What makes societies change for the better? First, someone must take a stand against injustice and wrongdoing – Sir Thomas Moore, Rosa Parks, Ghandi, Malala.  Second, others must have the courage to join in challenging those in power.  Successive governments in T&T are testimony that “power corrupts and absoluter power corrupts absolutely.”

Every day in T&T, politicians serve themselves instead of the people and the only weapon we use against them is picong and jokes.  We fail to use the power we have in a democracy.

Our political system comes from the UK.  Kings and Queens of England used to chop off the heads of those who did not agree with them.  Now the Queen answers to Parliament and when politicians misstep, they resign immediately.  Why?  Not because they are any less greedy and selfish, but because they know they will be publicly shamed and humiliated for wrongdoing. The people – with the press leading the way – hold them accountable.

In T&T, the reverse happens. Politicians humiliate those who challenge them – usually by saying they are mad. Because news in T&T focuses on what politicians say, they need only keep saying this for their self-serving opinion to become accepted.

One man has ruined his health and now places his life on the line again to hold the politicians accountable. All he asks is that the politicians stop and consider before continuing with a possibly unnecessary section of a highway that will destroy 13 communities and their livelihoods, and could destroy the environmental balance in the South West peninsular – perhaps leading to regular floods as in POS since the reclaiming of the swamp.      

Politicians only account to the people when enough of us demand this. Wayne Kublalsingh and the people living under a bulldozer have given us a golden opportunity to reshape our politics. If you wait until the bulldozer is outside your door, it will be too late. 

Paula Lucie-Smith

Hummingbird Gold, Caribbean Award for Excellence

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