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Public Outrage Did Not Break Jet Deal
Posted: Thursday, March 20, 2008

by Heru
March 20, 2008

The spokesmen for the government on the Bombardier jet deal have been trying to convince us that the deal was aborted because of government's insistence on a strict anti-corruption clause, and not because of widespread public outrage.

Guess what? I am prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt on this. It certainly shows them in a worse light. Instead of being guided by the concerns of the population, they have stubbornly taken the position that they are not.

They have stated that they will pursue another jet deal, as the previous deal was a sound investment, in spite of not presenting evidence to substantiate this.

Since they were not deterred by widespread public concern, then this is simply another uncaring government lead by Patrick Manning that is maintaining an arrogant and paternalistic approach towards the population. Manning and his government feel that they alone know what is best for this nation and they do not need to be transparent and accountable to their infantile population. They would not be fazed by protests.

Patrick Manning has refused to comment on this issue so far and, through his spokesmen, has demonstrated all that is wrong with politics in Trinidad and Tobago. Once they are elected they behave like monarchs who own the resources of the state.

Those of us who are not prepared to simply trust a government to do what is in our best interest (and buying that jet was not), but want the government to be transparent and accountable, are in for a rough ride. The old PNM regimes operated without transparency, the NAR and UNC did the same and this Patrick Manning regime is bent on maintaining that status quo.

The bigger problem is that there are many people in the country who simply vote at election time and are quite contented, to a large extent, to leave the government to do as they wish. They only show concern with their party in power when food prices go up or when they are not getting some basic goods and services. They will join their party in condemning other political parties by regurgitating the views of their party leaders. This accounts for most of the political banter in the country. They refuse to examine how government operates, including their lack of transparency and accountability, and how that directly affects the increasing costs and the poor quality of goods and services. They view calls for transparency and accountability as mere attempts from the Opposition to frustrate the government instead of trying to promote good governance. This sycophantic segment of the population encourages government to infantilize them.

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