Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 22nd 2013 Contents A27
December 22, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
TOBAGO CHILDREN CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS
Tobago children celebrate some Christmas dancing and carolling recently, at the office of Orville London.
PHOTO: CASWELL GORDON
To date, a hodge-podge of
technology initiatives and
projects have been suggested for
education, security, and other
government functions; but
they re applied with minimal
For instance, CXC, CAPE or
other school syllabi are limited
For example, T&T gave com-
puters to all students entering
high school in 2010 without the
proper support infrastructure---a
good idea, but bad implementa-
Not put in place beforehand
were: open source software,
cloud computing, internet
access, classroom material, and a
plan for reviews and standards.
Political and business leaders
should give more meaningful
support to transforming T&T
An example of a small state
applying e-government standards
is Dubai, UAE.
David Cameron called for pub-
lishing governments accounts on
the internet at TED 2010.
There are many government
services that can be automated
and have been working in place
in other countries.
I have given up on doing busi-
ness in T&T since 2010 because
it s easier elsewhere.
Accountability, service, cost,
transparency, and efficient use of
resources can be achieved.
An example close to me, being
a global person with a Trini
core, is the issue of passports.
T&T could have a virtual
embassy (or at least, interactive
embassies) where residents could
apply for passports (using online
forms), send supporting docu-
ments (scanned), be interviewed
(think Skype), and pay (credit or
debit cards) for the service.
This way there would be com-
Even at a cost of USD $50-100
per person, the system could be
self-supporting. Other passports
offer greater access, convenience,
and recognition, with easier
renewals, than T&T passports.
Drivers license application, bill
payments, and inquiries, can all
be done online.
These ideas have been touted
before, but again, misaligned
political objectives, rather than
the country s best interest, have
stalled the application.
The tools, technology, and
people are available to contribute
to this transformation.
The political will, however, is
A responsive government (and
website) asking for suggestions,
resources, and pragmatic solu-
tions would show a democratic
In the future students that do
develop some computing skills
would need an outlet to apply
A more technologically compe-
tent government would be use-
ful; efficiency in technology
would help politicians, the peo-
ple, and the country.
Community groups, schools,
and businesses could use web-
sites to lift their profile.
Think of a Beetham or Laven-
tille website, regularly updated,
showing what is good in those
Let s transform Trinbago
through technology, please.
LET'S USE TECHNOLOGY
TO TRANSFORM T&T
The chaos and trauma that have been visited upon
supermarket operators and some consumers with the
announcement by the Prime Minister of a discount/re-
bate on some NFM products shows there was no plan-
ning by the Government in the implementation of this
Comments by supermarket operators suggest there
was no discussion between the Government and NFM
and the supermarket operators.
It is foolish to think that supermarkets would be pur-
chasing stock today to sell next week.
Had there been the necessary consultation, the su-
permarket operators would have been able to put
measures in place for a smooth implementation of the
Instead, what we have are operators who are saying
they are finding difficulty in applying the 20 per cent
price cut to stock they have already purchased at higher
prices from NFM, while consumers are rushing to cash
in on the benefit before the window closes on Decem-
ber 24, demanding the announced lower prices.
If even NFM attempts to rebate the supermarkets
for the stocks already purchased, there is no auditing
mechanism in place to ensure that supermarkets are
neither underpaid nor overpaid, because there is no way
to tell exactly how much NFM stock is really sold on the
days of the discount. This is a recipe for disappointment
While any attempts to ease the burden on the pock-
ets of citizens is welcome, the Government needs to
stop these knee-jerk public relations gimmicks and get
down to developing and implementing meaningful
strategies to improve the cost of living in the medium
and long term.
For example, energies would be better spent in com-
batting the factors that add unnecessary costs to the
prices of items and therefore lowering the cost of doing
Such factors include: the additional costs caused by
delays in clearing goods at the ports; increased costs of
doing business due to inefficiencies at government of-
fices; increase in transport costs due to time lost in traf-
fic jams; and the cost of security and the losses due to
earlier closing times for businesses as a result of the
crime situation, just to mention a few.
The Government needs to sit down and formulate a
meaningful, workable strategy for arresting the cost of
goods and services in the long run. Until they do that,
they are just spinning top in mud.
Alderman Sunil Ramjitsingh
Oil, rice rebate---no planning
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