28 Oct 2018

The difference is clear

Image result for singaporeI am tired of all the whinging excuses made by those in authority… From Prime Minister to local government councillors, from CEOs to the lowest managers, everyone seems to be passing the buck. Administration after administration on the governmental level have heaped upon our heads, excuses upon excuses for failure to deliver. Take for example, the abysmal and annually repeated flooding…

This could have been fixed decades ago. But no administration wanted to be the heavy hand that smites discipline, that attempts to change the culture of apathy, “gimme gimme”, feting and carnival mentality, and just plain laziness.

A simple comparison: another island/city state achieved independence from the British Raj in a few years after Trinidad and Tobago. This state lies a mere 1° north of the equator – so it is similar in climate to Trinidad and Tobago. It is 1/7 the size of Trinidad and Tobago, lacking the natural resources that Trinidad and Tobago has in abundance.

Within one generation, roughly 30 years, this state became a first world sovereign nation. Not only that, it is the only country in Asia and one of 11 worldwide with a ‘AAA’ rating. It is a global hub for education, entertainment, finance, healthcare, human capital, innovation, logistics, manufacturing, technology, tourism, trade, and transport. It ranks highly in numerous international rankings, and has been recognized as the most "technology-ready" nation (WEF), top International-meetings city (UIA), city with "best investment potential" (BERI), world's smartest city, world's safest country, third-most competitive country, third-largest foreign exchange market, third-largest financial centre, third-largest oil refining and trading centre, fifth-most innovative country, and the second-busiest container port, and the most expensive city to live in, since 2013. [Wikipedia]

The place I describe is none other than Singapore.

The difference is of course due to leadership with vision, determination, and the political will to get things done. Coupled with enforcement of the law, Singapore far outstrips Trinidad and Tobago, which lags so far behind that one cannot even make a comparison.

Perhaps in another 200 years…

17 Sep 2018

The fall of it all

5b9db30438973.imageMarket Facts and Opinions (MFO) carried out a survey in which 83% of respondents said that same-sex relationships in Trinidad and Tobago should not be legal. I have bad news for those people…

You’ll be dragged by the scruff of the neck, kicking and screaming in protest, into the 21st century. The tide is already against you, as is the Constitution of Trinidad and Tobago (“the Constitution”).

Let me begin with the Constitution; Chapter 1, section 4 in particular, where the rights of citizens are given voice:

“It is hereby recognised and declared that in Trinidad and Tobago there have existed and shall continue to exist, without discrimination by reason of race, origin, colour, religion or sex, the following fundamental human rights and freedoms, namely:

(a) the right of the individual to life, liberty, security of the person and enjoyment of property and the right not to be deprived thereof except by due process of law;

(b) the right of the individual to equality before the law and the protection of the law;

(c) the right of the individual to respect for his private and family life;

(d) the right of the individual to equality of treatment from any public authority in the exercise of any functions;

(e) the right to join political parties and to express political views;

(f) the right of a parent or guardian to provide a school of his own choice for the education of his child or ward;

(g) freedom of movement;

(h) freedom of conscience and religious belief and observance;

(i) freedom of thought and expression;

(j) freedom of association and assembly; and

(k) freedom of the press.”

Clearly, the Sexual Offences Act is incompatible with the rights at b, c and d. So is the Equal Opportunity Act 2000 where on page 8 it defines ‘sex’ as not including sexual orientation.

imageParagraph 144 of Justice Rampersad’s judgment in Jones v AG of Trinidad and Tobago and others (2018) quotes extensive case law where discrimination of homosexuality was found to be incompatible with modern human rights in democratic societies.

My take on this is that the human rights aspect will be given the importance it demands and any incompatibility with other parts of the Constitution and/or statutes (Acts of Parliament) will result in amendments to preserve the human rights aspect, since the fundamental rights are protected within the Constitution.

14 Sep 2018

Thought for the day

Justice and truth are the common ties of society; and therefore even outlaws and robbers, who break with all the world besides, must keep faith and rules of equity amongst themselves; or else they cannot hold together.

(Locke 1690, I.ii.2.)

9 Sep 2018

I’m making enemies again

Trinis jokey too bad, oui. Lemme explain.

I saw a post my cousin put on FaceBook, about people going to the cricket (Caribbean Premier League or something – I am not a cricket fan – referred to as CPL), and paying touts to park in private property, the fenced yards of people living in the area. Some of the touts were so brazen, they cut the locks off the gates, put people to park there and charged them.

Of course, the owners called the police wreckers, especially when they realised they can’t get sleep because people coming back late hours AFTER the match to get their vehicles. The wreckers tow the vehicles and the owners have to pay TT$500 to get a vehicle back from impound.

