Sunday, February 8, 2015

Escalating our Commitment to Mediocrity...

To the master-thinkers behind the United National Congress, victory is measured in terms of being able to defeat the People's National Movement in an election, so whatever happens next, as long as the polls gives them the edge in the numbers we can rest assured, at least where the art of governance and the science of politics goes, we are on track for something absolutely mediocre in the coming months. And to the equal and opposite numbers behind the People's National Movement the concerns are pretty much the same, enunciated so well in my oft quoted line from then columnist turned politician Clarence Rambharath, who predicted so truthfully that the next election will be fought on a campaign of who is less worse between them.

Not that there wont be fireworks, of course there will, all the fireworks that money can buy I imagine, but nothing that really means anything to anyone, especially the voters to whom real leadership seems to have abandoned a long time ago. The nagging issues of illiteracy and the breakdown of the family unit in the growing at risk communities seems to pale in order of importance when held up against the purchase and construction of new jails. Ever reactive, we do nothing to stop the poisoned tree from growing, but spend an inordinate amount of time and treasure dealing with its fruit, creating a country of well preserved ruins and undereducated, under-actualized human beings colliding continuously with each other.

Again, that is not to say that we don't have our fair share and more of deep thinkers and concerned citizens rattling and humming for the type of meaningful change that could reinvent our society, but then the science of our politics would be interrupted, and who wants to go to all the trouble of educating a populace properly trained to vote race and hand outs? The PNM's culture of the CEPEP and URP gangs that the UNC supporters rail so noisily against is the mirror opposite of the UNC's culture of 'box drain contracts,' doing much the same thing as the aforementioned programs, putting undeserved monies in the hands of party operatives and loyal supporters to continuously buy their vote.

All of this country's development has come at a financially draining political cost, all of it. From the never built Caroni Racing Complex to the never should have been built Brian Lara Cricket Academy. The Piarco Airport expansion that gave us an air-conditioned cow shed (as one well known commentator described it) was inflated well past hundreds of times the value, so repugnant and obscene the feeding frenzy it became, hardened and long serving prosecutors have a difficult time looking directly at it. Even the art community was rewarded with the 'copulating slugs' as internationally acclaimed mas man Peter Minshal so aptly christened the NAPA complex that cost many times more than for what it was budgeted, and in the sloppy work that money bought us, will continue costing well into the future. Do we need a ground water treatment plant in the Beetham more than we need literacy programs that bring hope to the despairing of the estimated fifty thousand functional illiterates who live there? Of course not, but then, how will the government park campaign money with contractor friends if it did not build pork projects? The return on investment brought by teaching the sufferer class to read and become employable is not as instant as a French, Canadian or Chinese contractor kickbacks and not as rewarding as drinking in the VIP with their local counterparts so who is to bother? Certainly not the UNC who sees 'those people' as the PNM's problem, and the PNM only seem to care about their dispossessed die hards when they are in opposition so it's up to God and Singing Sandra to listen to voices from the ghetto.

2015 promises hundreds of millions of dollars in election advertising over nothing, expect an eye gouging hair, pulling fest in the extreme, with who drunk and who horning trumping and surpassing food prices and a sensible mass transit plan in anticipation of the coming gridlock. Someone in the Ministry of Works Highway Division told me that, on a day in our not too distant future, the last car that can be accommodated on these roads will roll off and join the traffic, bringing everything to a permanent standstill. He was joking I am sure, but how far off is he? All we ever hear of mass transit and transport programs is the five hundred million dollars the PNM reputedly spent on a study, and since then cheap politics and mind numbing traffic remains the order of the day.

Yes we will have elections in 2015 and much will be said, but don't count on any of it being of any real value to the citizens of this country. We will get politics, all the politics money can buy, but regardless of who wins we will not get improved government, those languishing in our over crowded jails will continue with no intervention into our justice system, courts will remained backed up for decades, food prices will soar, the rich will get richer and the poor will get Carnival and Phagwa, until the people realize that the whole is actually greater than the sum of its parts, and until we become one nation, one people under one flag, well versed and heavily financed opportunists will continue politicking to us while picking our pockets and cutting our throats.

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