Monday 24th December, 2007

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Radio stations killing parang

Parang! Parang! Parang! the conglomerate cry of the multitudinous from the dawn of October to January, a rich, pavane artform whose spirited, seasonal presence traditionally gave the entire country a heady rush of excitement as it once again imbibingly announced to an eagerly awaiting audience and an interlocked mosaic of music-loving cultures that Christmas was here once again.

Now, inertia has stultified this copious, didactic art form and the paranderos, the harbingers of wonderful Yuletide and religious greetings — experts such as legends like Papa Goon, Paul Castillo, Elario Britto, Gloria Alcaza, Henri Perreira, Daisy Voisin and Cyril Fuentes etc, all extolling the religious importance of the birth of Christ and the annunciation —have been replaced by the surreptitious, surrogate and antithetical sound and strident lyrical content of soca parang.

Some of the soca parang songs are even delivered with hubris and indecorousness, some are cacophonous or bitterly hostile, compounding the already insalubrious atmosphere now endured by the peace-loving, tax-paying, responsible citizenry of a besieged T&T.

With respect to our radio stations, all 36 of them, there is a general consensus of opinion and trend of thought that in the absence of the well-trained, illustrious radio announcer, the desultory and unschooled disc jockey has become a venal sycophant, a microcosmic representation of a society in sordid decline.

Perhaps it is too difficult for our radio stations, their management and disc jockeys to understand that they are contributing to the chaotic imbroligio that now exists in the music industry and in the country as a whole by not censoring the nefarious music and lyrics of soca parang (Christmas calypsoes) and by not exposing the rich, traditional heritage of our alternative music at Christmas time to our young eager minds, so that our traditions can live on copiously through the music of our legends, Los Muchachos Del Agua, Universal Serenaders, the Lara Brothers, Carib Santa Rosa, San Jose, La Familia and others.

Sharlene Flores

St Joseph

Not all bad at

passport office

I had to get my passport renewed and was quite surprised at the extent to which I and my countrymen have to suffer to obtain a very necessary document.

Having attempted two days prior to submit my documents, I arrived at the passport office on Frederick Street at 7.30 am, only to be told that all the numbers for the day had been given out. I was advised to return much earlier, say around 4 am.

I did this, only to find that I was number 13 in the line. I got a cardboard box and proceeded to make myself as comfortable as possible to await the office’s opening.

There were no security patrols, even though by 5 am there were approximately 40 people with at least $300 each to pay for the passports, making this an uncomfortable situation. Added to this was the verbal abuse we were subjected to by party-goers heading home from Club Zen. This, however, was the worst of it.

Inside I found the immigration staff quite professional and empathetic to our plight. The officer to whom I spoke expressed his concerns for people forced to sit on the street. He revealed that an appointment system was coming and I was pleased to hear this.

I would like to thank the staff of the Immigration for their understanding of our situation and I hope that the system is upgraded soon.

James Solomon


Clearing the

air on protests

Recent articles have referred to protests by residents to the newly opened PriceSmart facility at Mausica.

Without a more detailed explanation one may be led to believe that these protests were either whimsical or of an ideological bent, ie against the concept of such a facility.

The protests by residents centred around maintaining the integrity of their community against then-existing and proposed intrusions that were threatening their health and security. There was also the perception of broken promises.

It is now history that we have since forged an agreement with the developers that addressed our major concerns. We now look forward to living in harmony with our corporate neighbour on the basis of mutual respect for the interests of each other. We are also pursuing mechanisms where we can continue to solve some of the problems which are likely to ensue in the future.

The residents of Crescent Gardens take this opportunity to highlight the role played by the Environmental Management Authority in addressing our concerns in a positive manner. Its willingness to sit down and talk to us and invite feedback was a welcomed “breath of fresh air” in contrast to the approach adopted by other agencies with which we had to relate during the ordeal.

We also thank the management of PriceSmart for the positive way it has responded in keeping to the terms of our agreement.

Keith Gellineau


Crescent Gardens Residents Association

Time for people

to tackle crime

I ask when is enough enough. If anyone can answer this question, then be ready to do something about it.

Our young people are dying, innocent mothers are being murdered, leaving behind their husbands, children and close families to mourn. Murders have not only become an everyday occurrence but they have become a way of life (oxymoron) for the people of T&T.

