Where is our nation headed?
I am a product of World War II, having been born in the dying stages of the war. I am also a child of colonialism, having grown up and been educated in a colonial environment. Because of these two significant facts, I am today the person that I am.
Yes! My values are well grounded in the philosophical perspectives of the training I received from my parents’ home, the school curricula to which I have been exposed and the influence of the world, societal and community environment which impacted me during my early life. In a way, it can be said I am Independence Man. I graduated from secondary school in 1962.
You may be wondering about what point I am trying to make. To my mind, it is simple. Because of my background, I was able to read widely and, as a result, was exposed to every imaginable character the human race could have produced. Further, I was able to travel to all corners of the world simply by reading. The end result is that I have developed sound perceptions on treating people humanely, empathising with people, life, ethics, governance, patriotism and national development.
Over the years—especially since our oil boom—life in Trinidad and Tobago started to change from “all of we is one” to “me first”. Every citizen started thinking that life was about material possessions and getting rich by any means necessary. Then came along 1990, when all hell broke loose. Lawlessness emerged and law and order went through the front door.
Today, the child who has been born after 1990 and who is confronted by our new way of life and the turbulence of today’s world order finds it difficult not to want to embrace greed, material things, lawlessness and getting ahead of his peers and fellow competitors.
Wherever he turns he sees “may-the-best-man-win philosophy” trampled by the adults around him. Indeed, the very institutions of the nation are so structured as to lead him astray. Gone are the days when the teacher was the icon in the village, the priest, imam or pundit the wise man of the community, and the policeman the peace maker to families.
Sunday school was a place for Christian children to be taught honesty and morality and not a place for adults to go to party, as it is now in Buccoo Point, Tobago.
My fellow citizens, we have just celebrated Independence and Republic Day. Where is our nation headed?
My experience has taught me great nations never live from day to day. Their people are always concerned about the future. Indeed, they plan years ahead for the development of their economies and societies. In fact, their governments operate as if they are running in a relay, by passing the baton of development from government to government.
They seldom demolish a good plan by the government from which they take over power. Yes! They always are concerned about the legacy they leave behind for future generations.
As we look ahead to next year’s Independence and Republic Day celebrations, I urge all: can we start thinking of Trinidad and Tobago’s legacy?
Raymond S Hackett