradigm (pro-
nounced paradig-em if you are
Trini to d bone), based on divide
and rule, quick fixes and keeping
partisans happy at any cost. The
economic stimulus plan as laid
out so far is therefore, unsur-
prisingly, for the short term. It
focuses on the construction sec-
tor in a bid to create jobs and
drive economic growth.
Are we planning to build our
way out of recession or, Dr
Keith Rowley, are there other
measures under your govern-
ment s sleeve? Looking forward,
what are the medium and long-
term plans for economic diversi-
fication, seeing that we can t
depend on oil and gas to fund
our addictions? The country is
facing a wave of uncertainty
going forward and so far we
have not been handed a sturdy
surf-board to confidently ride
the wave out of recession.
Looking back to the future
(the New Year s Eve paradox) is
a digital paradigm based on
green policies, planning, entre-
preneurship and integration.
There are issues relevant to us,
such as the development of
renewable energy, on which we
China, the world leader in
solar thermal production and
hydropower development, and
largest producer and exporter of
photovoltaic (PV) solar cells,
plans to transition from coal-
fired power generation to renew-
able resources by 2030. They
clearly have a plan! These plans
are documented by the Global
Energy Network Institute (GENI)
and detail the expected impact
on the reduction of emissions,
the development of rural areas
(where food production occurs
and all men must eat) and the
reduction of industry related
health problems such as lung
cancers and birth defects.
Apparently, the United States,
another large energy consumer
in the world, is moving in the
same direction. The reason is
simple really. The cost of energy
production by renewable
resources is significantly
decreasing as improvements are
being made in the machinery
and software technology used to
control the machinery.
As an energy-producing coun-
try, have we caught that wave
and are we moving in the same
direction? What are our plans to
diversify, are we doing any deals
to stimulate technology develop-
ment on existing infrastructure
such as the Tamana Intech Park?
What are the products and serv-
ices that entrepreneurs should be
focusing on in the future so that
we are not left behind in the
wake of obsolescence? What are
the implications for tertiary edu-
cation and GATE, and so forth?
I personally would welcome
answers to these questions, as
well as fresh debate on how we
should be repositioning ourselves
and working together to survive
and beat back the recession.
Happy New Year to all. Stability and
growth of the economy at a time of de-
pressed energy prices, crime, poor
health care, traffic, labour relations and
inspiring a feeling of togetherness are
some of the major challenges that the
prime minister and the PNM govern-
ment face in 2016.
Many of these challenges are not
new but remain prominent, many due
to a lack of commitment to tackle them.
There are many citizens like myself who
supported the election of Dr Rowley
and the PNM at this time because it is
our view that T&T will be best served
by someone who is not afraid to tackle
challenges. Dr Rowley's history of chal-
lenging the status quo as evidenced by
the one-man one-vote victory in the
PNM and relaxing of the balisier tie, po-
sitions him as the type of leader re-
quired for this time in our history.
The images of a national footballer
resting on a rusty bed and that of new
born babies on New Year's day with
background pictures of dirty-looking
plywood cupboards and open windows
exposing newborns to mosquitoes and
flies must never again be images of our
health care system.
The population will not tolerate an-
other year of high criminal activity with
low detection rates and a court system
that is so outdated that it is almost in-
effective. No longer will the population
be comforted with promises while it
takes hours to commute to and from
Together we must all work towards
ensuring that the problems that seeks
to deteriorate our quality of life are
dealt with expeditiously.
It is easy to point out the problems
but we must collectively seek solutions.
Regarding health care, I wish to suggest
that legislation be revised to allow for
corporate and private donations to-
wards improving our health infrastruc-
ture. Companies should be able to
donate equipment and renovate hospi-
tal rooms with some bit of tax write off.
My small company for example can
change the windows, floor or ceilings or
paint a hospital ward as a donation to-
wards improving our health infrastruc-
ture. Larger companies can donate
equipment like CT scanners or dialysis
machinery to our hospitals.
There must be legislation to deal
with quality of life where severe sen-
tences are imposed on individuals that
negatively affect the life of others.
Night courts for gun related offences
and gang activity must be considered
as ways of dealing with criminal activity.
The economy in the short term
should look at large farms run by pri-
vate corporations with export as an ulti-
mate goal. The downstream business
of the energy sector, technology-based
operations, marinas, tourism and the
steel pan and carnival must be incorpo-
rated into a new long-term economic
strategy for growth and development.
The train must be looked at with private
ownership or partnership to operate
and construct as an option.
There is no time and room for ex-
cuses. I am confident that the Prime
Minister and his cabinet are up to the
task. Time will tell if I am correct.
God bless our nation.
Both the print and electronic media
have made a good start by publishing
pictures and stories of the misery
caused by fireworks this season. How-
ever, more stories and particularly, more
pictures need to be published. The public
should be given information on how
many people visited hospitals and A&E
centres across the country for treat-
ment of injuries caused by fireworks. By
this, I mean a story---perhaps in this
coming week---giving numbers for each
institution and a total for the country,
not a bit here and a bit there.
After Divali, one newspaper caught
the attention of the public by publishing
a picture of a man's hand, severely in-
jured by fireworks. Gruesome as some
may consider this, that sort of picture is
the one that brings home the reality.
Attention should also be paid to the
Fire Services call for their organisation
to be involved in where and when fire-
works may be set off.
Unfortunately, complaints from resi-
dents about the noise and dangers of
fireworks let off in their areas will, as
usual, fall on deaf government ears.
Perhaps, stories and pictures of in-
jured constituents and their families (in-
cluding those shot undercover of
fireworks noise) might take us a step
closer to removing fireworks from pri-
vate hands altogether.
Grass takes over this Rotary Club International sign just off the Marabella
Police station. It certainly can do with a bit of a clean-up for the new year.
PHOTO: TONY HOWELL
ANALOGUE VS DIGITAL
...looking forward not back
Challenges for the PM and Government in 2016
Let public know of fireworks injuries
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