Voters should choose party over candidate | Letters to Editor

THE great William Shakespeare comedy Much Ado About Nothing could not be more apt to des­cribe some of the protests by persons in some constituencies who say the chosen candidate “does not live here”, “we don’t know her/him”, “our MP did so much for us, why replace him/her?”

It is very regrettable that such emotions and sentiments are being expressed when the economy is in the doldrums and desperately needs to be resuscitated. The past five years have been very instructive, and lessons need to be learnt from how the economy was managed.

The fact that someone was not chosen as a poten­tial representative of a constituency, regardless of that person being the incumbent, does not negate the contribution that he/she can make in the new government. Depending upon the competency and knowledge of that individual, once that party gets into government, such expertise can be utilised via a senatorial appointment or advisory position. As a senator, the person can become a minister in that government.

Protesting about the choice of candidate is really of no value in the political scheme of things. A party’s vision for the country supersedes the perfor­mance of any candidate or in any constituency. The collective performance of the government, rather than individual performances, is intended to increase collaboration, accommodate more ideas and improve productivity.

Regrettably, this country is facing a growing debt where the debt to gross domestic product (GDP) ratio was a little more than 63 per cent for 2019, and estimated to be around 68 per cent this year. This implies that it will be increasingly difficult for the Government to repay its debt, leading to an increasing risk of default. Raising the production of goods and services is therefore paramount to prevent further economic ruin. Many businesses have already closed their doors or downsized, resulting in thousands of workers being jobless.

The local energy industries are desperately fighting to stay afloat in light of the quickly deteriorating energy revenue, coupled with the cutbacks of major international companies such as BP, Shell and Yara, which operate in Trinidad and Tobago. Since 2011, the Government has been operating on deficit bud­gets where expected revenues have been less than expenditure, and this will continue until the economy begins to grow or more prudent expenditure and better revenue generation are practised.

It is therefore quite unfortunate for persons to condemn their party for not choosing candidates favou­rable to the constituency, although in the minority. This is akin to “missing the forest for the trees”, in becoming too engrossed in details of representation of a constituency rather than looking at the whole, that is, the betterment of the country.

It is incumbent upon a constituency to select the party, not the candidate, it believes has the necessa­ry competence and resources to progressively manage the economy in such a manner as to instil confidence in it. Whilst it is generally more agreeable to utilise resour­ces that have faced the polls, it is not necessary because persons in the wider public can be encouraged to engage in the management of the economy.

In this election season, with so many job losses, downsized or closed businesses, decreased tax revenue from corporations and economic stagnation, it is imperative that the incoming government becomes innovative in managing the economy. It is wont for opposing candidates to chastise the views of others, but this is necessary for voters to become more educated in discerning the choice of party they wish to hold the reins of government.

Let the collective expertise of the seemingly “rejected” be utilised as an experienced know­ledge base to benefit their party, whether in or out of government. Myopic or short-sighted views of a party do not augur well for good leadership and governance.

Harjoon Heeralal


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