#TurksandCaicos, February 25, 2021 – If we have learned anything from the recent election in TCI, it’s that our democracy is still intact and stronger than ever. Now that we have a new government in office, some may say we can breathe a sigh of relief. I beg to differ and caution you, not so quick.. we still have some difficult roads ahead.
We can all agree, these past four years was quite a challenging time for our country. Let’s spell it out, a relatively small country that depends solely on the tourism industry, stuck with a once-in-a-century pandemic and back-back devastating hurricanes; this is the epitome of any government being tested and tried. Nevertheless, in an age of increasing demands, entitlement and little room for excuses, it’s no surprise this past election was a landslide for the opposition.
Despite the unforeseen events, there is an expectation from the general public, no matter what, you still have to deliver on your promises with noticeable changes and reforms. Most importantly, knowing in what order of priority the challenges set before you should be pursued for the benefit of the people.
Prior to the pandemic, we had a seemingly robust and durable economy. However, in recent months, we quickly realized how delicate it is, and how swiftly it can be undermined if it lacks diversification of resources for long-term economic growth. I believe it is with well intentions for most political leaders to do good for their country. Be reminded, when the new PDM party got elected to office in 2016, they gave off the appearance of great strength, at least on the surface. But as we know for any leader to be effective, having the right team behind you is critical for success.
This brings me to my main points; at this juncture in our quest to move the country forward, lets focus on the opportunities that lies ahead rather them critiquing the past.
Let’s start with finding creative ways to stabilize the job market, conducting a deep dive into cost of living in these islands, expanding on agricultural opportunities and taking on other calculated risk. It is of paramount importance for the new administration to seriously consider strengthening of our fragile infrastructure or eventually the cookie will crumble. It is the framework for any reasonable successful and durable society.
Secondly, we cannot and should not base progress on maintaining the status quo, especially when it comes to critical infrastructure issues like our public sanitation services across these developing islands. Also, we must to be able to put aside political differences if only to protect our core institutions and values. And at some point, the politicians on both sides needs to see their interest as aligned as opposed to always in a conflict. The only way to bring about real change is through continued accountability of our political leaders and having a unified voice. Therefore, don’t stop blowing the “conch shell horns” just yet, the real test is about to come.
The newspapers along with the various social media platforms, also have a vital role to play, as the public relies heavily on the facts rather than hearsay or opinions. Also, the overarching negative comments of publicly attacking each other’s character has to stop. Being critical of his or her performance or lack thereof is more prudent.
Thirdly, given the rising voice and voting power of our youth in this country, they can no longer be ignored. Our youth are the most important segment of society in terms of the future of our country, which was manifested significantly in their eligibility to turn out and vote in this past election cycle. During the past several weeks, it has been fascinating to see how the political parties ramped up efforts to get their message out. And Kudos to the various talk show hosts for educating the masses and challenging the politicians on issues that mattered the most. This needs to become the norm.
We know the real success is when voters can cast ballots in significant numbers, which we saw in this election cycle despite the fears and exposure of this ongoing covid-19 pandemic. As a people, we must also be brave enough to speak up when we see corruption or things that undermines the basic principles of our core values. Leaders who fail to listen to the voice of the people has no place in the free world, because it weakens the core of democracy.
In my opinion, if the solidity of our institutions in these islands remains strong, and we can capitalize on missed opportunities, we will be in a much better position to weather the storms. Certainly, this new government is facing an uphill battle with returning the country to some kind of normalcy, but it’s time to heal the wounds and move forward.
If they make it a central focus of their administration to put the power back in the hands of the people, by restoring the rights of land to it’s citizens, in addition to restoring the original constitution as it once was or beyond, they will have accomplished much.
Concerned citizen of Grand Turk