Now is time for solutions - not politics
Posted: Tuesday, February 5, 2002
by Percy Cezair
It must certainly have occurred to the leaders of both the PNM and the UNC that there is absolutely no enthusiasm or consensus in the country for another election anytime soon.
And that the pressing problems which confront the people are expected to be solved by agreement.
There could hardly be any dispute as to what these problems are. The fractured Crowne Plaza agreement was a beginning.
The year 1986 was the last occasion when a political party, the NAR, was able to govern effectively with enough seats to make a difference.
That party of course flattered to deceive and missed the only real opportunity available to introduce the critical reforms that have become, and were even then, mandatory.
Since then neither Panday nor Manning has been able, notwithstanding huge expenditures on election campaigns, to convince the voters that they should be given such a mandate.
That history lists 17 seats to the UNC in 1995, 19 in 2000 and 18 in 2001. While the PNM could only muster 17, 16 and 18 respectively in response.
These results should certainly have sent some kind of negative message to both these leaders.
Find a bipartisan solution or step aside. Only together perhaps may the two satisfy the people's hunger for change.
Separately the only answer at the polls will probably be another rejection.
The country cannot be made a scapegoat merely to satisfy individual greed and ambition for political power. Or be sacrificed while politicians play games of electoral musical chairs.
Over the last six years because of the close results, what the country got instead of good government was an incumbent elections machinery.
More time has been spent in fighting elections than in non-partisan efforts to solve the problems of the country.
Let's take for example the thorny question of Caroni Ltd.
Huge sums have been poured down the drain keeping this company alive than the recognition that the solution to such problems can only be tackled by bipartisan effort.
Running up $2 billion in debts every few years is certainly no solution.
Producing sugar that costs more than you can sell it for is stupidity of the highest order and is compounded by further allowing individuals to exploit such a situation for either financial or political gain.
There is a reality here. The Government may be better off just paying the workers their basic salary every week or month for a limited period, than to continue to subsidise a money losing machine managed by individuals.
The musical chairs of governments replacing each other since 1986 has given shelter to this piece of economic disaster.
Let the canefarmers operate the industry. Give them the present pool of equipment and factory for one dollar and let them grow cane and produce sugar for local consumption, while affording them a reasonable price.
Together Panday and Manning must take the responsibility for such decisions.
Reopen Parliament and give legal life and solution to such persistent problems.
At the time of writing this article, discussions between them remain nothing more than political sparring.
Manning does not intend to disturb the powers of Prime Minister to which he was appointed by the President, notwithstanding or the apparent temporary nature of its tenure.
Panday behaves as though his pronounced illegitimacy of Manning's appointment is sufficient for him to behave as though he is still the Prime Minister and his party must therefore share equally in the powers of that office.
Somewhat like an illegitimate claiming to be legitimate and telling the legitimate that he is illegitimate. A proposition that is not only ludicrous but has little support in accordance with existing facts.
Yetming as spokesperson on behalf of his party indicates that in discussions with Manning, the UNC will be seeking power sharing at both Executive and parliamentary level.
Surely the question as to who controls the Executive has already been settled by the President when he appointed Manning.
As far as Parliament is concerned, this is the only area where any demand for sharing can arise. And without which the country's major issues remain unresolved.
Caroni will either go into liquidation or continue to lose large sums of money. Critical reforms delayed or perhaps be stillborn. And without reforms there can certainly be no progress.
Investigations into corruption will be stymied unless the Prime Minister, the real one that is, can move swiftly to set up the necessary machinery.
Money for running the country and to meet obligations cannot be voted for until the next several months, even if a new election is called.
Further, if the two leaders cannot even agree on a Speaker, then how can they agree on any matter affecting the country's future where what is required are intelligent solutions rather than politics?
So only one question remains: How did Trinidad and Tobago even get selected for such ridiculous political punishment?
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