Too many crushed flowers


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Category: Trinidad Society 15 Oct 06


To hear this story you need to shut out the urgent hammerings on your door bringing you news of the rage of a community mourning a kidnapped 19-year-old boy murdered in cold bloodóexecution style. You need to suppress an undercurrent of anxiety that arises when independent financial institutions warn us that our oil bonanza is being spent like there is no bottom at the end of the barrel.


My story today is about a 13-year-old girl who I will call Angel. She was born in the Port-of-Spain General Hospital and grew up way on top of a hill in Port-of-Spain. Her father is a vague presence in her life.


Angel grew up in the loving circle of her mother, aunts, grandparents and cousins. And what a tight circle that was. The envy of the community.  A kinship giving her the confidence of royalty.


Angelís grandfather is genetically blessed as so many are in our small islands with talent, a quick intelligence and a humanity that has to be handed down to be practised.


When he was growing up in Tobago his parents taught him by example that a real man was passionate about his family, was faithful to his wife and never idle. His mother taught him how to bake.


His father taught him carpentry. He moved to Trinidad with those skills, married a woman who was as strong as she was humble and the two of them had three daughters.


One of these is Angelís mother, Darling. Darling, armed with her motherís steely will, her fatherís discipline and their combined talent took on the world with a silent stoicism.


Doing what was right worked for her. Her employers, recognising her rare commitment to getting the job done above their own standards, her non-intrusive manner, her separation of her home and work life and her impeccable honesty, embraced her as their own family.


Crushing blow


When she gave birth to Angel, her family collectively poured love, discipline, respect, boundaries and values into her daughter.


In that house on the hill Angel played with her cousins, went to church, got involved with her community and did her share of chores. That was her backbone and heritage.


Darling was not academic but she knew its power. She understood where ambition could get you. So if there was one thing she didnít mess with was Angelís school and studies. She was at every PTA meeting. She sat for hours each evening while Angel did her homework. She picked up and dropped her child from and to lessons. It paid off. When she was 11 Angel was among the top 30 students who took the SEA exam.


Angel thrived in a prestigious academic school. She has big ambitions to be a doctor. Then one day, Trinidad life gave Angel a big blow. The maxi taxi taking her to school rammed into a wall after being shoved by a bad driving van.


Careless, everyday driving, not noticed by the news or authorities, with no consequences, crushed the 13-year-old Angel. She nearly lost her leg, which was broken and pulled out of joint. The Port-of-Spain General Hospitalís response was spectacular. They saved Angelís leg, operated on it and kept her comfortable. We donít know when she will be out.


This little story weaving in and out of personal values, and public support showed me that the Government can work for ordinary people.


The countryís education system is meritorious and allows children to be all they can be if they are nurtured by the adults around them. The countryís health system saved Angelís leg.


Recklessness and crime with impunity, waste of public funds. And thatís why, week after week, we need to bring them to the surface, so no more flowers will be crushed.


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All Articles Copyright Ira Mathur