Monday 22nd March, 2004

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Erotic spectacle not our culture

Well, Carnival 2004 is over, and the taste left in our mouths, the image left in our eyes, and the feelings felt in our hearts are twofold.

To the thousands of revellers who had a fun, festive, enjoyable, exciting and delightful time in a responsible, decent way, depicting the true culture, creativity, amiability of our people, and genuine catharsis, hats off to you.

To the steelbands (our pride and joy) for their incredible, high standard of music, and fully clothed costumes, we applaud you, thank you. Your dedication, discipline and aptitude are greatly respected and appreciated.

To the calypsonians whose compositions for the pans, and other witty songs we can sing without shame, disgrace and disgust, we encourage and support you for your positive messages, and amusing commentary.

To the bandleaders who opted for creativity and real, authentic costumes (noticeably in Tobago and the rural districts), we urge you not to be influenced by the negative, immoral trend that has led us to obscenity.

To the thousands of men and women revellers who depicted gross indecency, immorality, banality, lewdness and depravity, we are left feeling utter disgust, nausea, moral repugnance, loathing, shame, abhorrence and are greatly offended.

To the calypsonians, especially the women, who disrespected me and my womanhood by their lewd performances, and the inciting to violence of soul, mind and body, I say no more. You cannot be allowed to drag our reputation as a nation into the gutter anymore.

A prude you say? No way! A Christian woman? Oh yes, who strives to be like Christ and at the same time have a very enjoyable time, appreciating the beauty, talents, innovativeness and giftedness of us as a people, respecting my integrity and that of others.

We have lost our soul; it is time to take it back. We have plunged too deep in the murkiness of licentious behaviour; we have to take a positive, powerful and meaningful stand against it and say stop it now. No more.

This is an urgent appeal to a strong, powerful, brave, honourable and righteous man or woman in authority to make this move immediately.

This cannot wait for next year. If we are responsible citizens of T&T the degradation of morals/values/attitudes/behaviours must cease now.

The process to make mandatory the rules to disqualify all bands with indecent apparel (they are not costumes) and charge/fine them for indecent exposure, make arrests and issue heavy charges/fines to anyone (bandleaders and players) who do not comply with our code of conduct/dress/etc must begin in a tangible way now.

It is an insult to term this banality “our culture.” The horrific spectacle of erotic performances displayed on stage, roads and in public is not “our culture.”

It is up to us, the brave, strong, righteous ones, to stand up and make it happen. We have too much to lose to allow our Carnival to sink to such a low.

Rise up my people. Let our Creator be proud of us. We can do it.

Betty de Sousa

Petit Valley

WI cricket now under the rock

Can West Indies cricket sink any lower? I thought we were already at rock bottom; seems we are getting even under the rock!

The under-19 squad would have shown more guts and fighting spirit than the senior team on that fourth day against England. Thank goodness for the two days of rain interruptions or the match would have been over in three days.

I don’t buy Lara’s remark that a disaster like this occurs once and won’t happen again.

This is the third or fourth time the WI team has capitulated to a pathetic score in a series. Remember the 51 at the Oval vs Australia and the 54 vs England in England?

Our senior players looked like rank amateurs against the well pitched-up ball and hadn’t a clue how to handle it. Maybe the players should ask Ambrose and Walsh to give them sustained practice in the nets to cope with the accurate well pitched-up aggressive balls that are being bowled by the England quickies.

Man of the match Steve Harmison said he learnt from the first innings and realised the short-of-a-length ball was not as effective and concentrated more on a fuller length with the ball coming up to the batsmen—the kind of balls our fast bowlers of the past dished out.

Would our bowlers observe and try the same? Oh no! It was a constant pounding in the ball short of a length, trying to bounce and being punished. I would concede, though, that our bowlers were not as wayward as in South Africa, but the no balls are still a big problem.

Adam Sanford’s selection over Vasbert Drakes and Pedro Collins was surprising and he was quite innocuous. Also a genuine spinner is essential, regardless of the feelings of the selectors that a pace attack is the answer, particularly as the other venues are not helpful to pace bowling.

