The PNM has never been about developing the country. Its focus has always been on winning the next general election; no wonder the country does not develop under the PNM but slides further into indebtedness. PNM’s policies perpetuate state dependency and consequent spikes in criminal activities and anarchy.
But there are a few more ingredients and the PNM knows very well how much of them to add to the curry- stew to get the winning dish. This is a tried and tested formula that continues to work for the PNM. For this the PNM remains invincible. Here is the PNM’s recipe for victory with its ‘secret’ ingredients:
- voter padding in marginal constituencies through allocation of HDC houses;
- distribution of social welfare allowances and grants to PNM supporters;
- increase employment in URP and CEPEP;
- destruction of agriculture to frustrate the farming community;
- flavouring with curry to give a semblance of ethnic diversity and equal opportunity for all;
- state funding for Carnival and other aspects of creole culture.
HDC, for example, has never been about building shelters for low income families. Its main objective is to build houses in marginal constituencies to secure victory for the PNM. The Egypt Trace Housing in the Chaguanas East constituency borders Endeavour, Enterprise and Jerningham. One would expect that those houses would be given to borderline communities, but this is not so. The beneficiaries are PNM supporters from outside the constituency. If the Chaguanas East constituency is a safe marginal for the UNC today, by 2025 it would be a PNM haven. Among the hundreds of houses given out at Egypt Trace, one villager of Endeavour was successful among the scores of applicants!
The recent distribution of 150 apartments in the St Joseph constituency had no one resembling a UNC supporter receiving keys. In Barataria/San Juan more than 600 units were distributed to close the electoral gap with the UNC. It is an established pattern of the PNM to use the HDC to increase its stock of votes in marginal constituencies.
Crime remains a runaway horse in this country because of the “hand-outs” culture. The East West corridor is awash with hampers and food cards while the poor of rural communities are neglected. URP and CEPEP have been holding supporters of the PNM in a kind of economic bind. The low wages, the low education and the low skills set perpetuate a cycle of poverty.
Agriculture remains the only hope for the economy. With a food import bill of almost US $5B annually, it would be best to reduce that annually by 5%. If this is done, it would mean that in 20 years this country would be self-sufficient in food. In addition to saving foreign exchange, agriculture would provide training and the development of skills for jobs including storage, packaging and agro- processing
Dr. Keith Rowley’s appeal to Tobagonians to ‘get back to producing food’ was ignored by the Tobago House of Assembly. In its appeal to Central Government for an increase budgetary allocation of $4.726 billion – $3.26 B for recurrent expenditure and $1.45 B for development, nothing was mentioned about agriculture. The following allocations were proposed: Enterprise Development & Labour -$124m; Infrastructure, Queries & the Environment $524 m; URP- $73.3m; CEPEP-$39m. Mention was made of the expansion of the Airport, the refurbishment of the Dwight Yorke Stadium and the Roxborough Police Station.
The agricultural economy is in shambles and the people who have sworn to struggle on behalf of the farming community are desperately making overtures to align with a government that has consistently failed the sector. How do you interpret Dhano Sookoo, President of the Agricultural Society of Trinidad and Tobago, presenting herself before a screening committee of the PNM?
A Sookoo or a Dookoo would be enough to garnish the PNM dish. With Rohan in the dog house and Avinash Singh on his way out Dhano Sookoo would suffice. It’s a small quantity of that ‘dhania’ that is needed to give the flavor of multi-racial co-existence.
Emancipation Day would be opportune for the removal of Columbus statue to galvanize support for the PNM. Millions of dollars would be thrown out by Rowley to ride the crescendo of Black Lives Matter. Steelpan and Kaiso and Mas would combine to rally the Balishier brigade. So look out for elections in August or earlier September for the latest when the curry- stew would be properly cooked and ready for serving.