Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Looking for hope in hopeless T&T

There have always been many reasons that citizens can be proud of this nation. We have been described as paradise islands of fun in the sun. We can boast of resources that have made us economically superior to most other countries, not only in this part of the hemisphere but globally. 

For an extremely small population, we are able to generate annual national budgets in excess of $60 billion. We have produced some of the best scho­lars, some of the best athletes and at least one of the greatest musical inventions in the pan. Indeed, there are many reasons for which we can be proud. 

But ask any citizen today to give a rating on how much they take pride in their homeland, and I am certain that for many, the answer will be on the lower end of the scale. For as a country, we continue to make local and international headlines that have tainted the soul of our nation. Recent incidents being Dana Seetahal’s murder, the 13-year-old’s suicide hanging, the viral video of child beating, suspected jihadist activities in Venezuela, alleged sex scandals of politicians, “emailgate”, Range Rovers, prison litigation and, of course, the numerous representations of false qualifications. 

This shortlist of examples indicates that the problems we face are not simplistic of just a certain type or isolated to a certain sector of society but varied in nature. They are like a complicated network of high-bred termites, chewing on the moral fabric of our society, 

eating it away, bit by bit. 

Gone are the days when you can “lime on the block” until midnight, without being harassed by a thief or killer, or when you can relax in your porch with your family, fearless of being attacked by an intruder. Today, homes and businesses must invest in complex security systems, most of which are of no match for our hi-tech criminals. 

Most frightening is that there seems to be no hope for the future; no trace of light can be seen at the end of the tunnel. Such hopelessness has a spiralling effect, with deleterious consequences on citizens such as depression of various kinds. Yet our politicians attempt to impose a false sense of hope on an already bleeding society. Hope that murderers will be caught when, in fact, there is an extremely low crime-detection rate; hope that health care will improve when death via delinquency by doctors con­­tin­ues to rise; hope of a better education system when schools still lack basic infrastructure and teachers; hope for curbing corruption when, in fact, Trinidad and Tobago’s rating continues to fall in the global corruption index; hope for a better tomorrow although every day, we are more convinced that tomorrow may never come.

It appears that we are submerged in misery and there is nowhere to search for hope in such hopelessness. Investors will naturally be calculating the increased risk of doing business here, hence economic growth will be stifled. 

This country is poised to suffer a serious brain-drain as intelligent, educated, law-abiding citizens are not prepared to tolerate this rampant state of lawlessness. It appears that even God has given up Trini citizenship and, if so, who can really blame him? Let us look forward with bated breath to the next campaign themes.

Dr Ramchand Rampersad

El Socorro