Towards a new course | Letters to the Editor

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In addition to climate change sweeping the planet, political winds are enabling paradigm shifts in many places. Trinidad and Tobago is no exception. We had seen it happen in Tobago during their last election cycle when the ruling party was unceremoniously ousted from power.

People are tired of promises that never materialize. Every system must have checks and balances to ensure political honesty and integrity, not bombastic campaign promises.

If a guarantee has been made on the stump and remains unfulfilled, then it is time to step aside and let someone else more capable do the people’s work; call a new election if that’s what it takes.

No excuse will suffice, not the lack of support from the opposition or from existing laws; nothing should prevent you from doing what you were elected to do.

Find a way; when you made that promise, you should have prepared for a fallback position in case of opposition, as you always do.

Our politicians are very well paid with perks like duty free automobiles every two years, first class travel, world class kitchens, free health care at the best hospitals in the world (not T&T) and the best doctors that taxpayers’ money can buy.

And yet we have incumbent politicians who use loopholes in the system to squeeze out of the treasury whatever more they can get from the public purse. They are in the political game to get rich.

Some have given up their legal activities, the medical profession and permanent positions as judges and university professors to become politicians. Didn’t the professions they had chosen enrich them as quickly as expected? And yet they claim they deserve the high salaries because they would be well paid if they put their skills to good use in the business world. To them, I would say, take it and go.

Systemic change is needed if we are to end political heritage. What voters were promised is not what they got. All the leaders we have had since Independence were students of the old colonial past that we have tried to put behind us.

Unlike America, which invented an entirely new system of government when they seceded from the British, Dr Eric Williams, our first Prime Minister, fresh out of Oxford University with a doctorate in philosophy where he studied history and political science, all based on the Westminster system. , he brought this system home when he became prime minister.

How? Why? Because that’s what he studied; that’s what he knew best.

We are now seeing the effects of a system that is not suitable for a people with a history of slavery. With the departure of Queen Elizabeth II, we are at an inflection point where we can use this moment as a stepping stone to a whole new democratic start.

Should we adopt the American system of government, or is there a fairer system we can develop so that everyone can benefit?

Americans did this when they broke free from the oppressive British system. May the political winds of change help us chart a new course.

Rex Chookolingo

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