The recent budgetary allocation to Tobago for electioneering purposes but disguised as development is how not to run a country. What the PNM government is doing in Tobago is destroying the spirit of independence and entrepreneurship in a people, if they have not already done so!
Today we are seeing the refusal of the US lawmakers to pass money bills for social welfare programs. Even democrats are hesitant to support these money bills because they know they would be consigning their country to a ballooning dept trap.
The high level of dependency of Tobogonians on the treasury and other state services is enough reason why their franchise should be forfeited. How can a people who are allocated guaranteed funding from the state, now be allowed to raise loans in the international market? It is like allowing your daughter or son who is given a weekly allowance to raise loans!
The THA should learn from private citizens who have taken charge of their economic wellbeing. For example, Manoj works with MTS and finding his income insufficient to meet the needs of his family, took a loan from his credit union and purchased a car which he ran for hire in the evenings after work and on weekends.
After two years Manoj repaid his loan and his family now enjoys a higher standard of living. He was able to drop his daughter for extra lessons and pick her up. Manoj remarked: “Without the car it would have been impossible to afford extra lesson for Mala.”
A pre-requisite for building wealth is a culture of saving. Too many, however, complained that their incomes are too small for them to save. Every financial advisor knows that that is the common reaction of most. The few that save are the ones that make sacrifices: eat home cooked meals and/or grow a kitchen garden.
Children must be taught from primary school to save part of their allowances. Many wealthy individuals would share stories about working on weekends and holidays to earn money. Warren Buffett revealed that he bought his first stock at age 11. Without the habit of saving regularly, it would have been impossible for him to have the cash to buy the stock.
The average CEO has failed to distinguish himself in any creative and positive way. In most State enterprises, the first act of a newly appointed board is to purge the senior ranks of the company to put their minions to facilitate wrong doings. This allows millions of dollars to be ‘legally’ transferred from a company. How else do we explain monopolies running at a lost?
Given the poor business acumen and the general inefficiency in this country, are our business executives deserving of the exorbitant remunerations and perks they enjoy? Most private businesses are gifted contracts by the political directorate, all sharing in the loot. One can only refer to the many times members of the executive arm of the government were reclused from meetings so that that their businesses can benefit from lucrative State contracts. The passage of a truncated procurement legislation is testimony to this lack of competitiveness in the procurement of contracts from the State.
Management is simply the popular adage- ‘don’t hang your hat where you cannot reach it.’ In another language it means living within your means. Unfortunately, our Minister of Finance is not aware of this lesson and continues to run a deficit budget. This translates to borrowing money which tax payers have to repay. But why do we find ourselves with deficit budgets year after years? It is the lack of transparency and oversight in the allocation of contracts. What passes as entrepreneurship in this country is a kind of piracy that is reminiscent of Sir Henry Morgan, Sir Francis Drakes and Sir Walter Raleigh, the entrepreneurs of yore.
The basic lesson our managers, politicians, priests and every child should know is don’t take what is not yours. Stealing to enrich oneself should not be punished by going to jail but more so by social ostracism. Unfortunately, the wealthy look sparkling clean to most including the priest who prays and blesses them… the miracle of money!
The spirit of colonialism continues to prevail in this land. The plantocracy continues to prevail, the slaves are the new drivers and overseers and the indentures are destined to remain in the fields, not to be trusted with power or guns- a strange people with their pagan ways.