Even to the
most casual observer, this country is baffling. The markers point everywhere
Just when the
Ryder Scott report reminded us that energy will one day roll over and die;
just when you thought the rate of murders is insane; just when you felt
despair over the 15 per cent raise in Cepep salaries —and you went around
saying, “I wish the government would just give Cepep ‘workers’ the money
instead of the damaging mind-numbing, sheep creating, practice of
‘make-work’ and make it mandatory that in exchange for the ‘salary’ they
enrol in an institution to learn a skill so we wouldn’t have to import
labourers, health workers, people from just about every trade from China,
India, Jamaica, Cuba, Africa;”—just when you wondered which team of pseudo
economists were advising the government; just when you wondered in this
season of plenty about the “protesting” workers from just about every
government entity and don’t want to think of their multiplied wrath when the
recession hits and they are laid off; just when you thought the noise about
rising food prices would die down; just when you thought you’d heard
everything, the chairman of the opposition UNC says he will fight to the
death for the right of Cepep workers; just when you think this government
has no opposition and we are in for a rule of the maximum leader for decade,
you think it can’t get worse, it does.
the 2006 UNDP development index and find Trinidad and Tobago embarrassingly
low on the scale, the talk of Vision 2020 a hollow parody of who we actually
oil-producing country, is the most developed. Barbados comes in proudly at
31, topping all developing counties. T&T, bafflingly, the second richest
country in the Caribbean lumbers in at 57.
Barbados consistently beat us in the race for first world status?
They have no
oil …just sea, sand and service.
The index is
based on people’s life expectancy, combined enrolled ratio for primary,
secondary and tertiary schools, GDP per capita, an adult literacy rate and
that our average citizen is poorer, sicker and less literate than Barbados.
The languishing patients outside hospitals are a direct result of the low
percentage of the GDP we spend on health.
T&T is one of
the few countries that offers no adult literacy rate. No figures available.
Only 67 per cent of our people enrol in schools and universities.
countries who beat us in the race for first world status after Barbados are,
in order, Malta, Kuwait, Brunei Darussalam, Hungary, Argentina, Poland,
Chile, Bahrain, Estonia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Uruguay, Croatia, Latvia,
Qatar, Seychelles, Costa Rica, United Arab Emirates, Cuba, (socialism works)
St Kitts and Nevis (why exactly is St Kitts ahead of us?) Bahamas, Mexico,
Bulgaria, Tonga and Oman. Trinidad and Tobago lumbers in at a pathetic
number 51. The figures show that our life expectancy at birth of 69.8 years
is lower than that of dozens of countries beneath us in the Human
Development Index such as the Jamaicans who, at number 104, are expected to
live longer (70.7) than us.
Just when you
reach a point when you want to put your head in your hands and bawl you get
a sense of buoyancy. There is no-where to go but up. People care again.
People are talking issues—crime, healthcare, inflation, education,
agriculture and draft constitutions that encourage a more vigorous
the drugged sheep, people are finally waking up.