My August 07, 2017 letter to PM Rowley

This is one of the letters which I have written to
Prime Minister Rowley over the past 5 years.

Dear Prime Minister

I began writing to you in July of 2016 from the perspective of a concerned citizen.  So far I have made suggestions with regard to the following issues:

  1. The absence of a 5-7 year Strategic Plan
  2. The escalating crime situation
  3. The absence of opportunities for recently graduated returning nationals
  4. The Tourism Sector and our efforts at diversification
  5. The need to provide a secondary school for the children of Carenage
  6. The possibility of introducing a “Systems/Design Thinking” project in our schools
  7. The idea of the walkable cities and the positive benefits to be derived
  8. Road congestion
  9. Communications
  10. Making Chaguaramas into a “Bus only” zone
  11. Transportation as a quality of life issue

May I suggest that in your capacity as Minister of Public Utilities with responsibility for T&TEC that you encourage the company to lead the charge of deriving cost savings from the reduced use of electricity by following these steps:

  1. Do an audit of the cost of electricity utilized by various Ministries.
  2. Invest in timing systems to take the lights off for identified periods especially during the night time.
  3. Measure the cost over a period.
  4. Boast about the cost savings and encourage consumers to do the same.

Implemented successfully you will look smart and connect with people on a real level.

Yours for our country!

Dennise Demming (Mrs.)
MBA, BSc., Cert-Mass Comm
Citizen

My June 07, 2017 letter to PM Rowley

This is one of the letters which I have written to
Prime Minister Rowley over the past 5 years.

Dear Prime Minister,

In your 21st month in office I wish to continue along the theme of Transportation.

I found the following bits of information on the IDB website where the “IDBG Country Strategy with the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago 2016-2020” is published and have lifted them verbatim for your consideration:

  1. Estimated cost of time lost and fuel spent due to congestion is US$267- 345 million per year.
  2. IDB Analysis of Mass Transit Alternatives in Trinidad and Tobago prepared in 2016 found that the Western corridor is 8km long and it takes as much as 36 minutes to reach POS; on the Eastern Corridor POS to Sangre Grande is 45 km long and could take up to 2 hours to commute; and, on the Southern Corridor POS to San Fernando is 45 km long and could take as much as 2 hours to commute.
  3. The National Climate Change Policy (2011) indicates that carbon dioxide emissions have doubled from 1990 levels of 1,313 Gg to 2,622 Gg in 2006, and highlights that this rising trend correlates with the increase in the number of registered vehicles from 150,000 to 275,000 over the same period.

These 3 facts rang alarm bells in my head and I wonder why despite your full knowledge of this, your government seems to be adopting the business as usual policy to the issue of transportation.  

I once again suggest that you appoint a multi disciplinary committee including urban planners and young change makers to present modern solutions to our transportation issues.  Taking this action will address 3 issues: congestion on the roads, reduction in commute time and vehicular congestion on the roads. 

It will also add some credibility to your campaign trail commentary about “transportation being a quality of life issue”.

Yours for our country!
Dennise Demming (Mrs.)
MBA, BSc., Cert-Mass Comm
Citizen

May 07, 2017 

This is one of the letters which I have written to
Prime Minister Rowley over the past 5 years.

Dear Prime Minister

I hope this letter reaches you experiencing the best of health.

It is your 20th month at the helm of the MS T&T and the noise from the deck and the dock is increasing.  Indeed you may not appreciate the analogy of boats and ships at this time!

I am reading a book by Jeff Speck called “Walkable City” which answers the question: “How do we solve the problem of the suburbs? Urbanist Jeff Speck shows how we can free ourselves from dependence on the car — which he calls “a gas-belching, time-wasting, life-threatening prosthetic device” — by making our cities more walkable and more pleasant for more people”.

I recall your stridency on the campaign trail talking about transportation being a quality of life issue.  May I suggest that you appoint a committee of urban planners and give them the brief to find modern solutions to our transportation issues even if it means bringing Jeff Speck to provide some advice.

