Every 5 years, state enterprises are torn apart, diplomatic missions are populated with neophytes and the financiers pull out a different company tailored to the new party which forms the government. The losers continue to be all of us who cannot pay for private medical attention, cannot send our children to private or prestige schools, who have to wake up at 3:00 am to avoid the traffic, who cannot afford personal body guards etc, etc, etc. The citizenry continues to be abused by our politicians who quickly lose touch as they zoom around with police escorts, move into living accommodation they could not afford just 25 months before or as we saw recently, are given special privilege to bypass sticky immigration lines.

Our dilemma is that both political parties as currently configured are unsuited and inadequate to provide us with any leadership to attract our attention or in particular, the attention of the 18-45’s who will make the difference in the next elections.

As we approach the halfway mark for both political parties, the population awaits some concrete signal that either of the dominant political parties has a transformation strategy which will be rolled out. The PNM could have appointed a new General Secretary to tackle the transformation of Balisier House into that hub of excitement which is generated at any functioning “party headquarters” while the UNC could just have a “kuchoor free” approach to staging their internal elections.

The dominant political parties continue to offer us the equivalent of exhumed corpses with moribund ideas and expect the population to follow along in docile compliance. As time passes, the next General Elections will see us move deeper into traditional voting patterns as the legacy voters (i.e. the over 50s) dig their heels in and support the red or yellow stains.

Both parties are aware that constitutional reform is needed, though while in office have not found the time to address this fundamental issue. They continue to pay lip service to the notions of Accountability, Collaboration and Transparency (ACT).

I keep scanning the horizon for the emergence of a third force which will be the game changer that this country needs. Yes, the situation was different to when the NAR trounced the PNM 33/3 in 1986 but a landslide victory is what is needed to transform Trinidad and Tobago.  Based on past performance, the new Seepersad-Bachan led Congress of the people (COP) has a lot of rebuilding to do to regain any traction.

We continue to make the same mistakes over and over, hoping for a different result. What we are in fact doing is assuring that Trinidad & Tobago will continue to head to backwardness and self destruction as we continue on this path of winner-take-all and reap political reward.  

Here are some things a courageous leader could do:

  1. Engage talent from wherever it lies even it is across party lines.
  2. Rationalize the existence of State Enterprises.
  3. Establish a system where appointments to state boards are based on applications to an independent Authority.