Within a month or so my fellow citizens of Trinidad and Tobago will learn what economic austerity measures will be in store for them. Measures which may include things such as increases in the price of fuel, VAT, import duties, along with higher taxes on alcohol, cigarettes, iPads and incomes. All these measures will be unleashed onto the public coupled with retrenchment in the public service. Also, within the same time-frame, Parliamentarians will receive, at taxpayers’ expense, the iconic and expensive iPad tablets which can be used for storing Parliamentary documents and playing Angry Birds.
According to the Speaker of the House, The Honorable Wade Mark, he decided to issue the iPads to strengthen the 50-year-old nation’s democracy which has an unlimited supply of taxpayers dollars. I understand that Mr. Mark said the process of acquiring iPads will be as transparent, thus corruption free, as possible. But to start with, Mr. Mark said iPads and not tablets. Does technology-savvy Speaker of The House of Representative even know there are many excellent tablets out there that will serve the 71 Parliamentarians just as well as iPads but are cheaper? Mr. Mark was backed up by the President of the Senate, Mr. Timothy Hamel-Smith, who said that laptops hide the faces of members of Parliament but I fail to see how that is a bad thing. When Parliamentarians were provide with laptops did the powers that be say what brand of laptops they needed? The Speaker needs to come out and tell the public why he has this bias towards Apple Inc. It could well be Mr. Mark used the word iPad to mean a tablet with a Retina display and dual-core A5X processor just as some use the word Colgate to mean toothpaste, Nescafe to mean coffee and Durex to mean condom.
The world has gone global, competition is stiff and Samsung is great. I suggest if this Government and Speaker want to appear to be the pillar of honesty they must go out for an open public tender for tablets with suitable functional specifications and not simply go out to tender for the prestigious iPad. Failing to do so will introduce the smell of bias and favoritism on the doors of Parliament and our Democracy proving once again to citizens that this Government is not as honest as previously advertised.