by Vernon Khelawan
So many times you hear the question being asked, “Why is Trinidad and Tobago so lawless?” One doesn’t have to look very far for the answer. It lies in the quality of our leaders.
The Mayor of Point Fortin publicly declared he was looking to secure a parking place for the ‘PH’ cars in the Borough so that they can ply their trade unencumbered. Now using private cars for hire is ILLEGAL; it is against the law in this country.
But here we have a leader, a mayor, encouraging lawlessness by telling the ‘PH’ drivers it’s okay to break the law and actually encouraging them to do so. It’s like him or any other leader saying it’s alright to kill or maim, to rob people, visitors and locals alike and just break any law. It is the same way we deal with squatting and illegal buildings.
Then I read where the Trinidad Express, a highly respectable publication, in an editorial condoning this lawlessness. They agree with the Mayor for seeking an accommodation with the police to allow this law-breaking, when the police are supposed to be the ones prosecuting people for breaking the law. This situation is very befuddling to me. How can the police be a participant in breaking the law, when they are the people supposed to uphold the very law?
The newspaper then tries to justify its position by saying that the lucrative ‘PH’ business poses a problem all over the entire country. That is a fact. But it is up to the authorities to somehow amend the law to make the ‘PH’ cars legitimate and avoid prosecution. The legitimising of the ‘PH’ has become a necessary evil, but one which must be dealt with immediately.
Is the issue an untouchable one? Why are our legislators too afraid to touch it? Are our representatives so concerned with what will happen at the next election if they put so many people out of work? Are they worried about the votes? Or we must remember that even policemen own ‘PH’ cars, even fleets, and some even ply routes themselves. Maybe we can ask Acting Police Commissioner Williams what’s up with those situations.
It is common knowledge that those seeking leadership positions always promise to work for the betterment of the country. Unfortunately, most rarely do and the needs of Trinidad and Tobago are so often left unfulfilled. Let’s look at some projects that have been so affected.
Apart from the thorny issue of the ‘PH’ cars plying for hire, there are many other issues affecting Trinidadians and Tobagonians and our government seems paralysed to do anything about them.
This kind of leadership has led to the total collapse of the seabridge; contributed to even greater losses to the already struggling airbridge; wreaked almost irreparable damage to Tobago’s tourism product and its fragile economy; the non-continuance of the Couva Children’s Hospital and problems with the Oncological Centre at Mount Hope; the perpetual unavailability of CDAP drugs; the hundreds of mounds of garbage all over the country making our nation one of the dirtiest in the Caribbean. Roads all over the country are crying out for help and so much more.
Sadly, we are forced to conclude that almost everything that happens in this country has a political undertone somewhere, which affects the outcome. One administration does nothing another administration began. The polarity existing in the country affects us all in one way or the other.
I want to recognise the death of great Credit Union pioneer Edward Garcia who was buried a week ago. My condolences go out to his wife Yvonne, his four children and his grandchildren. May he rest in God’s eternal peace.