No way to ring in a Happy New Year

 As has become the tradition, citizens by the thousand are ringing in the New Year with a bang (no pun intended) and many people are already extending best wishes and the hope for a better 2014.  

The Police Service has made a rather silly pronunciation that firecrackers are illegal and we can call them in the event of a nuisance. Do they expect citizens who purchased their firecrackers to the tune of thousands of dollars to just obey and desist?    

Be that as it may, it is difficult for me to bleat “Happy New Year” because too many lives have been lost and there have been too many atrocities committed against the children and the environment. 

I simply cannot shake the heaviness brought on by the loss of life in the last year  and moreso the last three weeks in December beginning with the death of Nelson Mandela.  I am particularly moved by the deaths of Keyanna Cumberbatch and the one-year-old found in a latrine, as I am alarmed by the drive-by shootings in Central which resulted in people being killed. 

Almost in copycat fashion, a shooting in San Juan resulted in two lives being lost as well as two others being hospitalised. This is not the way to ring in a new and prosperous year.  

Alas, the sight of party-goers merrily counting down 2013 into 2014 just doesn’t jell with the sight of a destroyed mangrove or a spoilt beach or a mother who sets herself on fire. I can’t ignore the sadness that permeates this nation, despite the best efforts of the Government to lift the standard of living.     

Add to the above the situation in La Brea and environs brought on by the oil spills. While much is being done to alleviate the plight of the citizens, the environment is still being negatively affected. There still remains a thick residue on the beach front, in the ocean  and in the fragile lagoon. This must be addressed.  

What I would like to see happen is that urgent action be taken to beautify, clean and reclaim the Sea Lots jetty which is the stinkest piece of water front at the entrance to the city of Port of Spain and all those derelict ships in the Gulf removed.   

So, I thank the media for highlighting my concerns and crave the kindest indulgence if I don’t offer any Happy New Year wishes.  I prefer to just simply say—and here I am reminded of the plight of the banana nation, St Vincent and the Grenadines, the tourism-dependent St Lucia and Dominica—God Bless Our Nation.               

                                         Lystra Marajh


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