Demming: Life after Covid-19, pandemic offers opportunity to rebuild society

Imagine the day when the minister of health announces that we have not just flattened, but broken the COVID-19 curve, and no new cases have been reported for the required number of days.

For some, it will be a joyous attempt to return to life as we left it before the pandemic. For others, it will be the sober reflection that the world as we knew it has changed forever. And for a few, it will be the moment for which they were planning, ready to roll out new plans and hit the reset button.

Photos: Patrons enjoy the festivities during Trinidad and Tobago’s 2016 Independence Day Parade.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

One thing is certain, the road between here and that ‘freedom day’ is going to be long and treacherous, and not all of us will make it to the end.

When our country emerges from this pandemic, we should have reflected on the inequities that exist in our society and contemplated the reduction of these inequities for the common good.

Governments have been schooled that the way to reduce inequities is to increase transfer payments, create make-work projects and support an unproductive and bloated public service. This has been funded by the gains from the energy sector. We know the model is unsustainable, but we continue to try to make it work for our respective tribes.

The blessing of energy resources generates a curse of laziness, keeping us from thinking of different ways to craft a new society forged on the principles of equity and justice. Our leaders seem to believe in the maxim, ‘if it isn’t broken, then don’t fix it’. They have forgotten the chapter that discussed the benefits of innovation, which might have led them to a place where they could see that ‘it’ was in fact broken.

While we are on lock-down from this coronavirus, we should be engaging in some scenario planning to work out our revival strategy. It is an opportunity for a bipartisan approach to crafting a new future vision of our country.

Photo: A satirical take on life after Covid-19.
(Copyright Dave Grandlund)

I dream of a joint communiqué that announces a think-tank, comprising nominees from both the prime minister and the leader of the opposition, tasked with the responsibility of developing and detailing a national recovery plan and strategy. Such a think-tank would be able to leverage technology and demonstrate to our people that a team of collaborators can work towards a common goal that is beyond individual interests.

It would signal that the ‘Yellow’ and ‘Red’ can work together for our common good. That is the kind of leadership we expect and hope for in times of crisis.

This pandemic provides us with an opportunity to rebuild a Trinidad and Tobago that is better and more humane. If we lose this opportunity and continue a business-as-usual attitude, we run the risk of descending into full-state barbarism where inequities prevail and ‘tenderpreneurship’ facilitates the rich getting richer while the Mighty Stalin’s ‘sufferers’ continue to care only ‘whey de nex’ food comin’ from’.

We can change this narrative and consequently change our reality, but we need the courage to be different and to act differently.

COVID-19 has presented us with an opportunity to leverage our human resources to develop new ways of feeding ourselves and to design different approaches to working from home, therefore reducing our carbon footprint and congestion. We can change the import/mark-up business model and reshape our reliance on government.

Photo: Then Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar (left) shakes hands with her successor, Dr Keith Rowley, en route to Nelson Mandela’s funeral in South Africa.
(Courtesy News.Gov.TT)

COVID-19 is an opportunity for Prime Minister Keith Christopher Rowley to be the prime minister who brings the country together to craft a vision of the future that is inclusive and sustainable. Let’s do this!

More from Wired868
Noble: Out damn spot!—Hinds and Griffith must account for SSA scandal

“In the way of the world, things happen. As one writer previously wrote, ‘there is no art to find the Read more

Daly Bread: A basis for general election choices

At the end of last week’s column, I described the Opposition United National Congress (UNC) after the results of its Read more

Daly Bread: The cracked facades, as we head towards general elections

Last week I closed by referring to our democracy’s dysfunctional concentration on personalities and tribal loyalties. This dysfunction acts as Read more

Daly Bread: Battling in Opposition space; can Paray or Mickela articulate feasible crime plan?

With increasing frequency, our editorial writers and commentators treat with our dismal crime situation, which is now oppressing the entire Read more

Noble: What auditor general impasse says about the quality of our leaders

The ongoing saga of the auditor general and the understatement of the country’s revenue reveal the quality of our leaders. Read more

Demming: What criteria were used to measure Erla’s performance?

When Erla Harewood-Christopher assumed the role of acting commissioner of police in December 2022 following the vacation of her predecessor, Read more

Check Also

Noble: Out damn spot!—Hinds and Griffith must account for SSA scandal

“In the way of the world, things happen. As one writer previously wrote, ‘there is …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.