Following the passing of the 2020/2021 budget, the Government has announced plans to establish more skills-learning centres for the nation’s young people. This is a very laudable initiative.

However, what we continue to lack the will to do is to establish a fully comprehensive system of national service designed to ensure that any young people who fall through the mainstream education system, and are not gainfully employed, are immediately and dutifully channelled into national service (Cadet Core, Army, Coast Guard, Special Reserve police, trade school or skills-learning centre).

Some will say the cost will be prohibitive for an ailing economy like ours. However, an all-embracing and well-administered system would also likely result in such a drop in all forms of criminal activity that the resultant savings in the national security budget would more than pay for the costs of running the programme.

Gregory Wight

Maraval

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CULTURE. It’s a fairly amorphous word; difficult to pin down to a simple meaning. Slippery to define, except perhaps by looking at various characteristics that have come to be associated with it. For me, it is essentially the way people live.

The recent budget presented by the Minister of Finance likens itself to a statement made by St Augustine of Hippo in his seminal work “Confessions of a Sinner’’. Here he says, “Lord give me chastity and self-control—but not yet.” Similarly, in the budget the Government sets out to kick-start our transformation. And while sketching the key areas for our sustenance, they fall short and present the attitude “but not yet”. They have hesitated on the critical enabling factors, without which, no significant progress will ever be safeguarded or any backsliding ever be arrested early to avoid crucial relapses to the system.

At least two senior Government ministers have raised issues related to the country’s continued unacceptably high food import bill and its relationship to agriculture production in Trinidad and Tobago.

WE as a people are quick to trigger the refrain, “It doh matter, dem politicians eh go implement anything we suggest.”