LAST week there were two apparently disconnected stories whose link we may not have discerned, but which profoundly affects our future.

The first was the Express (Monday July 27) report on the alleged $549M EMBD bid-rigging case which noted, “…some of the same contractors donated financially toward the current government…”. The second is the global headlines which screamed that the US economy had dropped by nine per cent in the last quarter, which on an annualised basis, means it will be down by a third! The link is: no matter who forms the next government, the economy will be battered, and the risk that our inequality problem, partially fuelled by persons who feed off taxpayers’ funds, will worsen.

As we elect a new government, we need to appreciate that organised money plays an outsized role. We need to see the feeding of dissatisfaction among the less privileged in an attempt to tilt the electoral balance. Manufactured outrage by insistent trolls bombard us with spurious stories.

Unashamedly, outlandish promises, that two economists described as “questionable and unlikely” and which have been calculated to require investment of over $5b, while simultaneously obliterating the tax base, are trotted out. Private and foreign investors will fill the gap, a claim that is staggering if one projects the stark decline in the US and reads any responsible global newspaper.

How did we get here? It really began when we, as a country, embraced the notion of ‘every man for himself’ as the organising principle of our economy. When we moved away from the State-run to the private sector organised approach. We made that decision a binary one instead of appreciating the need for balance. We promoted ‘personal responsibility’ to cover up the wanton greed of some. The private sector became a money machine that provided funds for political parties which gave each of them freedom to do whatever they wanted. Consequently, we saw a polarisation of the nation, a ‘them versus us’ and a complete blindness to economic realities. We weaponised anger as a means to increase voting.

Today as we stare at grave economic danger, we are seeing the mobilisation of the urban black community as a repurposed tool to increase voting. We and they ignore why that community is the dispossessed and why they have only received baubles from both parties and ‘pretend’ philanthropists while financiers have made off like bandits (pun intended).

Societal break-up is an imminent threat when this community realises that they have nothing to gain because we are all being flattened by the Covid-19 after-effects. We ignore at our own peril the noises made by a would-be minister of security which, if joined with our present policing attitude, would bloody the same dispossessed to enforce ‘law and order’. The lack of the presentation of an alternative plan by the other party is unacceptable. The work to be done by the Watkins team is not a budget line item. That characterisation will not be sufficient to stem the coming anger or ready us for the future.

The constant attacks on our institutions destroy our faith in them and in our ability to govern ourselves. The destruction of our public education system destroys dreams. Both incapacitate our ability, now needed more than ever before, to problem solve.

May God help us.

Noble Philip

Blue Range


Official recognition of the historical importance of the location where the Treasury Building now stands is long overdue. As the place that marks the spot where British Governor Sir George Fitzgerald Hill publicly read out the Proclamation of Emancipation on August 1, 1834, the site is of immeasurable significance to the history of Trinidad and Tobago.

WE celebrated Emancipation Day on August 1, but to my mind, we have not yet fully grasped the broader concept of freedom. In other words we have not, through our education system, formulated a critical pedagogy across our curricula; to foster a knowledge of self, to move beyond who we are, to transform the what- and how, to break with debilitating norms and to name our world. Inherent in all of this is the development of critical thinking skills in the learner and the learning culture.

IN the early 1970s, the Mighty Composer (Fred Mitchell) composed and sang a calypso entitled “Black Fallacy” in which he showed that many persons today and “from since in the Beginning” continue to use the word “black with a degrading twist,” to denote racism, prejudice and bigotry in their dealings with Africans and African descendants.

AS a civic-minded citizen, one piece of legislation I would like to see passed in the Parliament is one that regulates the conduct of political parties and their supporters during an election.

The insistence of the ruling party to hold the general election on August 10 in the midst of a new or second phase of the Covid-19 pandemic leaves many raised eyebrows and even more questions. Since many restrictions or “protocols” have been put in place to prevent the spread of the virus or “flatten the curve” of infections, two pertinent issues must be questioned here

I remember my deceased uncle telling me that, in the early 1960s, it was the people and religious leaders who went to Dr Eric Williams to persuade him to put the name of God into our Constitution.