leaf out of Irelands book
have had the pleasure of doing some travelling recently
and last week I shared a few observations about the UK
especially from a 2020 perspective. We also visited another
country and I wonder if you can guess where you will find
o Large signs by the roadside urging drivers to keep death
off the roads and lamenting they had 47 deaths in one
part of the country with a population similar to Trinidads
over the last four years!! (Hasnt ours reached that
already this year?);
o Two former government ministers in prison for failing
to correctly declare their income;
o Lots of sniffer dogs at the airports but not a sign
of a gun.
o Competitions everywhere for The Cleanest Town, The Best
Garden, The Safest Town and so on.
o Such a strong national consciousness about keeping your
home and garden well maintained that I had to ask if there
was a law about it. (There wasnt).
o Every sitting of parliament is televised and the camera
shows all the people in the chamber. (Needless to say
there was no one asleep or reading newspapers).
o A population and land area three times ours.
o The complete rebuilding of their port area with a billboard
pledging to make it home to 200 international banks and
o A plan to spend the equivalent of over $60,000 on each
student per year. (We spend less than $12,000).
o Mile after mile of new roads being built including toll
roads. They are not squeezing in another lane that disappears
after you pass UWI causing a serious traffic hazard. They
are buying land, demolishing buildings and building brand
o Toll roads that charge as much as $15 but which are
packed with drivers.
o Only two police cars and five police persons seen in
five days of driving. No sign of any army or armed police
patrolling the streets despite the fact that parts of
the country are embroiled in a civil war.
o Almost religious adherence to the speed limits because
they have a system where, if you are caught more than
two times in excess by even as little as two mph, you
lose your licence for a year or more.
o They lose a quarter of the number of babies at childbirth
as we do.
o They have no natural resources to talk about compared
with T&T, but a per capita income that is four times
o They have endured centuries of jokes mocking their people.
o Their annual growth between 1995 and 2002 was eight
o Only ten per cent of the population is living below
the poverty line compared with over 40 per cent in T&T.
Im sure you have worked out that Im talking
about Ireland: a country that suffered far, far more under
the heavy hand of colonialism than we did. A country that
lost one in every two people, or nearly four million people
in a famine that occurred at the same point in history
when we were starting to import indentured labour. A country
where, even to this date, Catholics are killing Protestants
and vice versa.
And yet, despite all of these terrible setbacks, they
have built a country, which could teach us a great deal.
For example, they have battled with a brain drain a 100
times worse than ours as you could be in England in less
than one hour with your degree or diploma.
Ireland was behind Gods back, a place no one with
any sense stayed or went to live until they made their
streets and towns safe.
They slashed their tax rates to become the lowest in Europe,
they made heroes of anyone who made money, they made their
Internet infrastructure the biggest single capital expenditure
item in the budget and they took full advantage of various
European aid schemes (unlike ourselves who left hundreds
of millions of dollars of Lomé aid money on the
So, instead of going back to corporal punishment of colonial
days, why dont we simply take a leaf out of Irelands
book and use our brains to make life better.
Just a thought.