Dr Wayne Kublalsingh

Dr Wayne Kublalsingh

In his news conference on July 2, 2022, the Prime Minister attempted to create an impression of himself as a man close to the heartbeat of global goings on, thoughtfully and gallantly looking after the developmental interest of the Republic. There is nothing further from reality. This remote, hands-off leadership is deluded, fanciful and farcical to the extreme.

Dr Rowley, and successive governments, has left the nation in a developmental mess, and he himself has been the biggest blunderer. Dr Rowley’s actions over the years show that he has little grasp of national development, and having miserably failed on this score locally, is making out that he is some kind of global development arbiter or diplomat.

Food Security: Dr Rowley went to Guyana. To talk to Guyanese and other Caricom leaders. To give support to a large-scale Caricom project. To use the ample lands of Guyana, to produce wheat, corn, rice, all manner of grain and meat, which economies of scale dictate that we may not produce singly. But Dr Rowley and the PNM government were given such an opportunity before. And they flunked out. Went for something else, which busted, caused the loss of scores of millions.

In 2002, working with 40 development experts at The University of the West Indies, I produced the Caroni Position Paper, giving a detailed plan, showing how the 77,000 acres of Caroni (1975) Ltd lands, infrastructure, resources could be used to lever and diversify the economic fortunes of the nation.

I presented it to the Agriculture Minister. He requested 12 more copies. Instalments of it were serialised in the Express newspaper. But the Government had more serious business - smelter, the Master Gas Plan of 2002, 14 heavy gas-based industrial estates, ports and industries. A rare opportunity, coherent large-scale planning, missed; the lands, resources of this company dissipated, marooned, disseminated in bits and pieces.

Dr Rowley boasted before the last general elections that he owned a farmer’s badge, and would convert the entire Eastern seaboard of Trinidad into an agricultural belt.

Energy: In his news conference, Dr Rowley touted himself as the guardian of our energy security. Why did the 2002 Government reject the Caroni Position Paper? They had gas-based projects on their plate, they said. Dr Rowley had gone up and down this country, platform after platform, gospel-ling smelter. But we had no gas for this Gaffney and Cline Master Plan. Geo technical studies, the hapless clearance of land in La Brea, the shutdown of silo and port, legal, administrative, publicity costs, the cost to the Chinese who had already come, brought machinery, built housing, wasted scores of millions of dollars. Despite the earnest entreaties of the OWTU leadership, members of the Petrotrin Board, myself and others, Dr Rowley made the decision to mothball our oil refinery. I had made the point. In the event of war, global gas price increase, we would have to pay through our nose for gas, fuels.

The Environment: Dr Rowley described the Caricom leaders presenting a forceful lobby to get a meeting with the US President. To discuss, among other things, energy security and climate change. He stated that the US is not blameless in its contribution to global warming. We need loans, concessions (begging) from the “Bretton-Woods” system to finance our mitigation projects.

He did not tell us that his Government had done little, except talk, “it’s in the pipeline,” to decrease our dependence on fossil fuels, or to alter the energy equation to a photonic (solar) and protonic (artificial intelligence) economy. And that per capita, our nation is one of the planet’s leading polluters.

And that his Government is planning to build 12 eight-storey housing blocks on the St Augustine Nurseries, a matter which I have challenged in court. Or that his Government refused to do proper hydrology studies for the Pt Fortin highway system. Tens of millions will be lost on the Mosquito Creek highway segment because the planners decided to do hydraulics before hydrology.

Transport: Transport and crime, singly or together, are taking us to hell in a coconut shell. Did the Prime Minister address the issue of endless potholes and bad roads? The diversification of the local transport economy to include possibly bicycles, a train system, rerouting and better connectivity in lieu of mega-highways? The dystopian effects of traffic on the economy, the ecology, the health, productivity and millions of dollars wasted on traffic each year? Yet, he is involved, he says, in efforts to bring back an inter-Caribbean ferry service.

Crime: The PM revealed to us what we already know and feel: that crime is a national health emergency. Did he say that he interfered in the COP selection process, and caused his chosen antagonist to be removed from the list? I exchanged letters on this interference with Her Excellency, the President, the Police Service Commission, the Acting Chief of Police. And did not stop till Dr Rowley said “it was me”.

It is only when Dr Rowley spoke of his medical affairs that he hit reality. Dr Rowley is clearly facing serious health challenges, requiring expert diagnosis and procedure. But the rest is fantasy, a weak and mewling attempt to rationalise a schoolboy jaunt, running away, breaking biche, absconding from an examination he is clearly no longer capable of passing.

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