With oil economy approaching, serious plans must be made for social development

Dear Editor,  

Oil is coming and are we prepared on the socio/community level when reading headlines like ‘’Trinidad and Tobago may have the highest murder rate in history this year, if the current crime rate continues’’?. It is without a doubt that we are heading into a period of prosperity. Venezuela and Trinidad have shown that if wealth is not distributed equally that we are inviting crime of unparalleled  proportions to enter our lives and in the case of Venezuela political instability. We seriously need to sit up and look around and learn from the mistakes of others.

With potential wealth coming , which hopefully will be filtered to the economy, careful note must be given to those who will be totally left behind, these persons are at the bottom of the heap, few are literate, or have any vocational skills,  and we cannot expect that they will be happy with their non-participation. Also, do not expect that there will be no repercussions due to their desperation at being left out. It is an established fact that most crimes are committed by repeat offenders, bearing this in mind we need to rethink our position.

In order to install a preventative  crime programme, we must create the social and economic conditions for all our people and especially the economically depressed ones, these include advanced emphasis on sports activity in schools,  accessible field and track areas, remedial teaching for school dropouts, community centres  for vocational skills training for illiterate school dropouts and sporting activities. Basically we need to encourage our youths to be participants in sports and community activities and teach them a  trade so they can become useful members of society, anything less is a recipe for disaster. I am pretty certain that our new friends in the oil industry might be persuaded to look into this and what is required is a Public /Private partnership to safeguard our collective futures. Oil investors by all accounts have received generous terms.

The funds required to strategically plan for the oil wealth and social development to avoid the negative consequences are minuscule compared to the benefits to society, which will be a safer operating environment that will see a reduction on security expenses and also a politically stable environment unlike Venezuela where foreign companies lost their entire investments. Our priorities must be with our youths and the unemployed, we need remedial programmes to teach basic literacy and job skills  where none exist, and which if not addressed will contribute significantly to our crime situation. We need a tri-party  approach by Government, the Oil Industry and from all  socially concerned citizens.  This needs to be implemented immediately, time is of the essence to have these programmes implemented before it is too late. For companies and individuals who would like to support this initiative, please email me at roybeepat@giftlandofficemax.com let us start this discussion to safeguard our future, please be advised that this is a non-political and non-pressure movement.

Yours faithfully,

Roy Beepat

Chairman

Giftland Group

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