National Pride or National Disgrace?
Date: December 18th,
2019 Dear Editor/Newsroom,
To read that the Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago Limited (UDeCOTT) has now spent 89 million TT dollars to renovate an already built and frequently well maintained President’s house is simply an insult to our national intelligence and integrity and a slap in the face of all of our suffering flood victims. There is no dispute and we agree fully with the President that we need to boost our national pride, but with so much suffering and poverty shouldn’t legislative leaders be more actively engaged in ensuring value for money, especially since this country continues to suffer from an entrenched resource curse of inflated costs, kickbacks and corruption of every imaginable type?
It is deeply disturbing that a mere pittance of two million dollars has been allocated for flood relief efforts by this Prime Minister (PM) while champagne toasts are celebrated on 89 Million dollars shamelessly spent on repairs to the roof of an already built, well maintained and lavishly furnished President’s Residence. Based on established square footage costs by professional quantity surveyors, we can argue that three brand new ‘monuments to boost national pride’ or Presidential residences could have been built and furnished for the same 89 Million TTD.
Have our elected leaders lost their morality? Does PM Rowley care to understand the disaster that faces thousands of flood victims annually as a result of Government’s poor urban planning, mismanagement, neglect and/or inability to maintain infrastructure? Does PM Rowley not understand that he was elected with the core responsibility to ensure that ALL citizens are adequately protected? The PM has a duty of care and yet on the one hand he is failing to protect and safe-guard citizens while on the other he is celebrating what appears to be a typically and excessively inflated 89 Million TTD renovation cost. Is this good public administration?
We will continue to suffer national shame and disgrace until and unless we have a Prime Minister, President, Cabinet members, Parliamentarians and Regional Corporation leaders who can lead our nation with a sense of social justice and public conscience. We are doomed until we can ensure that the boom to bust squander mania is halted as a matter of national emergency or else we will rightfully continue to be branded as a failed State Banana Republic, polluted with an insensitive leadership who are paving the way for the scourge of gross mismanagement of the public purse. The world is watching as we hang our heads in shame.
Sincerely, Gary Aboud