Posted by: nastylittletruths | July 10, 2008

Beyond Vision 2020

Yeah I know, it evokes a “chorus of cuss” from most people except the rabid PNM supporters and the propaganda ministers who pepper their speeches by dropping it a couple hundred times – “achieving developed status by the year 2020”. I’ve heard it so many times, I wanted to chop my fingers off for actually typing it! If thy hand offends thee…

Anyway, my position on the PM’s Vision 2020 is two-fold. One, it’s about a mindset, not only physical infrastructure, financial capability and GDP. I personally have passed that stage – I think First World – but I get the impression that the majority of the population will be dragged kicking and screaming to think that way too. The American Ambassador to Trinidad, Dr. Roy Austin, was quite right when he commented recently that our “wealth” has propagated an increase of lawlessness if not criminality. And he was dead on. I see it every day in people’s attitude and ask myself, where are we going? Certainly not better behaviour, but everyone’s a “gangster”. I used to think that it was survival instinct, that is, we have to behave that way to survive in TnT, but now I am not so sure.

A guy cut across me in a car park today and then proceeded to stop, open his tailgate and take his time to load his wife and daughters’ shopping all the while mouthing abuses at me for asking him why he couldn’t pull a little more on the side. In front of his family and he looked as drunk as a fish. Could I have gotten out of my car and beaten him helpless for his stupidity? Of course I could, but I refuse to let a lout like him get the better of me. If he chose to display his ignorance, fine by me. But it’s as if this is endemic in Trinidad. It happens all the time, not only to me, but to many other people. Ignorance and stupidity on display and worn proudly like a badge of honour.

My other position is that it’s really a con job. I’ve told people that at present we can’t even do what developed countries were doing 60 years ago. If you believe that gives you an idea of how backward we are, factor in that technology has made expansion and growth exponentially faster and you realise that we may never get there. We are spiralling backwards to cavemen attitude and the rest of the world is going forward by leaps and bounds. Can a mathematician calculate when Patrick’s Vision 2020 will be realised?

My proof for the above is from a lesson I learnt some years back. One of my vendors in the UK was dismantling his manufacturing bit by bit and sending it to China. My question to him at the time was how are the politicians in his country dealing with this since I saw it as an eventual backlash to them. (People losing their jobs initially blame the business owners and then vent their anger against politicians by not voting for them). I was also thinking (bad socialist habit) that as a manufacturer all he was concerned about was reducing his costs to widen his profit margins, but then he let me in on the plan…

The politicians, he said, were all in favour of manufacturers moving “dirty” industries to China, they just don’t tell the electorate. They sell the good points – better individual health, lower health costs meaning less burden on taxpayers, etc. But at the end of the day, the intent was clear – they wanted those dirty plants in someone else’s country – not theirs. China has made a name for themselves in low cost manufacturing, but at what cost to their environment? Look at the satellite picture and see what I mean:

And what are we doing as part of our quest to Vision 2020? Inviting steel plants and aluminium smelters to set up shop here? Evidence of a con job I say. Developed countries – England and France just to name two – are aiming for clean industries only to keep their environment pristine – for their enjoyment. High tech industries and services will keep them at the top of the food chain while others die making the goods that they want, but prefer not to make…


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