you want to lie to yourself, this is the best time of the year. Calypso
and chutney and soca will help you drown out the voices in your head. But
lying to ourselves is not new to us. ďWe accustomĒ as we say every
time the outside world tells us how they see us, we say they lie.
year, the UN said we, yes we, the financial centre of the Caribbean, the
oil and gas rich, were falling on the global development index, in
literacy, in poverty levels, in health care. We were performing well below
countries that had nothing. Where did our money go? Our oil rich islands
were walloped by a tiny tourist economy like Barbados in every area. The
percentage of our student population attending university is a joke.
Bajans must laugh their heads off at us. All they have is sun and sand.
And they rank third in developing countries. We are falling off the
have that and oil but canít provide decent health care. Our doctors are
unaccountable. Our students are emerging clueless in their thousands to
join a practically illiterate population to join the army of Cepep. Our
Aids epidemic is out of control, shoved under the carpet so itís
invisible. Thatís a lie, reply the politicians. It all depends how you
interpret the figures.
the global alert that was put out on Trinidad warning tourists off our
shores, citing rising crime rate. They lie, said the politicians. We are
safe. True, true we said, they lie, because who wants to think they are
living in a country riddled with crime, with an over 50 per cent
functionally illiterate population, and the among the highest incidences
of HIV/Aids after Sub Sahara Africa. Lie. We have vision 20-20.
time back when the BBC portrayed Trinidad as a land of gangsters, a haven
for drug barons, an employment agency for drug pushers, a banana republic
where more than 40 per cent of our people live below the poverty line, the
politicians were outraged. What a lie.
this month when the LA Times staff writer Carol J Williams observed that
kidnappings in this tiny country has risen from 29 to 150 in two years,
quoting kidnapped victims who said the police were collaborating with
kidnappers, that witnesses were bumped off, that the Indian community felt
under siege since they were the prime targets, that the Government
didnít care since it didnít affect their votes, we said. Yes, you got
it. They lie. Drug related.
as we witness everyday casual brutalities, a German artist gunned down by
four men in daylight, bandits shooting a businessman dead for a car, we
say they lie. Drug related.
watch our politicians wine waist high in a sea of oil dollars, tinker with
votes using Cepep as a payback for party hacks who run it like so many
gangster outfits and ruin the lives of the poor and illiterate by making
them more dependant, by paying them for standing around listlessly with a
cutlass we say, They lie. These people like it so. Never mind that the
Cepep employees, many third generation receivers of hand outs, votes, cant
read, canít get housing, that they will never even know their potential
as human beings.
mind that an entire community of former sugar workers is drowning in an
isolated sea of hopelessness, illiteracy, (highest in rural areas)
alcoholism, unemployment. Never mind that now that their VSEP packages
have been handed out they are so forgotten they may as well be dead. They
lie. These people have it good, so much rum and time.
is us: Ruled by fear of persecution, ruled by envy and self-deception, and
a mindless need to keep the party, the soca, chutney going at all cost,
because to sit down and see the mess around us would be calamitous.
where is that fete?