Letters to the Editor

Mighty Sparrow said it best

Thursday, September 14, 2017

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Dear Editor,

In 1965 Slinger Francisco, the Mighty Sparrow, after a political scandal regarding Dr Patrick Solomon and the then Prime Minister Dr Eric Williams, wrote in a political satire: “I am going to do what I feel to do, and I couldn't care less who vex or who get blue. And if you want to test how ah strong in an election, leh we bet some money, ah giving odds ten to one. I control all the money that pass through this country. And they envy me for my African Safari. I am politically strong, I am the weight of town. Don't argue with me, you can't beat me in John John. Who's not with me is my enemy, and dust will be their destiny.”

He continued: “Who give you the privilege to object? Pay you taxes, shut up, and have respect.”

Fifty-two years later not much has changed. One's actions seem not to be evaluated by law and order, but by political support. It is not surprising, therefore, that since both sides of the political divide are somewhat equally divided, there is always support for what may seem to be corrupt practices.

Trinidad and Tobago is a land where value for money seems not as important as political support. It is not unusual for a simple water connection by Water and Sewerage Authority to cost thousands of dollars. On occasion, no less than 10 people, two trucks, a backhoe, and supervisor are designated to work overtime on what can be done in half an hour by two men. The unions and politicians seem happy with such arrangements and, as far as the people are concerned, if they don't like it they can get the hell out of here.

When there were allegations of corruption at the construction of the airport the supporters of those accused were OK with that. When, in 1999, the Government agreed to rely on costly desalinated water and tie the country to a 20-year agreement to purchase that water in foreign currency, rather than reduce the wastage in the distribution system, many were OK with that. Whether our politicians seem to seek self-enrichment through bestowing upon themselves and their friends titles to enhance their career, or give contracts in the billions of dollars to their supporters, there were sectors of our population willing to overlook their action.

The present scenario in which there are allegations of paying for oil that was not delivered to Petrotrin seems likely to join the number of alleged impropriety that has plagued our two major political parties. In the end, however, all will be ignored, as Sparrow said: “I am the boss and who vex loss.”

Perhaps it is time to change our modus operandi and think about the medicine, salary, infrastructure repair, education opportunities, or investment that go un-financed due to the corrupt practices of a few. The next time we are called to test our politicians at an election it may be appropriate to think about our nation first.

God bless our nation.

Steve Alvarez

Democratic Party of Trinidad & Tobago

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