Let me know if you wish to borrow my copy when I’m finished reading it.

Yours for our country!

Dennise Demming (Mrs.)
MBA, BSc., Cert-Mass Comm
Citizen

April 07, 2017

This is one of the monthly letters which I have written
to Prime Minister Dr. Rowley over the past five years.

Dear Prime Minister,

My apologies for not writing to you on March 7, 2017.

In your 19th month as Prime Minister, I am concerned about the legacy you will leave when you demit office both as Prime Minister and as Representative for Diego Martin West. 

As a constituent of Diego Martin West here are 2 suggestions which can give you a much needed boost:

  1. Build a Secondary School for the children of Carenage using the template of Bishop’s East which has been phenomenally successful.  Maybe it is time for a Bishop’s West in the Chaguaramas Peninsula.
  2. Make Chaguaramas into our first “Bus only” city.  This thought was stimulated by the “FluTag” disaster, St. Peter’s Day Celebrations, every Carnival Fete in Chaguaramas and the visual of 2 massive car parks which routinely house the private vehicles owned by members of the Regiment and Coast Guard.  The stadium can be used as a car park and regular bus shuttles could operate on time from there.  It would require the registration of resident’s vehicles and the issuance of passes.

If you are brave enough to implement these suggestions, you will have a successful talking point for the population and begin the narrative of success which is urgently needed by the Government which you lead.

Yours for our country!

Dennise Demming (Mrs.)
MBA, BSc., Cert-Mass Comm
Citizen

Feb 7, 2017 – Letter to Prime Minister Dr. Rowley

This is one of the letters which I have written to
Prime Minister Rowley over the past 5 years. 

Dear Prime Minister

Happy Carnival to you?

This is your 17th month as the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago and you are still underperforming in my survey of one.

I am particularly interested in us making positive strides in the area of tourism as a vehicle for diversification of the economy.  In the short term, there are few quick wins but much can be done in the medium to long term.  Here are two suggestions:

  1. Publicise the terms and conditions being given to Sandals and offer the identical terms and conditions to all potential investors in building new plant.
    (This will serve to mute any dissenting voices about lack of transparency, favouritism and back room dealings).
  2. Ensure that Sandals or their representatives begin the EIA process publicly leading to the publication of the final EIA when it is granted.
    (This will demonstrate your commitment to minimising long term environmental impacts and demonstrate your further commitment to transparency and accountability.)

Yours for our country!

Dennise Demming (Mrs.)
MBA, BSc., Cert-Mass Comm
Concerned Citizen

Nov 07, 2016 – Letter to Prime Minister Dr. Rowley.

Dear Prime Minister,

Today is the anniversary of your 14th month at the helm of our country and from all indications there is very little for us to celebrate.

On the campaign trail, you stated that the traffic situation is a quality of life issue which is intolerable.  You further promised a mass transit solution and inspired the population with your rhetoric about what we could do if we did not spend 4 hours on the road.

I am requesting an update on the status of the mass transit plan as you promised.

Yours for our country


Dennise Demming
Citizen

Jan 7, 2017 – Letter to Prime Minister Rowley

Dear Prime Minister,

Best wishes for 2017!

Congratulations on your 16th month as the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago.

I am taking the time share my views with you because I am not a single voice.  I represent hundreds of citizens who feel that you have neither re-assured us nor advised us of your plans and strategies.

I am hopeful that 2017 will be a year of action however it is necessary for you to communicate directly with us and communicate regularly.  May I suggest a   Monthly conversation with the Prime Minster.  I am specifically suggesting that the conversation take a slightly informal or casual tone and be casted in different locations with different stakeholders at outdoor venues which are historic.  For example, the February conversation could take place in the Grand Stand of the Queen’s Park Savannah and could talk about your dreams and hopes for culture and link those dreams and aspiration to the current economic circumstances.

