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Penal/Debe Chamber head: T&T drinking from a poisoned chalice
The system of governance is poisoning T&T. This is the view of president of the Penal/Debe Chamber of Commerce, Sahid Hosein, who minced no words in pointing out what he described as serious issues facing society. Speaking at the chamber’s induction ceremony at Chinese Dragon Restaurant in Debe, on Friday night, Hosein said there was need for reflection.
Throwing out thought-provoking questions, he asked: “Will we pause to reflect on our own poisoned system of governance? A system which has now become gangrenous, a system which has for far too long been allowed to be partisan and discriminatory. Will we reflect on the destabilising influence of invisible money in our system?”
Hosein said citizens must reflect on the system which excludes truly patriotic citizens from having a real say and making real contribution in the Government. “A system which prevents us from realising our fullest potential as a nation. A system which facilitates rule from on high: from top to bottom and not from bottom to top as intended. A system which prevents the strengthening of our democracy by starving local government of funds yet proposes to give $10 million to Members of Parliament to be used at his or her own discretion. What a poisoned chalice we are all drinking from.”
Complaining about election campaign financiers receiving multimillion contracts and the Government elite at their fingertips, he said: “That has become so prevalent is the strongest indication yet as to how sterile and bankrupt our much vaunted education system and our society has become.” Hosein said that practice is destroying the very institutions that constitute a civil society and if not stopped, “we visit anarchy and chaos on ourselves.”
Warning that T&T is at risk of becoming a failed state, he said: “We are already at the edge of the precipice.” Noting that one of the greatest challenges is self-sufficiency in food, he said the Government must be prepared to invest more heavily and immediately in that sector.
Hosein said the Government must free up generally unproductive labour, redirecting Cepep and URP into the agriculture sector. He suggested an aggressive retraining programme for farmers in newer and less labour intensive technologies.
In addition, Hosein said the Government must use the school system to stream students toward agriculture as a viable and lucrative career option, given the median age of existing farmers is 59 years.
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