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The Janaam of New Politics

By Stephen Kangal
March 02, 2006

The Janaam of the New Politics can be encapsulated in the following mission statement:

"Developing the New Formula Designed to Creating a United Country, a Strong Nation and a Just Society In which We Can All Feel A Sense of Ownership"

There is only one reason for Government: To make life better for the governed. There is and can be no other reason.

I pray that diverse T&T will together have gotten our internal politics right at last. That we will be in a position to mobilise all sections of our plural society to produce a responsible government for the population geared to creating a caring and just society-
- a united country
- a strong nation

That with a responsible Government operating on a code of ethics and co-operating with our caring society and with enlightened leadership we will achieve a quality of life in Mother T&T that is second to none.

That in essence is the engine- the new formula that will drive the New Politics.

The UNC does not belong to me or anyone. It is the common political heritage of all its membership. No one must foolishly claim the UNC to be his child The people must demand justice and effective representation from all their representatives.

New Politics is a new political dispensation based on truth, integrity, justice, accountability and justice. That is the nature of the vehicle that can take back the UNC into government.

But while good men and women may propose vaulting political ambition disposes of our best plans and noble intentions. Since assuming the leadership and generating rising political expectations amongst the middle class UNC membership every obstacle has been placed in Mr. Dookeran's way to frustrate him- some say to humiliate him. I am sure you saw the recent TV images of Caribbean leaders being made to laugh at the UNC.

Mr. Dookeran has set himself the goal of achieving a united country and a strong nation by prudently managing and re- allocating our physical, financial and human resources. That must be of paramount concern for government. There is a connection between realising unity, reconciliation and co-operation within the party and our agenda for mobilising and uniting the country in the interest of promoting balanced development, internal cohesiveness and sustainable growth.

The membership of the UNC must demand every opportunity to participate at every stage in the collective and holistic decision-making process that affects their lives. That is the heart of the modus operandi of attaining the developed country status. We have to emancipate ourselves from the victim-hood syndrome and assume the role of being active participants in the effective functioning of the democratic process. Evil will continue to prevail when good men and women do nothing in T&T.

We must build a platform for promoting the principles of equality and fairness that will engender a new wave of patriotism and loyalty to T&T. If citizens feel excluded from having equal access to enjoying the rewards of the State or the realisation of their dreams that is a prescription for continuing polarisation. We must dismantle such divisions by getting our politics right and fostering a caring and cohesive society.

We must in unison reject the practice and mentality of victim-hood. We must embrace a philosophy and ideology that will open a bright new future for all of us.

In this new paradigm, patriotism must be widespread, real and genuine. We have more than enough in T&T to:
  • prevent any child from going to bed hungry
  • provide shelter for all
  • prevent people from having to walk miles to fetch potable water
  • make adequate and quality health care easily accessible to all
But sadly we are the victims of these shortcomings from the State because of lack of effective and value- for- money public sector management and lack of care.

In T&T leadership seems to be losing the ability to listen to the voices of the people. There is a disconnect between the people and the Government. The voices of the people are falling on deaf ears. The post of the PM must be regarded as one that is the chief servant of the people. Our daily concerns are being ignored. The PM sees himself as the CEO of the Corporation Sole announcing grandiose plans and mega-projects at a very frenetic pace.

Can you honestly say that the current regime is a caring responsible Government? Does it protect life, liberty and property of all its citizens? Is it responsive to the urgent transportation and security needs of the society? Is it promoting the egos of Ministers rather than the urgent needs of the society?

There would appear to be an underlying unwillingness to take radical decisions to stem the growing tide of lawlessness that stalks the society and criminality in the electoral process. The criminal elements seem to be talking their cues from the weak signals from Government.

Getting the Economic Fundamentals Right

In the face of the overflowing Exchequer and a buoyant economy we can easily lose sight of getting our economic fundamentals right to ensure continuing prosperity and sustainable growth. Sound economic and fiscal management is essential to sustaining our period of prosperity. We cannot return to the irresponsibility of the first oil boom.

It seems that the Government is hell bent on making each one of us a client of the State. There is an illusion of prosperity and of safety and delusions of grandeur represented by the rush to erect tall buildings in congested POS that poses a serious security risk.

We have to consider the restoration of fiscal discipline in our spending to avert runaway inflation. We have to get our politics right in T&T as a place where:

- We can walk our streets in safety and security
- Schools are available to all
- Education and training is developed into an industry
- Our doctors and health care providers are well rewarded
- A Reliable water and power supply, good roads and secure and reliable supply of wholesome food are the norm.

As long as citizens have access to basic amenities and their life and limb are protected we can begin the task of building a secure and vibrant nation.

The progressive achievement of food security and the insulation of our food supply from the health and price vagaries of the international markets are fundamental to our integrity as a nation. We have had a golden opportunity to transform 77,000 acres of prime agricultural lands into productive food supply but a lack of vision prevented us from doing so. The award of two acres of land without the requisite supporting infrastructure can only result in achieving uncoordinated subsistence farming when besides achieving food security we can be exporting food to the tourist economies of the Caricom market. We seem to be lacking enlightened leadership and the ability to find simple solutions to our food security imperative.

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