My mother once said that God taps you on the shoulder, then He taps you again, and finally He shoves you over to bring you to your senses, to change what has to be changed and to do what is necessary to change it.

It is time that we realise that these beautiful and powerful islands are no longer what they used to be. We have succumbed to the criminals, we have made it a way of life and this should not be.

Recently, I said that being in Trinidad was like playing Russian roulette and someone said to me, “Why go back there?” My response: because it is my homeland, it is where I dreamed my dreams, it is where I left some of my family and it is where my parents are buried. Trinidad is where, no matter how many years I have been away, I still call home.

Recently, there was a murder in my family, a wicked and unnecessary murder. This is the second time that a murder has occurred in my family. I am supposed to feel compassion for the person who did this, I am supposed to forgive because that is what I have been taught. How many times must we forgive?

We are living room critics; we vent to each other in our living rooms, we stand on street corners and we watch the newspapers selling another story on a murdered child, a beautiful young girl raped and stabbed, a beautiful mother trying to make a living left to plead for her life. We watch young men shooting each other and even they cannot tell you why. Mothers fainting in grief, fathers wondering where they went wrong.

I am embarrassed when I see that people of England, Canada, the US and as far away as Australia are being warned to stay away from T&T. We are a proud people and should not lose our true identity to crime.

It is time that the people of T&T begin to value what should be valued and that is life itself. It is time that we speak out and ask “when is this going to stop?” and demand the answers.

We have allowed ourselves to become victims also.

We can blame the Government, the police and in some cases we are justified in so doing. However, let the parents now stand up for the lost children, the lost mothers and fathers and all those who have died in vain.

Make your pleas be heard, make your children change, make your hearts feel.

Lucy Marquez


Panday trying to

gain spotlight

It seems that Basdeo Panday is cognisant of the fact that he has degenerated into fossilised obsolescence and is trying his utmost to stave off the unrelenting attacks of Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj for the ultimate leadership of the UNC-A.

His childish petulance at the ceremonial opening of Parliament was his way of trying to gain the spotlight, even as Ramesh grinned at his puerile behaviour.

Here is a man who has led his party into seven defeats but is an untouchable for all those who depend on him for a seat. Here is a man who is intent on creating a Panday dynasty in the UNC. Here is a man who wipes his hands with a handkerchief, and those who depend on him will see no wrong.

Panday has made a laughing stock of all those who supported him at the last general election as they will now see that the UNC does not have a clue to be an alternative government, and the party will revert to blaming everyone for its mass incompetence as the money illusion has come to an end. It has started to blame the Speaker, the President, Winston Dookeran and the COP, Christmas, and even the weather.

Panday must not only look in the mirror, but also over his right shoulder and remember the words of Ramesh who warned that the PNM will not last for more than two years in government. He should remember all too well that this man is speaking from experience and, as happened in the past, Panday will not be the victor.

Rabindra Moonan

San Fernando

Politicians using

climate change

I fully agree with the content of the letter from Reynold Stone of UWI. The climate on Earth has been changing since time began. Think of the climate change that ended the Ice Age which happened without any activity from man.

Climate change is inevitable and will not be altered one way or another by the effects of man. It is, however, being used by politicians to try to excuse their shortcomings and to try and gain more control over the people. Let’s not be fooled into falling into their trap.

Ian Stewart


Change army to para-military force

At this juncture in our history, mention soldiers on our streets and the population lets out a sigh of relief.

Our police need all the help they can get. Our situation is so bad that any help is welcome, even though our army is trained to kill or be killed, and not to be patrolling our streets against mostly petty criminals,

However, most citizens frequently ask what do our soldiers do every day to pass the time, seeing that they are not out there fighting wars. But then war against whom? Venezuela? We don’t stand an iota of a chance. Barbados? Are the Bajans going to take Caribbean Airlines to get here?

It is time our Government changes our army to a para-military force or militia that will also be trained in “policing” so the soldiers can be out there every day, all the time, and not just at Christmas and Carnival.

At the same time we will have a force to fight the scourge from within, including any home-grown terrorists.

What say you, Mr Minister of National Security?

C Roopnarine

San Juan

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