The election is just around the corner and the question rolling around in everyone’s mind is who do we vote for?

My two fundamental issues are our crime rate and the diversification of our economy.

The crime rate is still unacceptably high, and I think it’s an issue everyone in this country would agree is a critical one. What’s the point of living in any country if you never know, from day to day, if you will be alive?

I think appointing a police commissioner from another party was the right thing, the brave thing, to do; and Gary Griffith has certainly made a huge difference in pushing the envelope beyond our complacency zone.

However, we must recognise both political parties have allowed this cancerous crime situation to fester for so long that it has now become a structural part of our economic and political fabric, with both parties deliberately allocating contracts/revenue to these criminal cancer agents in exchange for votes. We are now at a stage four cancer/crime rate. Having said that, I still think CoP Griffith is the best surgeon to rid us of this cancer.

The diversification of our economy is also a critical issue because given the formidable rise of the US fracking sector, and the avalanche of alternative energy options, whose prices have dropped dramatically, we have, at best, a ten-year window where we either find at least three other economic pillars which can replace the revenue from our one pillar gas-and-oil economy, or our country goes into bankruptcy and our citizens get put into a “financial jail” by the IMF behemoth.

In terms of our diversification efforts, both parties have failed miserably. The reason is simple: the politicians voted into parliament have neither the experience nor the aptitude to assist in this diversification guidance for our country.

We need people who have been successful in this experience previously and know exactly the shortcuts to take and pitfalls to avoid. People like Arthur Lok Jack, SM Jaleel, Mr Bermudez, Kama Maharaj of Sacha Cosmetics, Norman Sabga, CEO of Massy Holdings—proven entrepreneurs who have diversified their own businesses—are the best people to advise our country how to chart this diversification course.

I would recommend these people be given a charter (so they can’t be pulled and pushed by any politicians), as the Diversification Committee, with a time frame of 12 months to come up with at least seven recommendations; and another 12 months to implement at least three of these.

This is the only practical option which would give our country a chance of “surfing over” this oncoming economic maelstrom—fracking and alternative energy—headed our way.

In conclusion, therefore, while I would give the PNM a “B” grade for appointing Mr Griffith to start the crime-fighting process, right now based on past performance, or lack thereof in respect to diversification of our economy, both parties would get a failing grade.

In this regard, I would recommend the setting-up of a diversification committee with a charter to map out and implement our three new economic pillars over the next two years.

Whoever comes up with the best diversification strategy, while keeping Mr Griffith as the police commissioner, would get my vote.

Roger Gordon