In response to the idea of a new political party it is quite common for a Caribbean, far less a Trinbagonian, citizen to hide behind the phrase, “this is a two-party system” as if, no matter what, a country’s prosperity, growth and progress is caught between two warring sides.
In Trinidad and Tobago citizens see elections as a battle between red and yellow, afro-Trinidadians and indo-Trinidadians, north vs south or corrupt vs corrupt. This has caused politics to become something that is despised by many when it should be seen, at the most basic level, as the activities associated with the governance of a country. The principal actors and institutions involved in the country’s governance have offered a track record of tricks, self-enrichment, arrogance, untruths, malice, fearmongering and divisiveness which has left a deep trauma on the lives of citizens. While every citizen can agree that no political institution is perfect there are too many indefencible actions that persons attempt to defend or either walk around.
This, therefore, begs the question, ‘when is enough really enough?’ Tradition plays a huge role in the voting patterns of the people of Trinidad and Tobago. It seems almost a responsibility of heritage to vote in the same way that one’s parents have voted, and this is then passed on to future generations. However, today the number of young people willing to break tradition is significant. Today’s youth are more concerned with how political decisions can turn into action that impacts their lives positively. Therefore, they are less likely to fall for some of the tricks of old politicians, especially since the literacy rates have dramatically increased over the years and everyone has access to the internet of things and global affairs.
So, is it possible to see a real changing of the guard rather than a back and forth between those who occupy the seat of power? The answer is an overwhelming yes! While base voters stick to what they traditionally know, with each election that passes those on the fence or who opt not to vote grows. With a significant portion of the electorate disenchanted, the time to provide representation that they can stand with and place confidence in is now. Political entities must stop imposing candidates, plans and policies on the population and instead anticipate and respond to the needs of the population through consultation, data and acceptable global trends that would inform the very candidates, plans and policies that are to be offered. There must be societal buy-in now more than ever.
The Progressive Party is cognisant that the journey ahead is not an easy one but in order to complete any race one must first start with one step. If Trinidad and Tobago is to be a country that prospers, there must be an active attempt by the population to shape the new wave of politicians rather than dismissing anyone who offers themselves for national service. While skepticism is understood in these times, chasing away or dissuading persons with genuine interests in national development from politics will not do any good.
The work has started and the idea of a two-party system with an infinite expiration date will be challenged because it must be for all our sakes! #GuidingFlame