No money, no love in T&T
recently occurred to me that we appear to have run out of
two commodities for which it is said were well known:
money and love.
What with the oil and gas deposits, it is generally accepted
that ours is a very rich country. And we like to boast that
we are a very loving people.
One would think then that if we are as rich as were
purported to be, every public utility would be state-of-the-art.
Such, obviously, is not the case. So where is the money?
Thousands of our people are still crying out daily over the
lack of such a basic need as water. Where is the money?
Every day on the sidewalks were stepping over or around
our indigent brothers and sisters with no heed to their plight.
Where is the love?
We are demanding action from our law enforcement officers.
We expect them to protect and serve, while across the country
the police stations are collapsing on their heads. So where
is the money?
Just recently I heard a few dozen voices raised in concern
over the plight of a young woman and her six children living
beneath a tree, exposed to the elements. Then shortly after
I heard over 50,000 voices raised in concern over the problems
of a millionaire cricketer and his buddies. Is this the love
of which we boast?
Here we have a Ministry of Tourism wooing foreigners to come
to our beaches, while we have our lifeguards marching in the
streets, begging for improved conditions and pay. Again, where
is the money?
Everywhere you turn there is lack, there is need, there is
want. With all the impoverishment, hardship and discontent,
one has to ask: where is the wealth? With all the murders,
robberies and kidnappings, I have to wonder... where is the
love? We appear to be in dire need of a supply of both commodities.
Heaven help us.
Wanted: quality auto service
REMEMBER well the 70s when cars were at a premium. The
waiting time could be as much as three years and inducements
were not frowned upon to obtain not-so-fully-loaded, locally-assembled
Today, a vehicle is the most available product, taking price,
financing, repayment time, model, configuration, and other
factors into consideration. The roll-on, roll-off vehicles
are now readily accepted as of good quality and good value
What, however, is questionable is the level of quality service
to the consumer after his purchase, which in many cases is
a significant investment.
It is not surprising in many instances to have to wait a considerable
amount of time after ones car has been delivered for
a service. This fortunately does not apply to all dealerships.
I was recently subjected to some disturbing verbal abuse on
learning that my recreational, all-purpose, all-wheel drive
vehicle could not have a simple oil change and brake adjustment
in four hours, because all the relevant technicians would
be going for lunch.
My humble suggestion to introduce an auxiliary team to cater
for the workload in this nation on wheels was met with hostility
from the service manager, who did not recognise the practical
measure as one of efficiency (and customer satisfaction) benefiting
I am now divorced from that company but having the experience
of owning and operating a filling service station for over
20 years, the mechanics and maintenance of a car are not problems.
Management however can be the difference between success and
campaign for vagrancy relief
pass them daily on our streets, sometimes in fear of an unprovoked
attack, sometimes in disgust as they block our pathway, sometimes
with pity because of their age or infirmity.
We try to distance ourselves from their existence. But they
remain with us, a sad and glaring reflection of the fact that
our society has little regard for the homeless, destitute,
mentally ill, victims of drug abuse and street children.
We call them vagrants and routinely accept them as part of
our national environment.
They are human beings like ourselves, but they exist at a
level which prevents them from being part of the mainstream
of our society and from functioning at a truly human level
Our society has become too materialistic. We view progress
in terms of material structures, oil and natural gas, cars
and the size of the budget, but not in terms of the real quality
of life of the people or their state of happiness and well
It is such considerations which prompted the chief servant
and political leader of National Joint Action Committee, Makandal
Daaga, to propose to NJACs national executive at its
commemoration of February 26, a significant date in the life
of T&T, that National Womens Action Committee be
mandated to spearhead an initiative in a campaign to remove
the homeless from the streets. This proposal was unanimously
approved by the national executive.
In accepting its responsibility to carry out this mandate,
NWAC has been mindful of the fact that this problem has a
history behind it. We recall that since the early 1980s, NJAC,
our parent organisation, through its publications, meetings
and interfacing with the public, was alerting the nation to
this problem of vagrancy, which was then developing.
During that period also, NWAC, in our magazine, Caribbean
Women and in our newsletter, published articles on the growing
problem of the street children and spoke of the need as well
to honour the old. We have held zonal consultations and national
seminars on these issues.
The problem, therefore, is not new; neither is our concern.
What has happened is that it has developed to alarming proportions,
becoming a totally inescapable reality.
The despair and hopelessness of these unfortunate individuals
whom we term vagrants are always in full view, right before
our eyes, a constant reminder that our values are not what
they should be.
