A nation and a people mentally and physically abused
There is something called a breaking point. It holds for a person, a community and as well a nation. There comes a time when a person or a group of persons, a nation cannot take it anymore.
When they possess the ability to fight back they do so with strength and passion. When they cannot fight back because the abuser is feared they suffer mentally and physically. Abuse first results in mental fatigue which when sustained results in physical ailments and eventually death. A nation can also face entropy.
The nation of Trinidad and Tobago is suffering from abuse by the current government. Fearful of opposing the PNM the people are cowering and avoiding protesting as they would want to. Being a people who respect democracy they are coping with the torment though painfully so, waiting for their opportunity to strike back.
The manifestation of national abuse is seen in the low level of participation in open national Discourse, in low levels of productivity, in rampant alcohol and drug abuse, the statistics tell the story, and in an explosion in the amount of social media posts through the use of which media people feel seemingly safe.
When the PP/UNC was in office the streets were filled with the sound of shoes and the rant of voices in protest. People were not afraid then to openly demonstrate but under the PNM, with greater issues of economic stagnation, rampant crime and over 500 murders, insecurity being experienced by persons and nation, the protests are few. With job losses increasing, government schools underperforming, poverty levels growing, a middle class being impoverished, yet the people are taking it.
The abuse is deep though the nation is wounded. Side shows are used for national Deflection from the major issues. It is more important to pass a bill which decriminalizes marijuana and allows addicts recreational or otherwise as adults to grow four plants per person in their homes. This is more important than addressing the national social Decay which is creating a stench far and wide. The abuse is so deep that the stench is not even smelt and we as a people continue to walk through the filth and even take the filth and stench into our homes. We live with the filth and the stench.
We are a fatigued people, tired and wanting to Exhale to once more be free. You oppose the proper tax. No problem. We will find a way to ensure you cannot deposit your savings kept in hundred dollar bills. The mechanic,the hairdresser, the parlor, the seamstress, they are all being abused. The culture of hard work and thrift is being abused. For fear of prosecution and persecution the abuse is tolerated.
The intelligence of a people is also being abused by political spinning that keeps repeating the mantra, “we are here where we are because of Kamla and the UNC”. There is no taking of responsibility, the kind that goes with being in government. There are excuses for every failure every misstep.
Abuse is leading to an angry society and a short tempered one at that. People are busy going nowhere. They are waiting to exhale. The government seems to be unaware of the National Sentiment. Has anything changed since the times when Dr Eric Williams declared “who doh like it could get to hell outa here.” Well apart from the brain drain that continues the oil companies are choosing to build their platforms elsewhere. Their actions are not a poor example of corporate social responsibility. It is a reaction to poor customer service. If you want business you have to be customer centrc.
This nation is wounded. This nation requires a sociologist political governance leadership intervention to restore it to good health. But who cares. We have over 30 H1N1 deaths and 3000 plus cases of influenza but this is not a crisis. Instead we debate “prep” and AIDS. What a distracted society. The government shields its incompetence by focusing on the periphery the bacchanal and the people forget their pains and wounds and enjoy the “staged show .” In 1996 I was teaching a program entitled Change Management – The art of renewal. At the end of the seminar which lasted three days a middle aged female public service manager asked me a question. Simple yet important. How long does it take to change. My answer was swift and short. As long as you want it to take.
But the reality is there in the words of Sparrow sung 38 years ago, “We like it So.” Or will it be the alleged words of a renowned political leader “wake me up when it’s over!.
Merry Christmas everyone. God bless our nation.
By Surujrattan Rambachan