By GUEST WRITER ANDY WILLIAMS THE PITBULL OF RADIO
Oh, my once sweet T&T, now reduced to a shadow of her former self, struggling as a hamper and food card welfare state, pauperized, destitute and broken by design…. how did it come to this?
The PNM rode into office on a high in 2015, promising a government “for the people and by the people”. The newly minted Prime Minister, Dr Keith Rowley, spoke in a statesmanlike manner that “all of us are in it together”; but in the four years following, the realities have been radically different from this grandiose promise of togetherness and hope for the nation.
Today we hear a talk by the same Prime Minister about “not taking more than your fair share and let your conscience be your guide” as it relates to food cards and other welfare benefits under the COVID 19 pandemic.
Never mind that $20 billion have been allocated for this relief effort and of the $975 million spent so far, most of that money has gone to paying VAT refunds to big businesses and financial bailouts for selected companies.
What then of the poor man, the hungry families, the unemployed, the disenfranchised, the single mothers? What of them Mr Prime Minister? The red tape and paperwork required to access these grants are horrendous.
Even before the COVID 19 pandemic, the Prime Minister told the nation to “wean itself off the Government”, a far cry from his former position that “we were all in this together”.
Even before COVID 19, the country has seen four consecutive years of negative growth, with the country mired deep in a Recession and quite possibly, an economic depression.
The love affair with drug trafficker Maduro and the fuel sale, has created an international incident, of scandalous proportions with possible US sanctions…. how did it come to this?
Before the Covid pandemic, the country was experiencing runaway inflation, rising unemployment, rampant crimes, the murder rate over 500 years on year and a general feeling of despair, destitution and hopelessness pervading the whole country……how did it come to this?
The death blow
Our once sweet T&T, already a failed state by 2019, has now been decimated by COVID 19, thus the death blow has been delivered. Coupled with falling oil and gas prices, company closures in the petrochemical sector, a stagnating economy; all combine to cripple the economy.
The only saving grace is to continue accessing the Heritage and Stabilization Fund and external borrowing to artificially prop up the economy.
The ongoing fire sale of lucrative state assets, until nothing is left, will only serve as temporary relief. Then we will awake to the reality that our state assets have gone into the hands of the privileged and powerful minority in this country.
The continued politicizing of the pandemic for cheap political points in an election year is morally reprehensible and a bitter pill for the people of this country to dry swallow, especially having elected a Government in 2015 that promised to serve the people and that we were “all in it together”.
As we aim to stabilize the economy and bring back a sense of normalcy, the voice of the people that are crying out for the Government to help them must be heard.
The “haves” and the “have nots”
The tragic plight of the poor people is obscene, especially when one sees the level of concessions and favouritism being enjoyed by the rich and famous in this country.
The gap is ever-widening between the “haves” and the “have nots”, the working class is now relegated to the “working poor”, barely able to put food on the table for those that even have a job.
Does this Government not realize that such social ills create the conditions for spikes in crime, domestic violence, suicides and mass depression? The burden of a country that has been broken by design is being carried on the backs of the poor and the vulnerable.
However, come election time, these “wolves in sheep clothing”, will suddenly show how much they suddenly care.
The food cards, hampers, rum and roti will flow abundantly. Branded beads and trinkets will be presented to you with yet another promise of “vote for us, we will take care of you”.
One of the very few times that we are all truly equal is when we cast our vote at the polls.
Tall short, fat, thin, black, white, male, female, rich or poor; it all comes down to one man, one vote.
You have the power, let’s make T&T great again!