have lived in Trinidad long enough for my heart to lurch at the sight of
the Northern Range on a plane home after a trip abroad.
marvel, yet again, that this is the only country in the world where you
will get an invitation to attend a Hindu Ramayana in a Muslim home where
Christians and Hindus have been invited to share in the breaking of the
may have joined the Cascadura band of people who don’t intend to leave
in a hurry, but perhaps it is because of that, I feel I can openly voice
the ennui, the nausea this place produces, because nothing changes.
some rotting cadaver, it just gets worse. You don’t have to read Naipaul
to recognise that this is a small, insular country, which
claustrophobically, resolutely looks inwards.
as if we are part of the mechanics of an old wind-up clock. Each year, the
rituals are the same, the Carnival is the same, the parang is the same,
the Divali and Eid and every other celebration are the same.
it’s not the same. We are a rotting cadaver. Sameness eventually
Guardian has been keeping tabs. Our murder rate is at its record high.
are getting angrier. They are not only killing one another over drug
money, but in their bestiality are turning against their own, hacking the
mothers of their children to death.
brutishness is apparent everyday on the roads, as cars swerve, cut in,
break lights crazily making innocent drivers and pedestrians into dead
know the root of this murderous rage. Ignorance, an education system that
has spectacularly failed these people, a non-existent training or job
governments are as culpable as the slave masters we abhorred, with their
crappy education, for stripping an entire generation of people of their
humanity, denying them of their potential with their “make work”
policies, creating not just the wild student monkeys in the public library
who use it to fornicate, rather than read, but also throngs of
live amongst us—human dogs, who eat, sleep, drink, grab and die. When
you leave same alone, it gets worse.
here we have a record year for murders, politicians flinging cups of tea
and invectives at one another like the truant schoolboys, openly spatting
over the people’s treasury, which they clearly consider their spoils and
this, too, conducted in the most terrible, ungrammatical English. (The
colonial times at least ensured some standards).
oil keeps us floating, others high in penthouses we haven’t earned
honestly. We have multinationals here. We have investors. But this type of
globalisation, combined with an utterly useless government has, like a
tidal wave, swallowed the vast majority of the population, making hundreds
of thousands invisible, voiceless, powerless, covered with the seaweed of
rhetoric is propped by harsher university statistics—600,000 people can
only read newspaper headlines, 250,000 people can’t read and write at
all, and each year we churn out 9,000 students who join the absolutely
illiterate, and a shocking 500,000 people live below the poverty line.
you look carefully you see the invisible people everyday, the ones who
only count once in four years to hoist greedy people to power.
weeping hairdresser summed up the plight of hundreds of thousands for me
when she told me how she had to beg, scrape and borrow money for
extortionate private healthcare for her daughter who’d had her head cut
in an accident, ending her account with the flat statement that “In this
country if you don’t have support systems you are less than a dog.”
Divali, Eid Mubarak, happy band launching and all that jazz!