19 Nov 2008

Consequences

There is a reaction equal and opposite to every action, right? Or, to put it more narrowly, there is a consequence to follow every act.

Take for example, the inaction by successive governments in dredging rivers, building proper drainage, managing 'slash and burn' agriculture practices etc... today we reap the result of 5 decades of utter ineptitude. Two persons, one a granny, the other a toddler, have been killed by mudslides that literally engulfed their homes. Direct consequences of appointing a pompek in a position where intelligence is required, I dare say.

Now, bridges are collapsing, vehicles are being damaged. I am not one to ponder too much the consequences but a few obvious questions come to mind.

  1. Where does the responsibility lie?
  2. Who pays for the damage, the pompek who keeps yapping, or the insurance companies who will define the damage as an 'act of God'?

Not wanting to speculate how much further assaults we might have on the staff of these companies (some deservedly, you know?), all I can say is that there will be consequences.

Yes, I know citizens have to accept blame too; indiscriminate dumping of garbage into water courses have rapidly led to blocked waterways where the water cannot move and backs up. Oh right, there is a consequence to our lackadaisical Trinidadian mentality.

I'm not in Trinidad. I'm in a warm house, on a cold winter's day, looking on with horrified eyes at what Trinidad has come to in the 6 years that I've migrated. Still, I cannot believe the destruction I am seeing in pictures that newspapers and bloggers put up online.

Not once in my past experience I have ever experienced such massive amounts of water, dirt, sludge, mud and what-nots. Perhaps the great flood after that hurricane in 1991 or 1993 (I can't remember what year, but the entire south was under water).

What is the consequence of all this? Some moaning and groaning, a loss of production and property, financial loss for many but in the end what will change? Nothing.

Pa-trick will continue doing the same as he always has, bring up a red herring or two and it will die away after 9 days. The only consequence for not speaking up will be that things will continue to move as inexorably downhill as that killer mudslide.

This is an old video I found on YouTube but I am sure it will be worse now.

Here we go again, government calling for public sacrifice after they, the government, mismanaged over TT$200 billion in the last seven years, committed the country to projects we can't complete and turned a blind eye on cost overruns throughout the system. So, on what did government spend those billions, and commit revenue that we have not made? Did the population benefit from their expenditure? ...From where then are local people to find resources to sacrifice again now that the boon is over?

The people of this country underwent ten years of fiscal adjustment from 1984 to 1994, after the PNM financially ruined the country during the late 70s. Somehow, a quarter century later, the nation finds itself nearing the need for radical fiscal adjustment again, unsurprisingly, with a new PNM administration leading the nation.

Doesn't this nation ever learn? Wrapped around the nation's historical inflation highs are various PNM administrations. ...That being the case should the population really sacrifice under a PNM administration that has proven unequivocally time and time again they are grossly poor money managers?

B Joseph

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