I remember quite clearly the cries of corruption and more corruption from the mouth of the NJAC political leader Makandal Daaga as he described the current People's Partnership Government back in 2011 at the MSJ's Founding Conference held at Palms Club in San Fernando on May 14.
To my surprise a week later at the Mid Centre Mall in Chaguanas where the Government celebrated its first anniversary as a "government" he changed his tune.
As a matter of fact he sang praises to the audience and to the national community, stating that the Government was the best ever and that its days should be showered with blessings! The man sounded as if he was heralding the second coming of Christ! I asked myself what could possibly make someone change his position so quickly.
During the fiasco at the Tunapuna Hindu School last year when it was alleged that Sat Maharaj made racist statements regarding persons who were non-Indian, to be precise, regarding Africans in this country, claiming (it is alleged) that he didn't want "blacks" in "his" school, I was totally amazed at the response from persons inside the Government, the Opposition and even the general population.
Sita Gajadharsingh-Nanga was reported to the police, unjustly chastised and put in the hot-seat by the Minister of Education, defended by a member of the Opposition, neglected by her union for a period of time, jostled by a security guard, bad-mouthed and disrespected by a Johnny-come-lately PTA. God knows what else within her community and temple that may have occurred to make her feel uncomfortable for being truthful and forthright.
The leader of the COP was bold-faced enough to announce that the COP would have been holding consultations/talks with the citizenry regarding race relations in this country. I wonder who does Devant, Sat, Tim, Roodal and Prakash think they are fooling in this country?
Regarding Ms Gajadharsingh-Nanga, the population said nothing, the press killed the story and the only bit of memory that ever was rekindled arrived whenever something to do with the principal in question came to the fore. I asked myself where all the women's groups were and all those activists parading in dashikis every day claiming to be just and caring of others in the society. Where were all the legal minds and those columnists worth their pinch of salt? Silence! But I guess, no I know for sure, that this is the unconscionable and shameless society that we have built for ourselves.
I told my wife while watching the news that if I were a member of the legal fraternity who parades in the street when the law term opens in my pomp and splendour that I would have been very ashamed to do so.
We live in one of the most corrupt countries on the face of the earth where we can't trust the police, magistrates, Integrity Commission, business leaders, lecturers and members of our Government with anything sacred. Our rights as citizens for recourse on so many issues are virtually non-existent in light of the fact that the interest of big business and capitalism enjoy more security than that of the taxpayers/shareholders of the wealth of this country.
Employees have very little right to job security in an environment that facilitates abuse because of lack of proper legislation to address individual rights and benefits in the workplace. The Rent Assessment Board has no teeth and greedy landlords can do virtually what they want to as they over-charge for properties that may be worth much less.
Some religious leaders have agendas of their own and thousands are willing to shut-up, take the crap and hope for a place of abode in the sky or some other dimension that will be acquired if they pray for those who steal from them and their children…what utter nonsense! Other religious leaders preach the superiority of one race and culture and urge their followers to do what they may have to in order to acquire wealth, property and political power, regardless of who they have to hurt.
So in this country I find myself in a place where integrity is defined and depends on the wealth of the criminal and what he possesses. He can always be embraced socially for a price, he and his children. He can steal tens of millions of taxpayers' dollars and be allowed to walk the street without facing justice. He can even belong to a political party of his choosing and persons will flock to him begging for help.
And in all this the judiciary demands respect. Most of them just knew too well how to retain information, pass exams and get a certificate, but they have no good character and vision for this republic. They hold "high" offices all over the place and draw huge salaries, salaries that are justified by the hierarchy, as they keep their mouths and consciences barred from those of us who are "less fortunate", those of us who work for less than $10,000 and must be considered poor and unable to meet decent means of safety and security for our families.
All this in an environment where the banking system contains the biggest blood-suckers who ever walked this planet. One bank recorded a profit of millions after tax and they call this "good business sense"! The true criminals and con-men in this society are rewarded and revered as "successful" and not as what they truly are...a bunch of blood-sucking thieves and con-men dressed in jacket and ties, eating, driving, wearing and living expensively without conscience, without scruples and morals.
We see them smile at awards functions in rooms full of others, but they do not care about the condition of the public health system as they can afford, through theft, the "best" that money can buy! This is what we have become as a nation.
Conditions in this country have become worse since 2010 — health, roads, economy, corruption, mismanagement, prejudice, racism, national security, job security — and the list can go on and on, while we still trying to race to The Avenue to lime on weekends.
We can't wait to disrespect ourselves, all in the name of having fun for two days every year, parading in our jockey shorts and underwear through the streets of this nation, even backing-up our behinds to the camera in full view of the children and young people of this country. And we ask ourselves who is to blame for the state of our country? The answer is simple, look in the mirror!
• Bernard Yawching is a member of the Activist Council of the Movement
for Social Justice