For the countdown to the Local Government Election last week I followed the meetings of mainly the two major political parties – the PNM and the UNC. I was disheartened by the verbal attacks on the leaders and some members of each political party. While some may have enjoyed the contemptuous presentations, the views of many are that they were repetitive and boring. It was always: he say, she say, they say and now we say, and what was done about that? Nothing! The same ole nonsense and diatribe and insults were practised in an attempt to fool the voters. They may think many are stupid, but they seem to forget that most of us are not voting tribe or race anymore, we are voting for those who are honest and can perform for the common good.
Most of the present and hopeful councillors seem to fall into the groove of bashing their opponents. In fact, one member of a party was so carried away as he tried to explain the amendment of the Dangerous Drugs Act as it relates to the decriminalising of marijuana. One listener in disgust said that the man was suffering with an attack of verbosity, spoke for 10 minutes and in effect said nothing.
My concern and that of many is the fact that we heard nothing about the improvement of the economy, no concrete suggestions to improve the fight against crime nor improvement in the health system and unemployment. No one had spoken on the local, regional and global effect of climate change.” Trinidad and Tobago has received approximately TT$7 million from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) of the United Nations for the development of transformational projects to respond to issues related to climate change in Trinidad and Tobago”. (We heard anything from the Minister of Planning whenever she chose to speak on the platform).
Almost all the electoral districts have coastal areas and rivers and streams running through them. They either do not know nor do not care to know about the effect of climate change on oir twin island Republic. None had addressed the wanton destruction of the land and marine environment, the effect of soil erosion and rising sea levels. Do they drive by on the road opposite the Manzanila beach? When was the last time these hopefuls and current Ministers and Opposition members have seen the effect of rising sea levels on our beaches? What are their proposals to protect the beautiful rain forest of Tobago and the biodiversity in areas in both islands? What are the proposals to protect and encourage the fishing industry and of course the fisher folk, (Gary Aboud’s warnings and those of the Fishermen and Friends of the Sea seem to have fallen on deaf ears and are not even considered).
The San Fernando Fish market and depot may soon fade into the sunset, with no place to go when Mr Regrello and Mr. Al Wari’s boardwalk is completed. Have they seen the rubbish and debris flowing in the rivers and streams after heavy rains? For example the Diego Martin river ,the “Dry River” flowing through the City of Port of Spain, the Caroni river, the Point a Pierre river, the Cipero river ,the Oropouche river among others that empty into the Gulf of Paria. Has the Minister of Local Government asked the Minister of Planning or the Minister of Finance about the allocation of United Nations GFC funds? One must lament “When will they ever learn?” We should not have to lament in despair “too late too late shall be the cry”.
The Sunshine today is the only local newspaper that raises serious issues and prints letters such as this. We are sick and tired about hearing what we did and who is to blame. Tell us in clear and concise terms what you will do not what you are going to do. This was never done throughout the recently concluded Local Government Election campaign. Promises are always broken. CLR James said words to this effect: “the people complain and when they do the politicians promise them something when the promises are broken, they then promise them something else and so it continues”. I make bold to add; distract the people with half-truths and/or lies.
The articles in the Sunshine should be read by all and noted now and for the future. For purposes of space, I must end but not before commending the continuous work of the authors of the articles in the Sunshine Today. I end by quoting from a letter to the Editor of the Sunshine signed by A Pragmatist: “God had better help us fast. Mr Warner is our only last dying hope-he is the man with the practical capability experience and the vision for getting thing done. Failing that only God can help us”. I agree, however God helps those who help themselves. Pragmatist, permit me to add: Mr Warner cannot do it alone, we, and others have to help by getting involved.
The authors of the articles and letters published in the Sunshine Today seem dedicated to a good cause, we must support them. We were once a land of hope and glory but regrettably, that is not so today.