The hallmark of a leadership (People’s National Movement-United National Congress) that is without a strategy, purpose and vision is defined by continuous vacillation.
When you refuse to acknowledge and address the multiple wrongs within our society over extended periods and do not have the ability to chart a way forward for the nation, hesitation and procrastination abound.
It’s a rather dangerous and self-inflicting tactic.
Winston Churchill once remarked that “vacillation is the blood brother of demoralisation”. Every right-thinking individual in Trinidad or Tobago will agree that as a result of the hesitation, the procrastination, the pussyfooting by the present Government/Opposition in just about every quarter, our people are now completely demoralised, dispirited, dejected, discouraged and defunct of hope of a better future.
It is apparent that all things in this nation must come to crisis proportions before the powers-that-be pelt a plaster on it and declare it dealt-with.
Covid-19 has merely highlighted the numerous woes and shortfalls of our leadership. It did not create them. Our leaders are the architects of our present misery. The fragility of our economy is being exposed as never before. Nearly every Government institution is crying wolf and shouting loud and clear, “we have no money”. Businessmen can’t get nearly enough foreign exchange to meet their requirements. Unions are up in arms as businesses close and employees are being laid off. Everywhere you look, it’s mayhem. Yet our leadership continues to waffle.
Every single day the plight of the vulnerable in Trinidad and Tobago becomes more and more unmanageable. Pre-Covid-19, there were lines halfway down Frederick Street with our own Trini underprivileged desperate to afford themselves of a handout from Living Water.
The authorities have no idea of the numbers of vulnerable persons in Trinidad. It is significant. Now the Venezuelan crisis (16,000-plus registered) is compounding the plight of the vulnerable.
Anyone who believes this refugee crisis, or the cause of the vulnerable, will right itself without being formally addressed as a national issue is completely mistaken. Yet, our leadership dawdles.
Health and education are in a complete state of flux. Crime and corruption are rampant. Our air, sea and land resources lay idle and underutilised. Our sport, entertainment and culture lie dormant and underdeveloped. This situation could weaken even the most stoic amongst us!
The list goes on and on, and the leadership continues to hedge and delay in taking decisive action to secure our country’s future.
We are desperate for transformation in this country of ours. So what’s the solution?
An “integrated strategy for national development and transformation” will ensure that our leadership no longer sew-saws, yo-yos and proves indecisive.
Strategy defines the big, integrated and cohesive factors that focus our national aspirations and achieves the future. It is timeless. Strategy allows assessment of options and helps us to stay away from investments that do not bring real and measurable benefit to our country and people—ie, the Toco Port.
Strategy is the basis for consensus, commitment and energy to drive our national ambitions.
With a strategy for national development and transformation in place, we can focus on those pillars of stability and growth that will bring the required balance of economic transformation and society development. Of security and safety of our people. Of quality institutions and effective leadership. We cannot have a successful and balanced state unless we have an integrated strategy.
Where do we start? With the manner in which we approach and manage these seemingly insurmountable hurdles. We must immediately stop this incessant vacillation and acknowledge and address these large national issues through strategy.
Our business leaders and our labour leaders, our religious leaders and our non-governmental organisation (NGO) leaders need to awake and take their responsibility seriously and to fully comprehend how strategy can provide us lasting solutions to the seemingly endless plethora of problems that our country faces.
The Strategy Institute of Trinidad and Tobago can provide such. Then, we the ordinary folk can join civic society in creating an energy wave that can lobby our political leaders for the betterment of our people and our country. But, first, we must all stop supping on apathy and inertia.
Make no mistake! If we do not immediately change our approach and methodology to how we manage our affairs and commit to a strategy for national development and transformation, we will soon experience first-hand what a cocktail of turmoil, disorder, unrest and anxiety looks and feels like.
• Michael Scott is a businessman