Vision 2030: The World a Decade from Now

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The last decade saw a growth of technological advances: smart phones, instant messaging and AI (artificial intelligence) driven technology just to name a few. What advances can we hope for in the new decade?

The right to choose to die

Almost no topic is considered as taboo as this. It is almost universally the case that no person has the right to choose when to end his/her life. By this I refer to the right of a person, who has determined that their quality of life cannot be sustained, to be able to choose to seek out a medical institution or doctor which would assist them in lawfully ending their life at a date and time of their choosing.

Usually this would be in the context of old age, when illness and suffering is the prognosis.

I for one, when I reach that stage of my life, would not wish to burden my loved ones with the expense, nor the emotional and physical burden of taking care of me when I am diagnosed with some terminal or life changing illness. Hopefully by then, our laws will change to allow me to choose a peaceful departure from this life on my own terms, without the pain and suffering I will be expected to endure for the sake of protecting the “sanctity of human life.”

Getting a prime minister using the First past the post system

I cannot comprehend why we subscribe to the present electoral system where our prime minister is chosen according to who wins the majority of constituencies in Trinidad and Tobago. Who chooses the boundaries for these electoral districts? When and under what circumstances can these boundaries be moved? A recipe for confusion, I say.

The majority of the country is the decisive factor in the first past the post system. So, whomever the majority of the country chooses as prime minister, so it shall be. (No neglect of one electoral district over another when election time comes around).

Paying taxes based on income earned

The government makes the self-employed pay quarterly taxes, not according to the income that they actually earn for the current year, but based on the chargeable income from the year before. If you experience a drop in income in 2020, after a bumper year in 2019, your taxes are to be paid according to last year’s income, causing an overpayment of taxes. Depending on figure, it can take years to receive your income tax refund. In this economical climate, that can be a nightmare for small entrepreneurs, who depend on their refunds to finance their business.

Thus, another change I hope to see in this decade is for the self-employed to be taxed according to income earned during the financial year in question, not on past earnings. You know, the way business levy is currently charged. Policies should be the same across the board, shouldn’t it?

Value for money

This country has a low ranking based on the public’s perception of how corrupt the public sector is. That is according to the latest Corruption Perception Index reported by Transparency International. I would not be surprised if this perception is largely based on a belief that we do not get value for money. That prices and government contracts are super inflated to allow for kickbacks to be paid to various persons in exchange for receiving the order or contract in the first place.

With the oil boom days now gone and a thing of the past, we as a country can ill afford to allow corruption to continue to fester. It would be marvellous to have a state-wide policy where all goods and services for the public sector must be acquired having regard to defined principles of obtaining value for money. For example, doing a comparison of what it would cost in the private sector or conducting other evaluative processes to determine how best the citizenry can get value for their tax dollars.

I suppose these can all be fairy-tale concepts. Controversial, or not, I hope a mature society will find the wisdom in same… I guess we’ll know in ten years’ time.

©Neela Ramsundar, LL.B (HONS), L.E.C Civil Litigation Attorney at Law & Certified Mediator

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for general informative purposes only and any opinions expressed are those of the author only. It does not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney – client relationship. For legal advice, please contact an Attorney-at-Law of your choosing directly.


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