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It’s the start of 2021 and as this new year dawns our wish is for peace and prosperity to all. Coming out of a most abnormal 2020 one can only hope that 2021 would see a semblance of a return to normalcy in the way we conduct our daily affairs.

For almost 10 months in 2020, Trinidad and Tobago like the rest of the world was in lockdown. Schools were closed, businesses were shut, thousands lost jobs, billions were spent providing social services security nets, but yet many who desperately needed help failed to get even the small amount promised to them.

As hunger and desperation grew, many families fell apart. Domestic violence was at its worse, not only affecting wives and mothers but young girls. Several fathers and grandfathers are now before the courts for sexually assaulting their young daughters or granddaughters.

The COVID-19 pandemic saw many young children left behind in their education for lack of devices for online classes and in some communities, the lack of electricity impacted their participation.

COVID-19 was in more ways than one a wake-up call for this country. For years T&T had benefited from the largesse of oil and gas and took a lot for granted, paying little attention to the underbelly of poverty and hopelessness that grip many communities.

In the past two years, tens of thousands of citizens were thrown on the breadline creating a new poor. This is reflected in the growing number of homeless people on the streets across the country.

2021 must bring with it a new sense of hope that those who run the country will take cognisance of the myriad of problems which have been brought to the fore in the past 10 months.

Coming out of an abnormal year, 2021 must be business unusual where the focus must shift from doing things the same old way, to how T&T can advance beyond oil and gas.

We have the wherewithal, the people, and what it takes. It is the politicians who must take the lead.

2021 is a good starting point for focus on those who really need help, to deal with the problems that confront us, to ensure that no child is left behind, to ensure the most vulnerable find a space and are given opportunities to make valid contributions.

Good governance is required now.

The government is required to do all in its power to make things right and to fix the many problems that plague T&T.

All good businesses formulate strategic plans to begin the new year. We can only hope that the government would have formulated a strategic plan that will get T&T through a year that may well be a continuation of what we faced in 2020. But for all of us, 2021 must be one of hope—a year when the lessons of 2020 are not just memories but platforms for the change required if T&T is to return to a place of success and prosperity.

Happy New Year!