Here’s a bird’s-eye view of us through letters from Trinis living abroad.
“I, an East Indian woman married to a Trini man of mixed race, left Trinidad
and Tobago 25 years ago. We have lived in four different countries.
“We sometimes feel dispossessed, foreigners in another land.
“We tried ‘coming home’ back to T&T in the 90s, but it is as if the
government institutions and employers punished us for leaving T&T, educating
ourselves abroad and then trying to obtain gainful employment in the land of
“It was a terrible struggle for seven years. My husband has earned his PhD
in education and I have a master's in business and technology education.
“Personnel of the Ministry of Education, however, have informed us that all
that is required to teach in a school in T&T is five subjects, and that our
degrees, being foreign, might not be accepted.
“When my husband, who is currently a professor, applied to teach at the
University of Trinidad and Tobago, he was told: ‘Oh, you are one of those!’
implying that he was a Trini trying to come back to T&T to take someone
“We would love to return and contribute to the development of our country,
but without any way to earn an income, what’s the point!
“We have faced many forms of discrimination and prejudice, but it hurts the
most when it comes from your own people.”
Here is another view from Vik Rampersad in Canada.
“How to revive hope in a populace whose mindset is akin to that of the
Romans at the end of their empire is a conundrum.
“People will not believe political leaders’ promises, and the business
classes are shipping capital and social (educated children) abroad like a
“Worse, people are now conditioned to the ‘bread and circuses’ lifestyle.
Only a severe depression (and the resulting human misery that will ensue)
will effect any attitude change.
“Once the toys are taken away, they will be left to fall back on their own
(inadequate) resources, and at this time things will be really bad.
“They will see that they have betrayed not only their own values, but those
of the future generations.
“They will be akin to the English nobility...ill-educated with an abhorrence
of a work ethic, but forced to have to work to survive.
“Perhaps, the diaspora can be convinced to return to try to bring some
stability to the ensuing chaos, but having had the intelligence and
foresight to have escaped a cauldron, they are unlikely to be coaxed back
into a frying pan.
“The time has come to sit back and watch a society collapse upon itself.”
“I am a late 20s Trini living and working in the United States. I recently
asked friends from T&T how they felt about the way things were at home, and
they gave the expected response:
“‘What can you do. That is the way it is.’
“That saddened me.
“Surely, there is something you can do? If enough people stand up and say
enough is enough, something can happen and things can change.
“How will we get people who aren’t interested in politics for what they can
get for themselves when they are in power?
“How can we stop borrowing from Attila Springer, ‘Papa Patos’ and his band
of moppets from running the country into the ground?”
We, too, dear diaspora readers, are
saddened. But that’s the way it is.