Uncle Les must be turning in his grave if this match was dedicated to him! We need him to send an encouraging word from the grave as soon as possible to change things.

JS Kelsick

St Ann’s

Tremendous job by TTEC crew

I am a resident of Cyrus Road, El Socorro, and I express my heartfelt thanks to the TTEC crew who did a tremendous job of promptly restoring electricity to our community on February 28.

A trailer broke an electricity pole that Saturday morning which sparked a day of inconvenience for us. Those TTEC guys worked from morning to night to have power restored (inclusive of installing a replacement pole).

I am so pleased with their prompt and courteous response and their diligence. Several other state utilities can take a feather from your cap, guys. Good job! Keep up the good work.

Ria Lewis

El Socorro

US must not buy Country Club

I am deeply disturbed over the reports that the US Embassy may buy the Country Club property.

I have no doubt that the owner would get a premium price from the Americans but I say “no,” a thousand times “no.”

We have been barred from the Country Club before—not again. It must not be allowed.

Surely someone can step in and for the sake of the public psyche say no. Let them go to somewhere that has not been a source of pain, of rejection, of racialism.

Please do something, whoever you are, to stop this from happening.

Calvin Brewster

St Ann’s

Bad example for students

I looked at the news on Saturday and was embarrassed by Prime Minister Patrick Manning telling reporters, in response to a question on the former Labour Minister, that he had lost his voice.

I was in for another surprise when, after a CEPEP rally, Manning conveniently lost his voice again. Is this some sort of joke now?

All that the Prime Minister had to say was “no comment.” Remember former Prime Minister George Chambers who always said “no comment, ask the relevant minister.”

How convenient an answer for the person holding one of the main offices in this country. The Prime Minister has totally insulted the population. What example is he setting for schoolchildren? When children are asked questions in school are they to antagonise their teachers by saying that they have lost their voice? They may even reply to their parents with this nonsense. Is this the example to be shown to them?

Mr Manning, you are truly not someone that the younger generation should take example from.

Maria Lee

[email protected]

Hypocrisy of the business class

It cannot be denied that the best means of arriving at fair and equitable pay rates for workers is by negotiations between employer and trade union. But what does a worker do when there is no recognised trade union in an industry?

Even worse, when that employer is a huge multinational whose operations rival those of the largest enterprises in the country? Worse yet when that employer is in the country for a limited time and is due to pack up and leave in 18 months at the end of the contract period?

The Government’s refusal to intervene in the Atlantic LNG dispute is tantamount to throwing the workers to the wolves. Of course, Cape is pleased at the Government’s inaction—it leaves the workers at the company’s mercy.

Measuring the workers’ action by the losses to the economy is a joke—millions, billions are wasted on more frivolous pursuits. In any event, that only becomes important when it is workers’ actions that might cause those losses.

When crime was high on the national agenda, business interests claimed it would affect investor confidence. Now workers’ right are high on the agenda and the issue is once again investor confidence.

The truth is that investor confidence is based not on these concerns but on the returns investors can make on their investment. Venezuela and Nigeria and Colombia and so many other countries are testimony to this.

Sectoral wages are a reality of economic life. Caroni workers accepted that they could not be paid the same wages for doing the same work as their peers just down the road in the oil industry.

There were operators and welders and riggers and maintenance personnel in both industries, but oil workers were paid three and four times the wages of sugar workers with no inflationary spiral.

But apparently inflation is only important if it might be caused by workers’ actions. Inflation as a result of increases in the cost of gasoline (which increase the price of everything else), flour, chicken, cement, steel and everything else which benefits business interests is acceptable.

The hypocrisy of the business class is shameful, but there is no shame where money is to be made.

People like the ECA, the Chambers of Commerce and all the other business groups have leapt to the attack on the workers. Workers and their organisations must stand in defence of workers’ rights.

Karan Mahabirsingh


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