A failed state is a nation state in which the institutions of the state have failed in the performance of their duties. If we are to examine closely the various institutions of the state it would help us to make a conclusion. This article would not analyze all the institutions but focus on a few.
The three arms of government are the legislature, executive and the judiciary. Are these major arms of the state performing their duties? Are we happy in the manner in which the affairs of Parliament are conducted? Can we say that the guardian of the parliament, that is, the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate are objective and fair in the manner in which they execute their duties?
In recent times two matters deemed urgent were brought before the House for debate: the floods in Debe/Barrackpore and the runaway homicide rate in the country. The response of the Speaker was in the negative. By being prejudice and bias the Speaker is stifling the democratic process. It means that the government is given free rein to do as it pleases, not bothering to account to the people.
Laws are passed in this country with the aim to reduce criminal activities. The recent “anti-gang act” was passed and to this date there is no reduction in crime which continues to escalate. Currently, we are seeing the government appealing to the Opposition for its support to deny bail to individuals arrested with illegal fire arms. This begs the question: Do we need more legislation or enforcement of the existing laws?
What is happening with the decriminalization of marijuana legislation? Why are young men still being fined and incarcerated for possession of a joint of marijuana? What was the real purpose of such a legislation? Is it to issue licenses for a select few to market marijuana under the full protection of the law?
Passing legislation is good but more importantly is the need to enforce the laws that are already in the statute books. The problem with the criminal justice system is the low detection rate. If police don’t make arrest, there would be no need to invoke the hangman. What percentage of our homicides had arrest been made, trials conducted and convictions made?
The integrity of the Office of Police Commissioner was compromised when Garry Griffith was appointed top COP. Though Garry Griffith was not the top candidate for the post, he was the executive’s first choice. Can we safely say that this government hires the best minds to get the job done? It is shocking that after more than two years, the TTPS is operating without its three deputy commissioners. What is the rationale for this delay?
The executive has failed to attract investment, boost productivity and provide lower interest rates for loans to purchase capital goods. There is little or no incentive to encourage savings? Our banks remain rather conservative and do very little to encourage entrepreneurship.
Government’s policies of “handouts” have failed to develop an entrepreneur class. Why does our private sector continue to depend on our government for business? It is critical that the playing field be levelled so that favoritism would cease. It is important, therefore, that the government proclaim the long overdue Procurement legislations. If this is done, our economy would become more vibrant and competitive with the parasitic one percent falling to the wayside.
Incompetence abounds in the higher stations in government and state enterprises. Our ministers don’t have any experience in businesses and are given such large portfolio to manage. Political affiliation continues to influence and colour the appointment of senior executives in the public sector.
Today, the education system is a breeding ground for juvenile delinquents. If something is not done to curb the downward spiral in the education system, TT would collapse in less than a decade. Students have lost the discipline required for learning. The Carnival mentality has invaded the classroom. Sex, fighting and violent language have become the norm.
Our ‘successful’ members of society have locked themselves in their ivory towers. Alienated from the masses who patronize their professions and businesses, they refuse to see that their security is fragile. It is a “dog eat dog” world with every man, woman and child busy safeguarding his house from the impending hurricane. Much is said about philanthropy and reaching out to the poor but very little is done. Not surprisingly, a pastor was found with 29 million dollars in his possession!
Gambling has taken over the country. It is now the only avenue to get rich! Every village is invested with bars that carry roulette machine and playwhe booths. Most Trinis go to bed with the hope to “get a straight dream” to play the winning mark. Playwhe is the new talking point, not sports or agriculture.
Our doubles vendors and farmers are two groups of hard working people in this country. Despite this, governments have failed them year after year by not recognizing their contribution to the economy in the granting of national awards. Agriculture continues to survive despite the limited role of the government. Even the annuals floods that devastate crops with losses in the millions of dollars do not retard these farmers. These sons and daughters of the plains and lagoons have demonstrated grit and determination despite the neglect of agriculture by government after government.
The markets across the nation must be the hub of economic transactions and not the malls. The market provides locally produced vegetables, fruits and home-made delicacies. Owned by the municipalities, the market is a forum for thousands to make a living. It remains that only arena to wage a battle against the mighty the 1% that are already weakened by their dependence on foreign exchange and imports goods.