Saturday, October 11, 2014

My Advice to the PM...

I am not an advisor to the Prime Minister, but if i were i would be guiding her towards the grand gesture this last year of her first term, so that her governance would not only be done, but it would be seen to be done, and it would be remembered for having been done. Madame Prime Minister, as the election season begins to heat up, those who are interested in replacing you and your government in office are challenging your track record and I daresay you must respond if you are to win. I have made a few suggestions in the past, I respectfully make a few more now that, if enacted, could well show that yours is a serious government worthy of at least another term.

In no particular order:

- Enact travel restrictions from countries with Ebola. Fast track quarantine facilities at the airport that can accommodate plane loads of people should the need arise.

It is far better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. Imagine the situation should an infected person actually get on board an enclosed plane? What do we then do when that plane touches down on Trinbago soil? This one's a no-brainer, and we need to get out in front of this Ebola thing now.

- Cancel the Carnival.

As the previous point intimated, Ebola is not one of the concerns we are going to want to be juggling anytime soon. The national festival is going to present an immediate challenge simply because it is a moving petri dish of cross contamination.

- Hang the next fifteen prisoners duly prosecuted and sentenced to death.

Criminals seem to think that Justice is not only blind, it is dumb and toothless as well. We need them to rethink, and nothing like the threat of execution to cool a murderous climate down.

- Impose a bottle tax on plastic bottles to save the environment and use it to fund a 'reward' to encourage the homeless and the desperately poor to scavenge in exchange for cash.

Plastic bottles do more harm to the environment on a daily basis than just about anything else. As the point suggests, a twenty five cent per container produced tax should be levied and used to reward those who become the plastic bottle scavenging industry, the obvious solution to the problem.

- Bring referendum legislation to the Parliament and pass it into law. Quickly.

We are growing up as a nation and the people want to have their say. Give it to them. Referendums make the democracy work as it brings the big decisions closer to the people. This is a win win as, any government willing to be guided by the wishes of the voters is sure to continue to get their votes.

- Use new referendum legislation to ask the public to weigh in on the Point Fortin Highway, on the decriminalization of homosexuality and the decriminalization of marijuana for personal use.

This nagging and contentious re-route nonsense has been overplayed, yet it continues on like an annoying hum. Forget mediation or confrontation, give the people the opportunity to decide on what is the best way forward, and make sure all parties agree to abide by that result. While we are at it shouldn't we give up the pretense that we are a chaste and sober society and stop penalizing people for their lifestyles and personal choices? Marijuana use seems widespread through all sectors of society, so why not ask society to decide on its fate? The criminalization of homosexuality is another hot coal issue that could be removed from the political directorate and given to the people to decide. Depending on that outcome we could all be guided by how the public at large really feels about the issue.

- Zero tolerance on illegal guns.

My pet peeve. For the life of me I do not understand why it is so difficult to build a dedicated gun court complete with gun jail to deal with gun issues. A dedicated gun court would take the burden off the existing Magistrates Courts and encourage the police to go after illegal guns knowing that the prosecution would be swift. Illegal gun legislation need to be amended to include a maximum three month stay at His Excellency's pleasure for first offense, doubling for the next three offenses and topping off with a fifteen year stay for third strikers.

- Free the prisoners.

Not all, just those who have had cases before the courts for more than ten years. Not to include rape, murder and other blood and white collar crimes of course, but both the Director of Public Prosecutions and his Excellency the President could be approached to vacate the backlog of matters clogging the system, a measure that would free many who have served sentences far in excess of what they could have been awarded had their matters been prosecuted to conclusion. Unclogging the case load and easing the overcrowding at the nation's prisons would go a long way toward paving the way for a far more just society.

- Fix the Courts.

I have suggested for years and I suggest again, we need to create an 'Old Case Court' staffed and manned to handle every matter from today going back into perpetuity. The High Court can then be freed to handle every matter that comes before it from today going forward. This is of course an over-simplification of what is required but it makes the point and has serious merit that is worthy of consideration if what we want is speedy justice in he best interest of all and the nation as a whole.

Of course there are many other ideas and suggestions worthy of implementing and like those I believe that these will have a massive impact on the majority of this beautiful nation. At some point we are going to have to make all the tough calls, rip those bandages off and free this country from the artificial restraints and petty fears that binds it and set it free to bigger more meaningful development. This is as good a place as any to start.

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