Monday, February 8, 2010


Sometimes it gets difficult to see the forest for the trees. If I ask this question of anybody who supports the present Government I will get a resounding ‘no’ for an answer. But if I ask the same question of those who oppose the PNM I will not only get a shouted ‘yes’ but I will get an added “we are already a failed State!”

So what is the truth? Perhaps we could start with a number of questions? Has the Government made T&T a safer place to live in? Has the economy been well managed or have the various economic decisions made by the Government over the years led us into trouble? Are we doing something now which, given the state of the world’s economy we ought not to be doing? If so, what? Are we doing something now which, given the state of the world’s economy we ought not to be doing? If so, what? Was the bringing in of the infamous Property Tax justified? If so, why? Are the country’s health care facilities in the best order that they could be in given all that has gone before or not? What about our education system? Is it being improved in a way that we can see, or are our children slipping further and further behind an increasingly competitive world?

All too often we argue from our own personal perspective with emotion and without regard to the facts. And our arguments are often tinged with our own political perspectives and prejudices. So, here are a few facts to consider:

There is a most interesting World Bank report which you can access here.

Basically, the report says that we are not doing too badly at all but that there are areas that need improvement and reform. If you go to page 51 of the report you will find a handy chart showing where reforms have been enacted around the world. You will see there that T&T is not doing too badly at all. And then there is another interesting chart put out by The Heritage Foundation for their 2010 Index of Economic Freedoms. You can access it here.

In this study T&T has been ranked at 55 out of 179 countries. Incidentally, neighbouring Venezuela was ranked at 174!

Well, if truth be told, that ranking isn’t bad. We beat Jamaica (57). But little Barbados (40) beat us, as did the Bahamas (47). But we beat Italy (74). Take a look. The chart is most interesting.

What I guess that I am trying to say is that there are “positives” in our situation and things are certainly not necessarily as bad as some would have us believe. On the other hand, I personally believe that we could be doing a lot better than we are and there are many things that are wrong with the way that we are being ruled and need fixing and/or improving.

Put another way, I believe that most (if not all) of us genuinely want to see our little country go forward and really don’t care who are the actual persons in charge (whether they are PNM or UNC or COP or any other acronym that you can think of) so long as things are done properly and that corruption is dealt with firmly. We can and will put up with the posturing of politicians on all sides provided always that they ‘deliver the goods.’ What we don’t want is the endless bickering, name calling and incompetence that we are so often met with.

I know that I haven’t answered any of the questions that I asked earlier. That has been deliberate on my part. I am trying very hard to be as balanced as possible and it is so easy to criticise without offering solutions. And I am not here trying to change your mind or opinion on any thing. I am simply trying to make you think and to realise that life is not one or two dimensional, but we live in a 3D world. If I have done that then I have succeeded. But those questions do need answering!

What do you think?

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