Wednesday, October 10, 2007

On T&T elections - Local issues vs national issues

One thing we need to really start to think about is the role of national government vs local government. National government should be working on macro issues, with the representatives picked to consider the good of their constituency within the policies of the government with respect to things like economic development, national security, highway building etc.

Local government should be the people who deal with things like getting a piece of road paved. However, as our local government is powerless (note that we haven't voted for them and it is overdue by 2 years) the national govt is (in our paternalistic society) looked to for everything. That sucks.

The fact that the Min of Works said in public that they will be taking over certain roads form the local govt because the local govt can't manage road maintenance and repair is wrong. We should be giving the local govt the skills to manage the roads and other items that are their mandate, not taking them over because they can't do it well! That just reinforces the negativity.

The flooding in POS - the City Council hasn't cleaned the drains. That is the mandate of the City Council not the Ministry of Works. So why aren't we picketing the mayor's office, and threatening to remove him from office? OP right - we have no idea when we will be voting for councils!

But the things we need to ask our parliamentarians are things like - why did you vote to postpone the local elections for 2 years? Why did you vote against the evidentiary bill to allow sworn testimony to be read in court when the witnesses have been found to be threatened? Do you have a personal stake in the outcome of this bill? Will it make your private project more profitable?

But we don't ask these questions, we judge our national politicians based on patronage (yes, getting a parliamentarian to get a road paved is patronage!)

We blame the wrong people. We vote for a national election based on local issues, and not the larger national issues that should be at stake and should be debated, and on which we should make our decisions. And even so, we don't bother with facts, we use anecdotal "evidence". Every -ve anecdote can be countered with a +ve one, or vv! Where are the actual facts?

Healthcare - where's the survey for wait times in emergency rooms broken down by severity of injury? Is it that emergency rooms are a total mess and everyone has to wait 4 + hours or is it that triage means that accident victims are treated before others? We don't know for a fact, as this data isn't public, if it has at all been collected.

So - let's ask John Rahael why we don't have that data. That's what they need to be held accountable to - verifiable facts about whether the policies that they have implemented are doing what we want them to do - saving lives, increasing jobs, etc.

BTW - anybody see a plan or manifesto yet from ANY party? Look at the US.

Over a year away, and already all the potential candidates are publishing big detailed plans for healthcare, for national security, etc. We are 4 weeks away, how long are we going to get to evaluate the plans for national policies, debate them and make up our minds?

Actually - we don't do that at all, so they don't even have to tell us what they plan to do, far less in detail.

We'll go off and fish, or vote blindly for the party of our parents or of our race, or we'll vote for or against a person because we like how they look. We won't ever vote on actual policies with verifiable results, against which we can judge the government when the time comes around in 5 (or fewer) years to vote again.

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