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What’s next for the EDAB?

Friday, January 12, 2018

Dr Terrence Farrell’s resignation as chairman of the Economic Development Advisory Board (EDAB), sudden as it was, was not surprising. His statement on his resignation confirms what many have suspected for quite some time—that he was frustrated at the lack of progress by the board, appointed by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to advise specifically on the diversification of the economy.

It is hard to shake off the feeling that board members have been engaged in an exercise in futility since, as Dr Farrell revealed, their recommendations have not been implemented. He also admitted this his expectations of “high level engagement followed by swift implementation” were not realised.

At the risk of sounding clichéd, Dr Farrell’s departure leaves a void that will be difficult to fill, even given the calibre of the remaining members of the EDAB.

The concern now is whether the issues he raised will be taken seriously, given the urgent need to embark upon a serious and sustained diversification strategy. There are now huge question marks over Government’s commitment to wean the T&T economy from its heavy and unhealthy dependency on the energy sector.

Dr Farrell’s advice now takes on greater urgency. The long term objective of achieving 40 per cent non-energy exports by 2030 appears elusive given what the former chairman has revealed about the lack of progress with the 14 recommendations that the board made to Government. Is there any hope of a brighter future—or any future at all—for the EDAB and diversification of T&T’s economy? That depends on what the Rowley administration does next.

A timely warning to Carnival revellers

With the Carnival season shifting into a higher gear from this weekend, revellers would do well to heed the warning from the T&T Police Service about behaviour that could land them in jail facing an assault charge. Gyrating on or touching someone without their consent is unlawful.

Too often, in the highly charged atmosphere of fetes and seasonal events, some patrons take liberties, sometimes with total strangers, that are neither welcomed or encouraged. This is one of the negative aspects of the festival and it is good that the TTPS has put it in focus.

It should be possible to enjoy all that Carnival has to offer without being disrespected, violated or assaulted.

Spelling champ from east PoS

Well done to Ishhara Cockburn, a pupil of Gloster Lodge Moravian School and resident of east Port-of-Spain, who placed first in the National Sancom Spelling Bee, Port-of-Spain and Environs.

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