So much has changed for the worse
A snapshot of T&T 50 years ago would show creative Carnival costumes, an efficient mass transit system, on time buses, an effective local government system, sub- offices for water distribution and repairs of mains, sanitary inspectors who diligently ensured drains were not clogged and cesspits were kept clean.
Fifty years ago the Red House was immaculate and the Magnificent Seven buildings around the Savannah well maintained.
Systems were in place to ensure that trees were not hewn indiscriminately, animals were not hunted outside the hunting season, almost every farmer who requested a firearm was granted a permit and police were on patrol day and night. Every vehicle was licensed, including bull carts and bicycles. There were large productive plantations of sugar cane, rice, cocoa, coffee, bananas, citrus and coconuts.
Most importantly, however, was the respect we had for each other. Families shared what they had with each other and citizens respected those in authority. Citizens of today would stand in awe if they were to see the immaculately kept Mahaica Oval in Point Fortin protected by well-manicured bamboo fences overlooking one of the largest drive-in cinemas in the Caribbean, the perfectly manicured Botanical Gardens and the public squares like Lord Harris and Woodford Square.
Some say that the past always seems better, but no one would like to return to outhouses, wooden houses and donkey carts. Certainly we have improved on a number of things but sadly we have regressed on so many fundamentals that one wonders whether independence was a blessing or a curse.
What happened to the water distribution centres that ensured that lines were maintained on a daily basis? When did we stop the visits by health officers to the homes to do blood testing of children? Where have the mobile dental units that visited the schools disappeared to? What has happened to our agricultural sector?
Fifty years later many of our youths are wearing expensive clothing that lower rather than raise their social outlook.
We are about to celebrate 50 years of independence and we have a lot to be happy about. Many of our citizens have made us proud internationally, we have shown the world that we can change government peacefully and go about our business oblivious of the detractors that are intent on disrespecting our public officials, and ignoring those who intends to divide us along racial or political lines.
Our foundation was there to build upon but instead of improving on what we inherited we revelled in our newly acquired independence as if to say "it's our time now" to reap the harvest without planting or preparing the land for better or future harvests.
As we celebrate 50 years of independence and we take time to reflect on where we may have gone wrong, let's make every effort to make the next 50 years better for the generations that are destined to inherit this land.