Submitted by the Mahogany Coconut Group
Dr. Ralph Gonzalves
Within the region, our strongest economy, Trinidad and Tobago, appears to be facing unexpected challenges because of falling oil prices. This reality has forced the Central Bank to review growth predictions downward. Coupled with widespread state corruption and an election that will reveal the ugliest use of the dollar bill to buy votes; it is sadly obvious that T and T seems set for more malfeasance and stupidity in its governance.
In Guyana the President has created a constitutional crisis by attempting to run the country while ignoring parliament, for his glaringly nefarious political objectives. We are aware and have warned that the longer race continues to dominate Guyana’s politics, the longer it would take for this potentially great country to confront and eradicate its socio-economic problems.
Mahogany Coconut Group 12/28/14
As we look back on 2015, we are convinced that the change of governments in Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago represents the most positive political development in the region. MCG believes that without these two changes, the entire Caribbean would have sunk into a stage of utter corruption and political paralysis. We hope that the new administrations will move swiftly to halt and eradicate the corruption that was very rampant in these two countries.
The return to office of Dr. Ralph Gonzalves, for the fourth consecutive term in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is also worthy of comment. While we congratulate the former fire brand socialist on his astonishing achievement, we cannot overlook some of the more troubling issues that were present during the campaign. While we are not here to be moral police; we believe that those who are elevated to state leadership must be held to higher standards of behavior. We say no more at this time!
The picture we painted at the end of 2014 remains. Most economies are still struggling and the International Monetary Fund is assisting some countries with balance of payment challenges. No exciting visionary leaders have emerged and the love of party and political patronage continues to take precedence over national development.
However, we must support the call of Dr.Keith Rowley, the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, to stop abuse in all forms against our children. Too many children are losing their lives through violence and sheer lack of supervision. Sexual predators are being given slaps on the wrist. We are submitting that all crimes against children should have a minimum of ten years imprisonment.
Unless we deal with environmental issues and crime, the region cannot move forward. We call on all law enforcement agencies to be ruthless and swift in eliminating crime. Our communities must be returned to reservoirs of safety. Poverty is no excuse for criminal behaviour and we will not condone what are essentially acts of social terrorism, on the grounds that governments are not doing enough to eliminate poverty.
We are also equally concerned that the rich and affluent are engaged in robbing regional treasuries out of vital foreign exchange by hiding large sums of money outside of the region. White collar criminals must be brought to justice. We are still shocked that the rascals who plundered the investments of policy holders of CLICO have not felt the coldness of a prison cell. We cannot expect to imprison the man/woman on the block for shop lifting or smoking a joint while multimillionaires enjoy their ill gotten gains and life styles, without paying the penalties. We are therefore firm in our belief that justice has not been done. We again call for all those involved in robbing the policy owners of CLICO to be charged and brought to justice.
We welcome President Obama’s policies to do justice to the people of Cuba. Due to the sincere and revolutionary leadership of Comrade Fidel Castro, Cuba withstood all the atrocities against its great people. It should be an object lesson for the jokers masquerading throughout the region. Stand for something or fall for everything. We hail Comrade Castro and the people of Cuba on this victory.
May the Caribbean become closer and stronger in 2016.