Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 25th 2017 Contents viewpoint A21
Tuesday, July 25, 2017 guardian.co.tt
T&T needs a private sector association
Without going into details, let us accept
that Trinidad and Tobago is in deep
trouble! Crime is out of control, yet all
we get is pappyshow. The economy is in
shambles, yet we hear nothing from the
Government or, more significantly, from
the private sector.
The Judiciary is in turmoil, not only from
within. We are still operating with a
system introduced in King Henry's time,
yet our "learned" counsels don't seem to
have the initiative, or maybe intelligence
to introduce new, efficient systems.
Our social programmes, including "make
work" type, health and housing, are col-
lapsing, despite billions being paid every
year. Yet nothing is said about this.
And our political systems, well, let's just
leave that alone. Analysing that would
take up this entire newspaper.
Our political electees allow the power to
go to their heads and forget that they
work for us, the people of T&T, and that
it is only a temp job at that.
Despite this, we hear nothing from our
private sector associations. Why is this?
Is it that the politicians need the unions
for votes, so the unions can run their
mouths with impunity, yet the politicians
do not need the private sector (except
for contributions at election time) yet
the private sector needs to lobby the
politicians so they cannot speak out and
Is it time for the formation of a Private
Sector Association of T&T which would
represent all the population of our great
country, without any fear of victimisa-
tion, or without any cocoa in the sun or
vested business interest.
The Private Sector Association of Jamai-
ca, is now the strongest association in
Jamaica, and it is respected, maybe even
feared by the politicians. The Private
Sector Association of Barbados, has
teamed up with the Labour unions in
Barbados, to shut down the country to-
day yesterday with a march to signal to
the Government that they are not happy.
Why not a Private Sector Association of
Trinidad and Tobago?
Really, no one saw this coming?
With an education system in disarray,
now comes the announcement that The
University of the West Indies has made
the decision to lower the requirements
for the Faculty of Social Sciences (larg-
est faculty) as a result of drop in the
number of applicants.
This implies that decision makers did not
foresee the impending fallout of GATE.
The idea of "free" education implement-
ed by the Manning government was to
ensure that the country's patrimony, "oil',
was made available to all. Corruption in
the programme and recession forced the
current government to "close the gate"
given the country's financial constraints.
I agree it was the right decision at this
As a former mature UWI student it is
well known that the part-time and/eve-
ning classes comprise mature students
including the over-50 (where GATE has
ceased). This is another example of an
adhoc decision by a Minister and by
extension the government regarding the
impact on our premier university.
Yes, they will say they held consulta-
tions, but we are aware in T&T that
means those in power enter office with
preconceived notion of solutions to
problems and within two-three months
hold talk shops and then do as the had
originally planned. Really, no one saw
This will add to the continued downward
slide of the education system given the
quality of our current graduates who
lack critical thinking, basic English and
lack expression. We already have people
running around with degrees (attained
or purchased) and look at the state of
You think lowering the entry level is the
solution? People have to invest in them-
selves. Freeness has a price, as well as
the dependency syndrome.
Shutting the GATE on PP toes
I weep for the dashed hopes of Fazal
Karim and the shrinking in size of the
GATE programme. (Sunday Guardian,
July 23). But my tears are also for the
many now qualified young men and
women who cannot find employment. It
is not only an over abundance of medical
students. There are other graduates
seeking employment and suitable jobs
are scarce. We are oversubscribed in
many departments. GATE is to be lauded
but we cannot afford 100 per cent GATE
T&T is not turning into a failed state
because the Opposition cannot get
what it wants. We are not the laughing
stock of the world because we cannot
now afford to hold to the previous levels
of spending on tertiary education. Mr
Karim makes a case for a poor family
wanting three siblings to access tertiary
education at the same time. How many
Third World countries can realistically
facilitate this airy-fairy free tertiary edu-
What is most painful to witness is the
minister's angst at the withdrawal of
GATE funding for those over age fifty.
The three young people in one family
needing GATE answers this question.
Whatever money can be spared is for
the young people. They have to come
If TT$650 million is the annual cost
for GATE why did the PP government
not diversify the shrinking economy
during 2010-2015? Why is the present
government now being blamed for PP
If the public sector workers' demands
are not met and the economy collapses,
nobody will go to school and nobody will
be able to work. GATE is not some iso-
lated phenomenon. GATE has to be fed.
In Minister Karim's dream world five
members of each family will be qualified
with doctorates and sitting at home
eating guavas and doubles for breakfast,
lunch and dinner.
There was a time when less meant
more in days long gone, before we were
cursed by black gold rush, and acquired
all these new foreign tastes. At that
time Trinidadians and Tobagonians had
more concern, love and compassion.
A single murder was sensational news,
villages and communities alike inter-
acted. Now don't you dare cross that
So we gained some wealth and lost our
humanity. I will always recall the advice
of my father Enzo Fortune' who said,
"We love things and use people, when
we should love people and use things."
Today a man is measured by his ma-
terial worth, regardless of how it is
acquired. There has been a shift from
when a man's worth was his character
and word. This development only indi-
cated a loss of values. Our personal val-
ues exist in relation to cultural values,
either in agreement with or divergence
from prevailing norms.
Social values form an important part
of the culture of the society. Values
account for the stability of social order.
They provide the general guidelines for
Any attempt for progress will be
doomed if we do not address societal
tendencies toward thinking criminality
and criminal clientelism as being the
What has become of our values?
Models display costumes from Fantasy's Carnival 2018 presentation titled Isle of Olympia during the mas band's
launch at the Queen's Park Oval on Saturday. PHOTO: KERWIN PIERRE
ISLE OF OLYMPIA
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