No PNM or UNC murders
As a little boy growing up in Moruga, South Trinidad, I longed for Sundays when my grandmother will kill a chicken and prepare a Sunday meal of stewed chicken with peas and rice and some juice made from freshly picked limes or lemons.
Life was simple; the fish our family ate came straight from the sea to the home—no market. The peas we ate, most of the time, came directly from the garden, no fertilisers, no genetic engineering.
Our chicken meat was tough as the chicken were home-grown from corn and rice. Almost everything we consumed came from the garden.
There were herbal teas for almost everything, a monthly purge, now called colon cleansing, massages with coconut oil made from the copra of the coconut and soft candle.
We learnt to live on what we could afford but more than that we learned to be honest. We said "good morning" to our neighbours and like most good Catholics we found relief at confession where we off-loaded our sins on the priest and walked away feeling free from sin as we took time to pay penance of a few Hail Marys and Our Fathers.
That foundation led me to the person I am today, a simple but sincere and honest man.
I say this not to be boastful, but to say that most of us in Trinidad and Tobago are like that. We are simple loving people who grew up in a simple island blessed with natural treasures.
We enjoy a good cricket and football game, we still look out for our neighbours and we are content with what little we have.
Each day I watch in amazement, the thousands of workers that endure hours of traffic jam in the hot sweltering sun, fighting for a maxi-taxi or PH to get to work.
Our people earn an average of four to five thousand dollars a month. With that small salary, they manage to buy school uniform, prepare lunch for the family, pay the rent or mortgage and find time to say thanks to God at their various churches each Sunday.
We still find time to go visit a friend, take a trip to the beach and periodically treat ourselves to a movie and dinner. That is simply who we are; Trinidadians and Tobagonians surviving on these wonderful Caribbean Islands.
There are many who wish to portray us a divided people, a belligerent population who are willing to fight each other for survival. As they paint such a picture they feed into that belief by sowing seeds of division, segregation and discord.
To satisfy their selfish desire they continually take away the foundation of our simple way of life and like a drug dealer, they introduce many to fast, easy money, to reaping without sowing.
They offer grants, luxurious jobs, vehicles, flashing lights and inflated egos in exchange for the very soul of our nation.
We cannot let that continue. It is not who we are. There are no PNM murders or UNC murders; there is only the tragic loss of human lives that must stop.
There is no PNM incompetence and UNC incompetence. There is widespread incompetence that must not be allowed to fester.
As a simple people our demands are simple—running water, fire stations, ambulances, reliable health services, safe communities, good roads, a mass-transit system independent of the existing roadways, comfortable schools for our children and a nation that allows our senior citizens to live their ages of retirement with dignity.
An economy managed in a manner that utilises the natural resources of our land for the many and not the few.
We look forward to a nation that cares for the children who will become the caretakers of our land. That is not what we ask for; it is what we demand of our elected officials.
We will not ever accept the absolute nonsense about PNM killing and UNC thieving. We are a nation that still holds steadfastly and strong the values of our parents that of speaking our truth clearly, that of seeking forgiveness when we go wrong and that of loving each other.
That is who we are. We are citizens of Trinidad and Tobago and anyone who seeks to tell a different story about who we are is a stranger to the truth. We demand better because we are much better than many will have us believe.
God bless our nation.