Blog Post #14
What surprises me the most is that as we become poorer in Trinidad and Tobago, the wealthy become even more embolden and comfortable in expressing their disdain for the poor, i.e. the have-nots, and in flaunting their wealth. From finance minister Colm Imbert’s “They haven’t rioted yet” comment, to Sabga-Aboud’s “most powerful” comment, the rich among us seem to have done away with pretenses. As the educated seem to vote more and more with their feet, and leave, there’s a widening gap in the middle between rich and poor, and even more tension.
When conversations of civil unrest become easy to express in a country where an illegal fire-arm is as easy to find as the nearest gas station, it may simply be a countdown before the lid gives way to pressure.
I was in Trinidad and Tobago just a couple months ago. I spoke with friends, former colleagues, family members and others. The fact is that so many educated, smart, and intelligent men and women seem so eager to leave home. It’s almost as if they've given up. My plan was always to return home, but some people make it seem as if I've got out just in time.
I've been singing this tune for some time, and maybe even the name of this website may tell part of the story, but from a young age it became clear to me that in Trinidad and Tobago we almost live in two different worlds. Growing up with limited means in a country where wealth is very much present is like working in a five star restaurant in which you never get to eat. To quote Langston Hughes: “I’m the darker brother, they send me to eat in the kitchen when company comes…”
Nobody wants to advocate violence. No one wants to see our nation in any more blood-shed than that which already exists. But it was Patrick Henry who proclaimed: “Liberty or Death!” It was Franklin D. Roosevelt who said that: “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
In all honesty, how long did Dr. Rowley or a Kamla Persad-Bissessar think it would take before the wider population grew weary of eating dirt while they play golf and globe-trot like there’s no tomorrow. The professional class has failed Trinidad and Tobago. They've always sought their own interest, even though, to paraphrase the great Eric E. Williams, the future was placed in "their schoolbags". Those children are now grown, and they’re the ones leading us; they live well, they have multiple houses (in places like: here), apartments, cars, they even got Wendy's and McDonald's in their neighborhoods (and if you're from a hotspot like me, you know it ain't got no Wendy's or McDonald's where we're at!...just saying...) but the collective nation isn't doing well, in fact we’re on the brink.
Put it how you may, but our leaders live too well for the rest of us to be living so poor. Our leaders are too safe, for the rest of us to be so unsafe. If we suffer they must suffer, and if they prosper we must prosper. That’s leadership.
Miks....Trinidad & Tobago's son in South-Eastern Europe! 👊🏼 ✊🏼
Mikhail E.D. Byng was born in Trinidad. He is the author of Off the Island and a graduate student at the University of Belgrade. He speaks Serbian and English.
Trinbagonian. Traveler. Believer in God. Believer in Creation. Life long Student. Sports enthusiast.