Driving home in a warm
sunset I felt my heart lilt with joy, rolled down the car window. A
group of women spread their mats under a Poui tree in the Savannah,
blossoms beneath, falling softly as the breeze on them. I wasn’t
prepared for that line of blossoms across one stretch of the Savannah.
The hills olive green
awaiting the yellow to flower. An artists dream. Family, food cooked by
loving hands at home, warmth. But as the evening progressed, I felt my
joy turn to disappointment, anger and finally, total disgust. I went to
How long can a country
continue to run itself? It’s an election year and the leaders are still
treating us as if we are sheep, unreflecting, living from day to day,
easily distracted by smutty theatricals. How could they talk of ‘dog’
and ‘cat’ when over 500,000 of us are functionally illiterate? How could
they talk of “cowards” and innuendo on “pipes” when we have the tenth
highest rate of murder in the world?
How could they stand up
there and simply have a nasty little fishmonger’s quarrel amongst
themselves, the ruling party and the Opposition, about who is a son of
rape, and who they will put in jail when we have fallen in the world
corruption index dramatically?
How could they move motions
of “no confidence” when actually no one seems to give a flying f***
about the fact the country runs without any systems, without any checks
and balances, in every area from government contracts to taxes, leaving
the door wide open for those in a position of power to plunder or bully
the weak? And what happens to disgust and misery when it finds no
We become depressed people
addicted to mindless games created by politicians. We gather around the
arena of their vitriol and it becomes our entertainment. We are addicted
to their childish, vindictive statements to escape our grim reality. We
are absorbed by mindless video games where people kill one another.
We are so absorbed by abuse
that we are drugged to the point of inaction. They know it’s our weak
point. It’s time to step out of the game. To say ‘stop’. ‘No more.’ If
you politicians are going to lead us, then answer some proper questions.
What plans do you have to improve healthcare? How are you going to
restructure the police service so as citizens we don’t see them as scary
men with guns who don’t solve crimes? What are you putting in place for
economic growth, for manufacturing and industry?
When will you turn our
overflowing toxic dumps into landfills? How are you going to create
proper jobs? When will you stop the Government funded make-work criminal
gang industry and use the money to tool and retool, educate and train
our young people?
When are you going to train
and educate teachers properly? When will the EMA regulate Point Lisas?
When will you be serious about straining an institute for artists to
study pan, art, costume? How will you rehabilitate our illiterate? When
will you train social workers to go into the areas where the boys on the
block are waiting to become just another generation of boys with a short
lifespan that will be filled with brutalising our citizens?
When will we see
transparency in big government contracts? When will you enforce litter
laws? Easter is a time for taking stock, for looking at the polished
mirror. What we see is grotesque. Taking stock. Last week, the nation
was brought to gridlock. It was an analogy for a country where the
police show their muscle by ‘working’, with the shadow of a greater
menace. If they can hold the country hostage like this, it’s the
foreshadowing of how much more they can do. The power of guns.
Taking stock. We remain
among the most polluted country in the world. We dump more than 50
million plastic bottles in our dumps and one million glass bottles every
month. Plastic when exposed to heat creates among the deadliest toxins
known to man.
In January 2010, three
ministers sat on the CNC3 set with me and promised that soon, yes very
soon, T&T will be recycling like Barbados, which recycles 70 per cent of
its waste, like the rest of the developed world, that we will have a
bottle bill. I visited the Beetham dump. By September 2010 I wrote:
“Sitting in an air-conditioned van in the middle of a sea of garbage,
our view blurred by thick raindrops on glass. A seamless darkness spread
from sky to earth.
It was the stuff of
nightmares. Rain pelting down on a field of garbage as far as the eye
could see: paper, plastic bottles, food cartons, cardboard boxes, broken
plastic chairs, rusting electronics, steel drums, ripped books, paper,
bottles, plastic bottles, cans, bleach bottles. Rats. Cockroaches.
A line of black turkey
vultures, corbeaux on a stretch of stone. And then the moving figures,
hunched, shapeless, Dickensian. It was difficult to tell the men from
the women, scavengers dressed in layers of rags, seemingly sleepwalking,
unaware of the trucks off-loading garbage, untouched by the pelting
rain, filling up bags, merged into the grim landscape.”
up at the hills now, spot a yellow poui, and marvel at a country that
flourishes in a heap of political garbage.