Resolutions: Wishful Thinking

By Errol F. Hosein
December 30, 2006

Red HouseThere has to be an element or component that actually fosters a sense of morality and fairplay in our society. In reality, this is missing in T&T. So, let us begin at the top. The government is the largest wage earner in the nation as a result of its utilization of the natural resources and by products that belong to all of its peoples. Here is where the examples should begin.

The truth of the matter is that public servants in T&T continue to be arrogant and in many instances abusive to whom they have been entrusted to provide services. Customer service stinks. In fact it was much better before we became an Independent nation, trust me. What steps have successive governments taken to civilize this matter?

We embrace a “free enterprise system” of economic governance and we dare to direct blame of its shortcomings to the business sector. The role of business is to maximize profit while addressing the needs of the population. Efficiency plays a key role in this endeavour as it determines economic success or economic failure.

With few exceptions, do you know of many citizens of T&T who actually provide to their employers in the private sector, a full days work for a full day’s pay? It does not happen in the public sector and we have found that behaviour to be acceptable. Law should govern the time frames relative to when employees should be paid for the period in which they have provided their services, and punitive measures should be in accordance with such violations. Our government does not always pay on time and we have accepted that, hence, back pay.

On the question of equity in job descriptions, be it on a scaffold ten stories up or twenty feet below the surface, should the workers be compensated on the basis of the size of their families or the fact that the head of household is one parent, male/female? It has to do with skills and the market value of those skills.

As a business person I can honestly assure you that the wages that I pay my employees are based on their skills and not on the size of their families and their individual needs. Complicit in this is their education. Education and skill must mean something, don’t you think? Is this immoral? I don’t think so.

If my employees are attracted to my trappings they must realize that I did not win the lottery. I worked for it. I made sacrifices in pursuit of it and in the process my family went without and even as we survived, there are those who are prepared to rid us of all that we worked for. Is this moral?

Everything has its limits and that includes child care provisions with associated costs. Should our government that is awash in resources consider that social amenity for those in need? I think so. Some people would lead you to believe that business should provide that service too. This leads me to ask the rhetorical question. Can the citizens of T&T survive without private businesses? I don’t think so.

I close with the following observation. Successive governments have politicized crime and now that it has become ingrained in the fabric of our national character the initial joy is turning to pain. One Councillor has been wounded and another killed in recent days, how many more at this level must be killed or maimed before our government de-politicizes crime? Finally, I believe that Linda E. Edwards is asking too much of the business sector, while the government does very little of consequence, even with its massive resources, which incidentally, belong to the people. Our government does not reflect a sense of morality nor does the church. Simply put its just another serving of calaloo.