Monday, April 7, 2014

My Maiden Speech (UNC Diego Martin West) April 7th 2014

Good evening Honorable Prime Minister, 
Ministers, MP's, Councillors, 
Party Chairman, members of the National Executive, 
the Ayotalah of Diego Martin himself Mister Don Sylvester, 
distinguished members, family, friends, 
and with all protocols observed, good evening all.

For those of you who may not yet know me, my name is Phillip Alexander. 

Among the many hats i wear, I am the founder and Chairman of the Jericho Project, a humanitarian relief organisation which, besides advocating for the orphans, disabled and homeless in our society, also assists in times of crisis, crises like the two devastating Diego Martin floods. I know firsthand what a Diego Martin flood feels like, I stood in my house while three feet of water swirled about me and washed my possessions out the door. Twice. Clothes, shoes, anything that would float, pretty much anything that was not built to be wet got wet and was lost.

I stood below a bridge with fire officers, local government councillors, WASA workers, the Regional Corporation people, the ODPM, with neighbours, trying to clear the debris even while the water was rushing by, trying to rescue a man who was washed out of his home and trapped under that bridge, a man who died while we were trying to rescue him.

I together with the members of the Jericho Project spent weeks gathering relief supplies and distributing to those who lost everything. 

I know fully well the consequences of years of neglect and poor representation and how it impacts on the lives of everyday people -  people like me, like you, like everyone in Diego Martin West

I have lived most of my life in Diego Martin.
I know these streets and sidewalks intimately, i could tell you where the best roti and the coldest beers are in Diego Martin.
Like most of you here, I am to the very bone a Trinbagonian, but it is Diego Martin that i call home.
I live in the Diego Martin that makes the National Anthem a truth, because in Diego Martin you can find every creed and race, although i am not sure about everyone finding an equal place, at least not under the representation that Diego Martin has known for the past twenty odd years.
In Diego Martin the fabulously wealthy live cheek by jowl with the desperately poor; we use the same roads, drink the same water, breathe the same air; fight the same floods.
But for many that is where the similarity ends.
Because for many in Diego Martin who have suffered under the weight of absentee representation, life is about making do, and hoping for the best.
Despite having MPs in Government blessed with some of the most powerful Ministries, Diego Martin was neglected and marginalised for years.
Under the trio of Balisier overlords Imbert, Rowley and Browne, the three Diego Martins have suffered ruin due to an arrogant disregard for people and place. These men who have promised election after election to deliver so much have delivered nothing but empty promise and heartbreak.
Under the last Administration, the MPs for the three Diego Martins were respectively the Minister of Works, the Minister of Social Development, and the Minister of Planning, yet look around you, tell me, where was the work? Where was the planning? Where was the social development?
Where are the drains, the pavements, the roads? When was the last time Diego Martin was paved before THIS government began the work of paving Diego Martin side streets? 
The residents of Chuma Monka and environs tell of the last time a barber greene was in their community the NAR was in Office. See what being a PNM constituency really means?
We spoke about those two devastating floods, but under the term of THIS Member of Parliament, Dr. Keith Rowley, and despite him having been a senior Cabinet Minister when that party was in power, Diego Martin and Diego Martin West suffered the further ignobility of becoming a crime hot spot, and of having its residents suffer from a frightening crime wave, of blood in the streets, and of gangs and murder.
Crime and abject poverty, squalor and neglect, who would believe that those words refer to Diego Martin?
This, the most fertile of valleys, the home of so many national heroes, the birth place of so much culture and tradition, so many of our most vibrant communities, dashed against the rocks of the PNM. 

Noted columnist and environmentalist Peter O’Connor told me after the last flood that the problem was due mainly to a lack of planning, of unchecked development, of a highway doubled with no increase in drainage, creating a situation where every time the rains fall it is like trying to flush a toilet into a teacup.

But i need to focus on MY constituency, where i live, where i work, Diego Martin West.

Like the other two in this three headed hydra of incompetence of Imbert, Rowley and Browne, the Member of Parliament for Diego Martin West is a promise.

And much like his other two cohorts, he promises to do things for the constituency that he never does.

Where is the Carenage fishing depot? The Diego Martin vendors market? Where are the recreational facilities for the young and the young at heart? Where are the technical and trade schools to harness the energy and talent of our youth?

Where are the medical facilities to rush our loved ones to in case of emergency?


For the estimated sixty thousand people that live in Diego Martin, where is the vision for the holistic development of all the people into communities that work?

The current Member of Parliament for Diego Martin West is a ghost.

Some people claim that they have seen him in real life, others only know what he looks like from the newspapers, or when they see him on TV, playing the role of a Member of Parliament for a constituency that he never visits.

What is funny is that he has found his way all the way to Fyzabad and La Brea to try and con the constituents of those communities with his special brand of - 'leadership,' - while the communities of Richplain, Covigne, Factory Road, Mason Street, Mercer, L'anse Mitan, La Puerta and others never see him.

The people who put him in the very Office from whence his power comes are ignored while he golfs his way around the world.

Like an inside out reverse Moses, the people he already has he leads astray or discards, yet he goes courting others for purposes known only to him.

Tell me, you who live in Diego Martin West, do you think Keith Rowley knows the way to the promise land?

Or are we to continue to wander in the wilderness of absentee representation and visonless leadership for much longer?

I say to you no, i say it is eviction time, and come 2015 we must tell Keith Rowley let my people go.

Some of you are afraid of change, you say change takes time and that is true, but when you look at what has been accomplished under THIS government in four short years 
and compare it to what was NOT done in fifty one years under the last, it is clear to see and i put to you that the change we voted for is already here.

I put to you that It is time for Diego Martin to be put back on the map.

Tonight we sound a wake up call to the opposition, those bent on opposing for opposing sake, the time wasted playing cheap politics is over.

It is time to tell Imbert, Rowley and Browne, YOUR TIME IS UP!

Go tell everyone, the sun is about to rise in Diego Martin once again.

Madame Prime Minister on behalf of all the people of Diego Martin I Welcome you into our home.

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