It is extremely dangerous to place incompetent personnel in key management positions. Recently, one of the businesses affected by the flooded roadway along Abattoir Road asked me to help in dealing with the flooding problem. After visiting the area, it was clear that the water was not draining off as the catchment basin constructed in that area, almost ten years ago, was not maintained. Similarly, the culverts were all clogged and there was simply no place for the water to go. The Dry River a mere hundred meters away was not flooded but there was simply no infrastructure in place to channel the water to the wide unkept Dry River.
It must be noted that that area which was prone to flooding had not experienced flooding for years after the catchment basin was built. One might ask, why do we struggle with maintenance? Why are our waterways not routinely cleaned and drains cleared? Why are our public building not painted, washed and roof repainted and repaired on a scheduled basis?
The answer is simply that we put in place key management personnel in positions not based on competence but based on political affiliation. Persons employed based on their political connections are not motivated to perform, as they know that their main objective is to remain loyal to the party that afforded them the opportunity to occupy a key management position.
In such a scenario, it does not matter how much one explains that water distribution is best done with a gravity system augmented by pumps to the storage areas, they will simply be ignored. No matter how one explains that it makes no sense buying millions of dollars in cameras if they are recoding cars with false number plates.
The people in charge will not pursue State issued plates until and unless another party affiliate gets the job to produce them and commits to filter some proceeds to those responsible for getting them the contract.
It is no surprise therefore that simple things like maintaining pumps, filling potholes, repainting and repairing bridges, cleaning, and maintaining public buildings, allowing citizens the use of non-lethal weapons like tasers will not be initiated or expedited. Should anyone be surprised that the procurement legislation debated and passed in the legislature remains to be proclaimed?
Square pegs in round holes seem to be accepted by most of us as there is an understanding that competence is not a major factor in one getting a political appointment or senior government management job. One simply must have the correct political connection.
Consequently, the quality of life that is possible in a rich, literate country with tremendous resources like Trinidad & Tobago will remain a dream never to be realized, until the people decide to vote for competence.
The ultimate decision on who manages the affairs of our country lies with the ordinary man and his or her desire to place merit ahead of political loyalty.
God Bless Our Nation.