May I suggest sir that your country needs an inspirational leader and that you have a short window to frame yourself as such.

Yours for our country

Dennise Demming (Mrs.)
MBA, BSc., Cert-Mass Comm
Citizen

Oct 4th, 2016 letter to Prime Minister Rowley

Dear Prime Minister,

We say we are pegging our future on the success of a strengthened Tourism Industry but  we keep shooting ourselves in the foot by not strengthening Caribbean Airlines nor presenting our strategic plan.  The current shouting about Sport Tourism will fail because there are NO bedrooms around the excellent facilities which have been built in Central Trinidad.

To borrow a phrase from Dr. Gabrielle Hosein, “If I was the Prime Minister” here is what I would do to make sports tourism a reality.

I would convert the Couva Children’s Hospital into a sports tourism complex which could house athletes and provide a service for the convalescence of international, regional and local athletes.  (There is no facility where athletes can convalesce in the region).

I would invite accomplished sports doctors and physiotherapists to function there during the winter periods or periods which coincide with off-season training of athletes and cyclists.

I would go after the hosting of a major international swim or cycling activity to show off my facilities to the world.

The Couva Hospital is ideal because it has a good combination of wards (which can provide dormitory facilities for athletes), private rooms which can house officials and medics, cafeteria facilities, recreational facilities and medical facilities.  More importantly, it is within an easy commute from our world class facilities.  Without bedrooms and other amenities, the aquatic centre and the cycling centre would have a difficult time attracting the traffic that is needed to make them viable.

These suggestions will put us ahead of the curve in several ways.

Regards
Dennise Demming
Citizen

Social unrest will continue without ‘solution-focused dialogue’

The location of the points of the civil disruption have one thing in common. They have voted solidly for the PNM for the past 29 years but they continue to be socially and economically under-served.

The seeds of the discontent were fertilised by the alleged police killing of three men in the Morvant area. Four days later, there is no word on the status of the party of policemen involved in the killings—other than an assurance that the matter will be investigated.

Photo: Lawmen move in on Morvant residents Joel Jacobs, Israel Clinton and Noel Diamond on 27 June 2020.
All three men were shot dead within a few minutes.

That line about such investigations has been so frequently peddled that it provides little comfort. In another jurisdiction, the men would have at least been removed from active duty!

The commissioner of police is singing his victory song of having suppressed the failed ‘plan of disruption’ while the minister of national security is peddling his story that they were all paid instigators. But 30 June 2020 will be remembered as a day of massive disruption, after three months of Covid-19 lockdown.

We are experiencing a period of extreme insecurity. Business continuity is at risk; and people are unsure of where their next paycheque is coming from and therefore doubtful about their future survival.

All over, including amongst the law enforcers, emotions are raw. This is a time for real leadership and collaboration. This is a potential point of inflection where the true leader will emerge.

One option is to continue the use of force, which will result in increased bloodshed and the sacrificing of the lives of young black persons. Another option is to create opportunities for open collaboration, aimed at finding solutions.

There is no simple solution to this problem which has been festering for years. The answer lies in collaborating to understand the issues which drive these expressions. Academics and social commentators have proffered different solutions, but this is too complex to exclude the participants.

Photo: Morvant residents remonstrate with TTPS Inspector Alexander, after the police killing of Morvant residents Joel Jacobs, Israel Clinton and Noel Diamond on 27 June 2020.
(via Stabroeknews)

Both the ‘oppressed’ and the ‘oppressor’ must give voice to their thoughts and emotions. Whoever invests time in creating solution-focused dialogue will emerge the leader and solver of these deep, sticky social problems.

But alas, the timing may not be right for our formal leaders, because there is an election to be won. Kicking the problem down the road may be the preferred option at this time.

One thing the population is assured of is that, as we take this show-of-force approach, the problem will recur with increasing ferocity.