Youths must resist the Parasitic Oligarchy setting their Social Agenda
Meena sells doubles at Cunupia. “Business is slow. It is so hard since this government come to power,” Meena complained.
Meena has three children and her husband is ailing. Her eldest daughter is at home. “Kavita have to stop school to care for she father,” said Meena. The other two are boys. Ramesh is in Standard three and Ravi is writing the SEA.
Meena’s husband, Samaroo, suffered a stroke and is unable to work. He walks with a stick and someone has to be at hand to help. Samaroo was employed in a chicken farm and had developed the habit of drinking alcohol. “His priority was always friends, lime and cook,” Meena lamented. Samaroo would go for days drinking with friends and forget about his family.
“How did you live,” I enquired.
“My father and mother always reach out to me and the children,” she said. “Now they are dead. I have no one except my three children and a sick husband.”
Meena is only thirty-three years old. She married Samaroo when she was 16. “I did not finish school,” she said. “Samaroo was my neighbour and we would be talking to each other. My grandmother complained to my father and so we get married.”
This is a typical story of families in distress in Trinidad. Meena did not have a sound education. Her husband was a farm labourer but failed to build from that opportunity. He did not face the challenges of life like a real man but escaped into binge drinking with friends. Now he is a burden to his wife and children-useless.
Binge drinking is a favourite past time of many. Low and middle income earners frequent bars drinking alcohol and pretending that all is well when in reality it is not. The alcohol is a mask for them to escape from a society with limited opportunities and dominated by a parasitic oligarchy and a backward political leadership.
Many seek refuge in the Pentecostal Church instead of facing their problems. Meena decided that she is not quitting her Hindu faith. In desperation, her husband has joined the Church hoping for a miracle. “My children and me going to remain Hindu,” he said.
Escaping the challenges of living many resort to disguises. For example, young mothers would name their children after a favourite character in a television show instead of consulting with a pandit for an appropriate Hindu name. Many reason that the passport to upward social mobility is in your name rather than a good education.
Colouring of hair and wearing revealing clothing are other ways to escape social reality. Many lower middle and middle class families escape social reality by upgrading their vehicles and engaging in idle ‘car talk.’
Our middle class must be praised for the sacrifices they make to pay mortgages and send their children through tertiary education. Nonetheless, I still believe that we can make more sacrifices such as eating home-cooked meals to accumulate money to invest in shares in companies. We need to build capital to earn small businesses. Therein lies our salvation! The story is told that money earned by a Jew in the United States passes through seventeen Jewish hands whereas money earned by an African does not pass through other African hands.
Meena’s husband Samaroo did not have the benefits of a secondary and tertiary education. He was a farm labourer with a low income and ill- equipped to meet the hardships of life. Are our young graduates and professionals equipped to meet the challenges of life? This is a question our elders and leaders must ponder upon for an answer. The future of the community is in the hands of the youth and they must accept that responsibility and not escape into a culture of binge drinking and free sex. Our youth must resist the parasitic oligarchy setting their social agenda and strive with vigour and determination to take charge of their affairs.