We need values which will serve as the foundation of a truly
humane society, a society as exemplified in the following
statement made by Daaga at a peoples rally in November
want a society whose ideological basis must be man. We do
not want a society whose ideological basis is the machine,
whose ideological basis is money, whose ideological basis
we want is a society whose ideological basis is man, you,
you, you, where each and everyone has an importance, where
our society is geared for the maintenance of you; where everything
in the society is geared towards the care of you, where all
funds, all resources must be utilised with one considerationto
make you happy.
do not want a society which is built on individualism and
which is based on the exploitation of man by man...
want a society built on the psychological basis of man so
that the old person who has given his life to the society
can be cared for; the child who is coming up will be seen
as the fruit of the nation to be nurtured; the man and woman
would be provided with food, shelter, education, clothing
and employment. And in return we demand of that man that he
gives of his best.
This campaign provides us with an opportunity, on the one
hand, to bring dignity, self-worth and the ability to be a
meaningful contributor to society into the lives of those
of us who are less fortunate, and on the other hand, to engage
members of the national community in a truly positive act
of national and human service which could only see our country
It is not a campaign simply to get the vagrants off the streets
because they are seen as rotting trash or garbage. It is a
campaign to give a new lease on life to a sector of our society
silently crying out for help. It is our obligation to be our
brothers and sisters keeper and to extend a hand
of compassion and goodwill.
We must begin to feel the pain for our homeless. We must not
continue to accept the institutionalisation of the state of
vagrancy as a societal norm, but as a symbol of a society
in danger of losing its soul.
This campaign, therefore, must be a reflection of an awakened
consciousness within us of the need to refocus ourselves and
to reinstil within ourselves those values which serve to bring
a human face to society.
This campaign crosses all boundariessocial, political,
ethnic, whateverfor it is an issue which affects us
all in some form or fashion. The National Womens Action
Committee is therefore calling on each and every one to be
involved in some way in this campaign, so that there can be
a final resolution of this issue.
Should this happen, then we can be certain that we are now
on the right track and that the country will be provided with
something it needs now more than everhope.
Womens Action Committee
Save nation from gutter journalism
journalism is destroying the country. Each Friday, reputations
and entire careers are carved up and left bleeding, if not
dead. That is because the victims cant descend into
the gutter to answer. Or they feel that legal action takes
too long and only gives the gutter trade more stories to cause
People who dare to do and say what is right, and stand up
for principle, are the main targets since they block the work
of evil people who then use gutter journalists armed with
lies, distortion, vileness and ridicule to terrorise or ruin
Gutter journalism has been getting away with its satanic practices
ever since it was first introduced officially some 35 years
ago. Hiding behind freedom of the press, and public and government
cowardice to take action against this increasingly smelly
cancer, the gutter journalism has outlasted resistance, disgust
and lawsuits, wearing down victims with a steady flow of written
Situations like this led the Law Association to condemn some
media houses (we all know which) for their scurrilous,
scandalous and unwarranted personal attacks on judges.
The association urged the DPP to institute proceedings,
if appropriate, against the offending media houses.
The DPP himself has come under a constant barrage of filth
from gutter journalists. As expected, they have moved away
from deeds and policies and are relentlessly attacking him
personally. This cant be right. If they went to the
US they couldnt get away writing that sort of scatology
against the US Attorney General. But they get away with it
Its rotten. Good people in this society must no longer
stomach this character assassination. We long time overs
that sort of ignorance. Its high time to write laws
to protect the innocent and to save the nation from a worsening
cult of ambush and destruction by gutter journalism.
The Chief Justice himself recently condemned as reprehensible,
outrageous and untrue the headline and article in a weekly
newspaper. He described the article as a scurrilous attack
on the personal character of a judge, which may constitute
a contempt of court. Such journalism, he said, appears to
have hit an all-time low. And he is right.
Our nominees for EMA awards
Annual Green Leaf Awards of the EMA are once again with us.
In the past Fishermen and Friends of the Sea have not made
any nominations, however this year we are forced to break
our nomination silence and offer for public consideration
the following nominees:
The board of the EMA for a laughable tragedy of unforgivable
The Prime Minister for his lack of human and environmental
The ALNG company for its medical examinations of residents
for all organs except lungs.
The National Energy Corporation for its success in having
the EMA approve the La Brea 30-hectare mangrove harbour without
The Attorney General for not bringing to Parliament a single
bill to create transparency in the gas and oil negotiation/giveaway
that has caused almost 50 per cent of our citizens to live
below the World Bank Poverty Index, and has created ministerial
wealth in every offshore financial haven.
Those who live below the poverty line must be the best nominee
for their tolerance and discipline.
Fishermen and Friends of the Sea