appreciation for views
In a democratic society everyone is entitled to their
Newspapers replete with sug-gestions/advice on problems
and challenges facing nation.
Silence from segments of State to public airing of views
on the affairs of country.
dont know if many politicians truly appreciate the
raison detre of a newspaper columnist.
I take this responsibility very seriously and do not vent
my opinions for personal fame or self-aggrandisement.
Through our daily, weekly or monthly expressions, newspaper
columnists are making our contribution to national development
by proffering our views on diverse subjects.
Of course this is not to say we are the repositories of
all the right views and opinions on the various topics on
which we expound.
As such we can be wrong in many instances but in a democratic
society, such as we are, everyone is entitled to their own
I am however a bit perplexed over the apparent indifference
shown by officialdom over what columnists by and large have
to say and, indeed, have been saying since the advent of
the Fourth Estate. Especially when the commentaries are
opposed to what theirs might be.
It is often depressing having to comment on serious national
matters which unfortunately are in the negative, for instance
the crime scourge.
There is nothing pretty about that scenario so naturally
the picture would not be a pretty one.
What is irking me is that it appears that governments, whichever
party is in office, do not pay sufficient attention to the
pleas, views, admonitions or what have you of the general
population as expressed in the pubic media.
It is a fact that the people elect governments to office
and that they would have their own plans and policies on
how to achieve what they pledged in their contract. This
is signed on Election Day.
I kind of like the terminology adopted by President George
Maxwell Richards some time ago, when he said it was time
the people called in the IOU given to the authorities by
Why is it that governments believe that they do not have
to share with the people how they propose to achieve goals
they say are on behalf of the people?
Take this 2020 thing for instance. This PNM administration
is saying that it is on course to achieving for T&T
developed country status by the magical year of 2020.
The regime has not acceded to the requests by the people,
columnists included, to give citizens a road map to reaching
that laudable goal.
Such refusal and/or neglect must lead citizens to be sceptical
about the soundness, genuineness, feasibility, possibility
of such an aspiration.
Newspapers are replete with suggestions or advice from us
and readers on the myriad of problems and challenges facing
But what do you get? Apart from the almost dutiful letters
to the editor by Works Minster Colm Imbert, there is studied
silence from other segments of the State to the public airing
of views on the affairs of the country.
At least Imbert is showing that he cares about the public
image of his ministry and himself. Although the results
of his stewardship, particularly as they relate to easing
the traffic woes, are yet to be fully seen.
I am not in any way suggesting that governments ought to
run the State by collecting their inspiration, policies
or ideas through the newspapers.
I can however claim that governments can do no worse if
they, from time to time, would take cognisance of the suggestions
emanating from the public via the news media. Columnists
Contrary to what they may believe, we do have the nations
welfare at heart.
We too have children, grandchildren and are concerned about
the kind of country they would inherit from us.
We too worry about the crime situation, the inadequate health
services, and the chaotic education system.
We too are affected by the marauding bandits and the consequential
feeling of insecurity even in our homes.
We tooand our childrenare also affected by the
intolerable traffic gridlock which is playing havoc with
our general tolerance levels.
National Security Minister Martin Joseph is at his wits
end trying to get a firm grip on the criminal elements and
I am sure he will readily admit he alone cannot do the job.
As he has admitted.
I wouldnt call for his resignation as so many others
have done and are doing. My advice would be to send his
foreign experts packing and just tune in to
what our local scribes and other citizens are saying every
If we are good enough to be canvassed for our votes, our
political leaders ought to take the free advice from the
people. Columnists included.
And they include those columnists who may be playing
politicssomething I have no problem with as
long as it is fair and balanced.