Our Republican Constitution must be the framework in whatever pursuits we undertake, whether we are developing programs and strategies aimed at reducing crime or stimulating economic development.
In Trinidad and Tobago, and indeed elsewhere our values must be guided on absolute truth, co-operation, peace and total support of the populace, and herein lies the opportunity to comb in all other fragments of the national populace—civil society, religious groups, business and professional groups, youth and religious alliances.
There must be total acclamation in writing the final product for positive actions and support. And before we attempt to bring this new strategy, all hands must be on deck so as to ensure it is fully inspired by the governors and the governed.
Political parties must not sideline their manifestoes upon entering the corridors of power, as it is the case, for example in Trinidad and Tobago. Any political leader who opts for this behavior, is guilty of treason for misleading the electorate. We must always consider that the principles of governance establish the bounds and constraints on the goals we set and the actions we take to achieve the goals.
Our program of governance must include moral criteria in establishing decisions and actions as the moral directions set by our decisions determine the nature of our society, and in this process, we must acknowledge the fusion of end and means, and thereby respect the intrinsic good and discipline in each person as they are barometers of opinion. They are the guiding light of success.
Leadership of governance must not be construed or mixed up with leadership of a political party. They are different entities each having separate roles in the governance process.
We in Trinidad and Tobago cannot claim to be benefactors of such a model. We are, therefore, not recipients of this kind of gesture. Our leaders are not our masters, we are the masters of this modicum, and in this process, there must be total amity among all the different alliances to which we have subscribed.
Our public philosophy must be communicated with adeptness and precision, not shortchanged by ad hoc press conferences, press briefings, or press releases which most times do not represent the truth we own by our right as citizens of this country. And for a more enlightened society, the Constitution must be readily available at libraries, schools, government, and corporate office, as this is our public philosophy. I mean, the Preamble of the Republican Constitution, which is long overdue, as this is the setting stone to teach the citizens, particularly, our young people.
This country is yet to level with the national populace, and this is one of the tragic incidents of our democracy, or so- called democracy. Our democracy is still in its infancy, except when we are summoned to vote at either national or local elections, and this is the only time we see a semblance of democracy.
We are inspired that we have the right to select a government of our choice, lest we rekindle the use of the Shoup Voting Machines in the 1961 and 1966 general elections, when one went to cast his vote, he is not sure that his vote was recorded by the candidate of his choice, and at times, total votes were visible long before the closing of poll.
In today’s world of, Internet and Facebook and the sophisticated forms of information technology, there must be serious and genuine attempt to refashion our democracy as the populace would feel comfortable.
In the process of re-establishing a new format of our democracy, there must be a moral distinction as well as develop measures of performance at periodic intervals as guidelines.
Whilst the world explores the outer space spheres and mapping the universe, the people of Trinidad and Tobago, 60 years after Independence continue to protest for improve and safe roads, all of which are ornamented with potholes, humps, ravines, landslide, depressions, bridges with no railings and overgrown grass and not forgetting he massive floods every time the clouds get dark. The Public Transport system is much to be desired, and the country’s first Prime Minister Dr Eric Williams stupidly closed the Trinidad Government Railways in 1965, and now citizens are totally dissatisfied with its service. WASA is yet to respond to its mandate of 1966. No water everywhere, not even to take a Panadol remains the cry of the public.
Prime Minister Patrick Manning unceremoniously closed sugar industry in 2005, and in 2018, Dr Keith Rowley closed down Petrotrin. We await the next closure, which might be the total government.
The year 2023, we hope would be not as disastrous as 2022. Our national outlook is depressing, fictitious as crime continues to escalate, and we wonder when those at the “command center” would seek refuge in the truth and get serious about the continuous decay of our country. We were known by the world that, “Trinidad and Tobago is the Land of the Humming Bird. Instead, it is now the Land of the Hungry Bird”.
Former columnist for the Trinidad Guardian in the 1960s, Walter Lippman in his masterpiece, “The Public Philosophy’ urgently warns man that his liberty is dangerously threatened as he re-examines traditional democratic ideals—freedom of speech, free public education, the enjoyment of private property, among the several issues of vital concerns to freedom loving peoples all over the world. Lippman added that men will continue to be free only if they elect officials who cannot be bribed, appeased or intimidated by private groups, but who will govern according to the principles of public philosophy of unselfish behavior which formed the basis of our Constitution.
Let us in Trinidad and Tobago take note.