15 Oct 2008

The mind of a Third World country

Fifty years later, things still the same

It seems that colonialist attitudes are well and alive in our country. When I saw that the Government is going to spend our money on limousines, I said, “here we go again, trying to impress foreigners with first world mindsets.”

But the announcement that there is going to be a facelift of the route from Piarco into Port-of-Spain brought back memories from childhood of whenever a member of the British Royal Family visited our shores.

I remember how we constructed huge billboards along the Beetham to hide the shanty town north of the highway rather than address the plight of the squatters living there. I remember the hastily repainted facades of buildings, never mind the insides were sorely in need of repair.

But what brought a smile to my face was the memory of a visit by Princess Alice to my hometown of San Fernando.

The streets along which she was to be driven were paved. No problem. We want our guests to be comfortable. But instead of paving the entire surface, somebody had the brilliant idea to lay a thick coat of asphalt in the middle third of the roads. After all, her car would only be using that part.

So for months after, San Fernandians were driving on split-level roads, the driver’s side distinctly higher than the passenger side.

And here we are some 50 years later, the Government still trying to impress and avoiding solving the problems of our people—our farmers, our poor, our homeless, our illiterate, our physically and mentally challenged, our sick.

The more things change, the more they remain the same.

Jeanette Williams


Dangerous mindset destroying society

As I write this letter a friend lies in a hospital bed in pain, sick with dengue fever. The laboratory tests confirm this.

The relevant authorities were called and asked to spray the area where he lives. Their reply: produce medical documentation proving the dengue case or they will not spray.

This dangerous mindset is spreading and assimilating, unchecked and uncorrected. The result of this alogical thinking with time as the architect? The slow decomposing of our society.

Victoria Trestrail

Via e-mail