Club Soda and Salt

No more stains

Finger On The Pulse

Posted by clubsodaandsalt on December 25, 2003

So I’ve been in Trinidad for a few days now, and I have to say, the mood on the ground isn’t pretty. Even people who care about the country are slowly having their will to change things drained out of them. The psychological stress of witnessing as much violence as people here have in this small a space and this short a timespan seems to be allowing the criminals (known and unknown) to take over. Abu Bakr has expanded his complex all the way to the National/Hasely Crawford Stadium. The roads seem (and this may just be perception) more chaotic. Even people in good neighbourhoods like Goodwood Park and Westmoorings are scared – the former plans to gate itself, Fairways style. Everyone seems clueless as to what to do.

To an extent, and this may seem elitist or unfair, it’s as though a civic-minded middle class minority has been beat into submission. On one hand, we’ve been battered by our corrupt and largely illiterate elites. The political and business elite have joined forces to rape this country of its resources, and they seem unconcerned with the suffering that they’re causing in the process. Meanwhile, the public gets fed meaningless nonsense like “Vision 2020” and the FTAA headquarters, and we’re expected to see these things and believe that they mean that things are getting better.

On the other side, the majority, mostly poor, mostly under-educated, don’t understand that they’re being had. As a result, they go out in election after election and vote for the same corrupt bastards, deciding based on something as inane as whether a particular bunch of bastards looks like them. So when Mottley or Bhaggan or anyone else tries to start a third party movement, they get killed due to these people.

These are also the people who “like it so”. To an extent, the lack of seriousness among the majority of Trinidadians can be refreshing. However, this approach to life has now created a country where no-one cares about ANYTHING. When my bags were left in New York by BWIA, did they follow company policy and inform me? No. (Why I must do dat?) When Sabga builds an illegal mall, exacerbating traffic at the busiest intersection in the country, does anyone say anything? (I does like shopping dey!) When people steal cars and sell stolen parts below market value in the Bamboo, does any give a shit? (De parts REAL cheap!) When the police spend time making sure no-one says “fuck” on stage instead of preventing murders, does anyone note the stupidity? (Dat music is corrupting my child!) Does anyone pay attention to ANY driving laws in Trinidad? (Doh study it!) When Manning/Panday gives our tax money to his boys, do we get vex? (Is we time now!)

So what is a civic-minded Trinidadian to do? I certainly don’t know. My personal solution was to run away from it all, and while that has made me happier, I also realize that it was selfish and cowardly. I used to think that I’d just stay away long enough to make my fortune, then come back and run for office. Somehow, though, a life of constantly losing elections ala NJAC or (perhaps) Mottley seems unfulfilling, and unless we can make the ‘True Trini’ majority change their voting patterns…. well. I’ve gone through this crisis before, and have never been able to come up with the solution. Any suggestions?

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