We have betrayed our watchwords
On the 50th anniversary of the Independence of Trinidad and Tobago, I thought that it would be good to look at our successes with regard to the aims and objectives set by our leaders in 1962.
At the Independence youth rally in the Queen's Park Oval, on August 30, 1962, Dr Eric Williams proclaimed that the watchwords of Trinidad and Tobago were to be "Discipline, Production and Tolerance".
Dr Williams further explained that:
a. Discipline is both individual and national; the individual cannot be allowed to seek his personal interests and gratify his personal ambition at the expense of our nation.
b. Production means we must produce in order to enjoy. Wealth does not drop from the skies for any individual or any nation.
c. Tolerance is meant "to translate the ideal of our National Anthem into a code of everyday behaviour, and to make our nation one in which 'every creed and race find an equal place'". Let us review these three ideals.
After 50 years, Trinidad and Tobago is a greedy, corrupt, "gimme" society. From the top, whose main objective is enhancing their wealth, by whatever means, to the bottom who still maintain the "rum and roti" politics mentality, and where political parties are voted into power, not based on performance, ethics, or other meaningful contributions, but rather on what "freeness" is being promised. – we have most definitely failed in the "Discipline" department.
Let us look at the public service, where what was a once proud sector now treats citizens as if they are doing them a favour in delivering the services that they are being paid for. Look at the unions. Their main objective seems to be political. They reject the notion that hikes in wages must be offset by increases in production, and where the objective of a large section of society is to get a CEPEP or government job, or better yet be on a "Ghost" gang. "Production" also gets an "F".
"Tolerance" is a double-edged sword. Under the Eric Williams definition, it meant that "every creed and race find an equal place", and therefore racial harmony. Well sorry, but the politicians have ruined that with their divide and rule and tribal politics.
Trinidad and Tobago is the only country in the world populated by "Africans", "Indians", "Syrians","French Creoles" etc. etc. Unfortunately we have very few Trinbagonians living here.
As a nation, we are extremely tolerant. We are tolerant of poor service everywhere, we are tolerant of ill mannered taxi and PH drivers, we are tolerant in accepting corruption as a norm, and we are tolerant of the crime statistics. Unfortunately, this list is far too long to detail completely. So I will have to give "Tolerance" an "F" as well, as we are all tolerant in the wrong areas.
So folks, 50 years down the road, we have failed the "Watchwords" miserably !