BETTER THINGS: Leroy “Black Stalin” Calliste


A 2014 wish list

By Complied by Michelle Loubon

 Veteran calypsonian Leroy “Black Stalin” Calliste:

“I am spending it (New Year’s day) at home in San Fernando. For the last couple of years, I am going to stay with family and enjoy it with them. 2013 was a good year. I am looking forward to much better things. Try to open some minds instead of closing  them.”

St Augustine UWI Campus principal Prof Clement Sankat: 

 “I am looking forward to another great year for the campus. We have grown in several ways: new programmes and staffing.  I hope the funding for the university is not challenged. One needs funding to maintain capacity and maintain standards. I am hoping to see the Penal Campus occupied. It will be a major achievement for the South. The major challenge for the Caribbean university will be to find creative ways to fund the university to ensure it continues to create outstanding  leaders. 

We have to find a way among the financial challenges. It requires all of us to summon the courage and creativity to support the institution. As principal, I will love to see T&T in a debate that focuses on development and on parties putting forward their alternative proposals. We need to move from the politics of personalities  to the politics of development.”

Entrepreneur Lara Quentrall-Thomas:

“My main goal is to reinvest my energy in my country agency. I plan to travel to Helsinki, Finland, to visit my cousin and my baby boy.  I wish to see reform and action as far as child protection goes to empower the child protection agency. And I want to see less crime taking place. And for people to have better manners and to be courteous to each other. People should be more respectful to each other.”

Fr Clyde Harvey, parish priest for the Rosary St Martin’s RC Church/vicar for the clergy: 

“I was just talking to two young  black men. One is about to get married. And the other is considered a failure. Both of them could  consider themselves disadvantaged from their childhood, And that is only part of the challenge for 2014.  How do we find projects to help a whole number of young men find hope again rather than believing in the power of the guns?  It is about finding words for projects and inspiration which will help them find hope again beyond absolute reliance on the gun whether of metal or flesh. 

My life is not about me. Health is something you have and you thank God for it. It is a gift. Some of the finest people I know are incapacitated in one way or another.”

Former Port of Spain mayor Louis Lee Sing: 

“I am in the beautiful city of Madrid, Spain. And when I come to places like Madrid, I realise how much more we have to do to develop our spaces in the Caribbean.  If you see tourists and families. The cuisine in most of the restaurants are local treats like paella, pork knuckles and their version of oxtail or “bull tail.” You could get any tapa you want. And more so in Trinidad. We have the resources. But we do not have the will. I wish for T&T to become a paradise on earth. But then all the leaders wherever you are in a leadership position must be able to demand a better T&T. Demand a year that is just and righteous. 

Coordinator of Is There Not A Cause (ITNAC), Avonelle Hector-Joseph:

“We have been in St Lucia and St Vincent helping our Caricom neighbours after the Christmas Day rains.  We took water, clothes, food and toiletries. Government should support NGOs beyond lip service and give us the tools we need to help people. We need the support. I want to get pregnant in the New Year.”

Tobago East MP/Minister of State in the Ministry of the People and Social Development , Vernella Alleyne-Toppin

 “I wish I could be effective in reducing poverty in T&T. I want to work especially with women and girls to eradicate the violence. I want the special Child Protection Task Force to be effective. 

I want to serve my God and dedicate myself to serving the people of T&T. I want to meet people at the point of my need. I am going to L’Anse Fourmi to hand out wheelchairs.” 

Interim chairman of the National Trust, Dr Kumar Mahabir

I want to embark upon a programme of exercise. I want to do more research and more conference papers and to reconnect with distant families. I have cousins in Biche that I don’t know. I plan to socialise more because life is so short. 

I just dropped in to see a friend. And I realise I have to make the time to bond and connect with family and friends. If we don’t take the time to bond life will just end. And  the  things we wanted to do will not be accomplished if we don’t take the time from our busy schedule. For the Trust, we need to list more buildings so they won’t be damaged or destroyed. 

And we need to partner with private enterprise because the government can’t give the amount of funds we need. All  these buildings will take millions of dollars to restore.” 

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