Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 19th 2013 Contents A5
May 19, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
PP MARKS THREE YEARS IN OFFICE THURSDAY
The early proclamation of Sec-
tion 34, poor handling of crime,
lack of procurement legislation,
having an ethnic agenda and the
inability to demonstrate leadership
qualities have been blamed for the
decline in the People s Partnership s
(PP) performance to date.
These were the critical issues
which political analysts Dr Winford
James and Mukesh Basdeo, and for-
mer head of the Public Service Regi-
nald Dumas said must be addressed
by the PP Government as it gets set
to celebrate three years in office on
Last Friday, the men all agreed
that the Government needed to
deliver more to the people and avoid
repeated missteps and mistakes.
Dumas: PM Kamla needs to step
on some toes
Dumas said Prime Minister Kamla
Persad-Bissessar needs to step on
some toes in the country s best inter-
est.Dumas said overall, the PM s per-
formance was "not very high."
The PM, Dumas said, has to
examine the issue of leadership.
"I am not impressed of talk of her
being a consensual leader. You can t
run a country by being consensual
all the time. You have to make deci-
sions on your own. I think she needs
to demonstrate qualities of leadership
which she has not demonstrated."
Dumas said the good things the
Government had done in the last 36
months had been outweighed by the
glaring errors and blunders.
Last year, Dumas in summing up
the PP s performance in a Trinidad
Guardian article gave the Govern-
ment an "F" grade.
A year later, he believes the public
perception of the Government has
declined and they are not managing
"This does not mean that the pub-
lic perception of the Opposition has
gone up significantly. I would say
the country is in a monkey pants at
the moment, on both sides."
He still gave the Government a
failing grade overall, stating that the
Section 34 matter was the straw that
broke the camel s back.
"Too many issues are happening
too fast. The population is alarmed
Dumas said the fact that Com-
munication Minister Jamal
Mohammed said the Government
has not been connecting with the
people "is a hell of an admission to
People are of the view, Dumas
said, that the PP has been making
too many mistakes and missteps,
while leadership is not provided at
Dumas said the Tobago Organi-
sation of the People losing 12 seats
in the THA election showed that the
Government needed to take stock of
itself and "pull up its socks."
Dumas feels the Government has
to connect more with the people.
He said public forums in commu-
nities which are attended by party
supporters was not the same as
"meeting the people of the coun-
Top marks for Moonilal, Bharath,
In assessing the performance of
Persad-Bissessar s ministers, Dumas
rated ministers Roodal Moonilal, Vas-
ant Bharath and Fazal Karim as top
Dumas said some of the ministers
who have not been performing at
optimum levels were Devant Maharaj,
Winston Peters, Lincoln Douglas,
Jamal Mohammed and Chandresh
Though Suruj Rambachan has
been given two ministries to manage,
Dumas said this has not boosted
public appeal for him "because he
is not a popular person. People don t
particularly like him."
With general elections due in 2015,
Dumas said a lot of things can hap-
He said if Jack Warner contests
the Chaguanas West seat as an inde-
pendent candidate, this can pose a
serious challenge for the Govern-
Basdeo: Section 34 a thorn in PP's
Basdeo believes that despite the
MSJ pulling out of the coalition, the
Government has held its end togeth-
"However they have experienced
a lot of political hurdles and crises
in the last 36 months. The issue of
Section 34 has been a thorn in their
side in the last few months. However,
the recent ruling in the court has
allayed the fears when one looks at
the conspiracy theory associated with
it."In terms of governance, Basdeo
feels the PM has shown leadership
qualities by removing some of her
ministers from Cabinet and accepting
Warner s resignation.
Basdeo s advice to the PM is to
focus on the promises made in the
party s manifesto.
"This will work in their favour.
They have been delivering...maybe
not on all the promises, but they
have been making major strides,
especially in the areas of constitu-
tional reform and local government
He said, however, the PP has had
too many missteps.
Basdeo also cited lack of commu-
nication among Cabinet ministers
as a major turn off.
"There is not a single voice ema-
nating out of Cabinet and the Gov-
ernment. A proper communication
strategy is required."
The Government got a poor grade
from Basdeo for its handling of crime.
"It comes back down to whether
you are going to see an increase or
James: Government mishandled
To gauge the PP s performance in
a subjective way, James said one
needed to look at its achievements
and developmental actions against
the promises made in their 2010
However, he was of the view that
the PP had not accomplished much
in the last 12 months.
"I do not regard the normal fixing
of roads as major achievements."
Insisting that the Government was
not unstable, James said they were
factitious and there were too many
"We can attribute this to all the
missteps they have made along the
way. There have been many serious
missteps and blunders. Just look at
the Section 34 issue. I think they
have mishandled procurement. They
have gone along in the traditional
way of favouring people with con-
tracts. Those kinds of things hit at
the heart of mediocrity and equal
opportunity for our people. We get
a sense that these guys are feeding
at the trough. The Government is
badly run in the first place because
of constitutional loopholes."
James questioned how even-hand-
ed they were in the distribution of
goods and services.
"My impression is that they have
been woefully underhanded and
uneven-handed, in the way they
have gone about these things."
Govt knocked for crime
He also knocked the party for not
tackling crime in a serious manner
and its attempt to give soldiers pow-
ers of arrest.
"So far their efforts have not yield-
ed the kind of results that they antic-
ipated, and where we are now in
terms of crime reduction."
James said the Government has
been accused of having an ethnic
agenda rather than an overall national
James said the PM must make
decisions for the country and devise
policies that will give everyone equity
One of the things outlined in the
manifesto was procurement legis-
lation, which James said he is yet to
"That is where most of the cor-
ruption can be understood...so pro-
curement is critical business but it
has not gone anywhere, in my
James also spoke about the PM
being a consensual leader, stating
while she seeks the views of ministers
in her Cabinet, she has the power
for things to go her way.
Stating that the party had a little
splinter with Warner s resignation
and that "all is not hunky-dory,"
James said if Warner goes up as an
independent candidate it can drive
a deep wedge in the PP.
"It will bring the party into dis-
T&T in a monkey pants
...on both sides, Govt and Opposition
While the PP Government has
implemented several initiatives in
its 2010 manifesto, many of its
promises are yet to be fulfilled.
As the party approaches its third
year in government, issues such as
procurement legislation, instituting
GPS bracelets on offenders who are
on probation and deemed a security
risk, guarding our coastlines through
the 360-degree radar link to all
branches of the security services,
re-evaluating and implementing a
professional healthcare management
system to provide holistic care, are
yet to be addressed.
Political analyst Dr Winford James
said within three years the PP should
have been able to accomplish the
majority of things its manifesto
James said the PP had failed to
establish equitable arrangements for
an efficient procurement system,
ensuring transparency and account-
ability by all governments.
The PP stated in its manifesto
that within the first 120 days in
office it would deploy police on the
streets, on the beat and in the com-
munities, and increase police pres-
ence everywhere. However, crime
continues to be the party s biggest
Also, promises to address the
challenges facing each hospital in
order to make an immediate differ-
ence in the lives of citizens have not
been attended to.
The PP also pledged to increase
beds in hospitals and provide vital
pieces of much-needed equipment
to improve the effectiveness of the
delivery of emergency patient care.
(See Pages A6, A7)
'Many promises still to be fulfilled'
Dr Winford James
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