From my point of view, I like the idea of them paying twice over for stupidity like that. Maybe it’s the sadist in me, but people learn through pain too, not only reward. So, after being hit in the pocket twice, and inconvenience of losing time having to make their way to the impound lot outside the city… well, I mentioned I have no sympathy for them. If you can’t see you’re parking in private property or in front of private property, you deserve that shit that comes your way.

Now, apparently my cousin’s husband was one of those who was caught in this. I didn’t intend to insult him, but he fell into the bracket of dotish people.

My cousin took offence, yammering on about how I don’t know her husband… blah, blah, blah. So, because he is your husband, he can’t be dotish? I tell you, some people eh.

But further, my cousin has resorted to the cheapest of all tricks, ad hominem attacks on me… calling me a conman who is in hiding in the UK. Not the first time I’ve heard such rumours, though oddly enough, the same cousin met me several times when I went back to Trinidad on holidays. And was nice to me.

Now, if I am a conman, she has my address to give to the police. Let’s see what the future unfolds. Open-mouthed smile

In the meantime, I have even less sympathy for her husband.

29 Aug 2018

A chilling tale, or a lesson to us?

With the forthcoming demise of Petrotrin, this story becomes yet again, quite profound.

Hinduism as a religion is old. Very old. From long eras past, lessons have been taught to each successive generation via stories. I came across one such story recently I would like to share; you may see the point after reading. It is a bit long, but if you read, I trust you see the light.

Somadev, a great hermit, lived in a forest that spread along the borders of two kingdoms. Dhanadutta and Dhiradutta were the kings of the two neighbouring lands. Although the two kings competed with each other on many things, their reverence for Somadev was equal. Whenever they faced any problem, they met the hermit, who never failed to give them the right solution.

Generally, the kings met the hermit individually. There was never an occasion for both the kings to go to him together. The hermit had equal affection for both. In fact, it was because of the hermit that the two kings were on friendly terms.

One day, the two kings met in the forest while hunting. Leaving their entourage behind, both went to meet the hermit to pay him their obeisance. The hermit was pleased to see them.

He said, "It is very good that you came. I am about to go into a trance, and for five long years I shall remain in that state. You will not have the benefit of my advice. However, here are two small caskets. Each of you can take one home. If you face a crisis which proves too strong for you, then open the casket. The solution will come out of it. But make sure that before opening the casket you have tried all other means of solving the crisis. If you misuse the casket, I will take it back from you when I come out of my trance".

The kings received the caskets with gratitude and returned to their palaces. Soon a severe drought befell both the kingdoms. Crops failed. The people grew panicky.

King Dhanadutta opened the casket given to him. A million gold coins spilled out of it. The king spent the wealth in buying foodstuff from distant lands for his subjects. Thus the drought, which could have resulted in a devastating famine, did not cause much hardship to his people.

But Dhiradutta, instead of opening the casket, mobilised all his resources, dug wells and canals, and encouraged the people to grow new crops. He did not allow a morsel of food to go out of his kingdom. The people had to experience hardship, but the crisis passed when the next monsoon came, and all were happy.

Dhanadutta now desired to launch new projects in his land so that his people would grow more prosperous than Dhiradutta's subjects. He wished to know how to proceed in the matter, and so he opened his casket again. This time there was a line of writing inside the casket. It read: "Wait and see".

Next day, a stranger met Dhanadutta and said, "I have invented a device by which I can tell if there are precious minerals in your kingdom hidden under the earth. I can help you locate them on one condition: I shall own half of whatever is discovered".

Dhanadutta found in it an easy way to prosperity. He utilised the services of the stranger and found large deposits of minerals.

A few days later, the stranger met Dhiradutta and put forth the same proposal. But Dhiradutta was not willing to accept his condition.

Five years passed. The hermit woke up from his trance and paid a visit to the two kingdoms. He saw the subjects of Dhanadutta prosperous and happy. But Dhiradutta's subjects, though not unhappy, were working hard for their prosperity.

The hermit asked both the kings to meet him with the caskets. He let them tell what they had done with the caskets. Dhiradutta said he had not used the casket at all. Dhanadutta narrated how he had used it twice and stated, "The result is obvious. My subjects are happy". But to Dhanadutta's surprise, the hermit asked him to return the casket while he allowed Dhiradutta to keep his.

"Tell me, why did the hermit take back the casket from one who had made proper use of it?

"Dhanadutta did not make proper use of the casket. He made no other effort to get over the crisis before opening the casket. He provided food for his subjects, but that he did at the cost of their own zeal to try solving the problem. Thereby he made them lazy.

Without any thought he allowed the stranger to own half of the minerals of his land. Thereby he deprived the future generations of the land's wealth.

Dhiradutta, on the other hand, was confident that the casket will go to his rescue if his own efforts failed. He made best use of the casket by not using it! That is to say, the confidence he got from the mere possession of the casket was his strength. He did not sell away any part of his land's minerals for immediate benefit. Hence, he deserved to keep the casket".

Do you see my point?