Before August 31, 1962, we campaigned against British colonialism and imperialism. Citing lack of major infrastructural services, water, roads, lights, and educational facilities/opportunities. Today, 61 years later, the country has not much improved.
In the colonial days, water flowed through the Central Water Distribution Authority (CWDA) and we jumped for joy with fanfare that the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) would replace CWDA. Today, having a glass of water to take a Panadol is luxury, because either the tap is dry, or the water is muddy. And this is so, despite hundreds of billions of dollars are spent on WASA, and the more things look changed they remain the same.
WASA continues to dig our roads and build small dams on the national roadways only with the promise to improve water supply, but to no avail.
Our roads are ornamented with potholes as deep as a car, but we only get excuses from the Minister of Works and Transport, Rohan Sinanan, that better days are coming. We see massive roadworks for August 14 Local Government elections, but that enthusiasm has withered away, but would probably resurface for the 2025 General Election. Flood continues to cause havoc all over the country, despite protests, but nothing happens.
The Brasso Caparo Valley Road is inundated with potholes, landslides, broken bridges, no traffic signs, and the accompanying irritations, and no one seems to care. T&TEC, I must confess, has improved over its many moments of darkness. Services at government agencies continue to spiral down. TT Post is yet to deliver!
Trinidad and Tobago would probably be a better place with British rule, than it is today. There seems to be no hope for our country at 61 years old. Murders and home invasions are rampant, and we are yet to hear about tangible initiatives to stop crimes. The promises of the two international conferences to settle crime problems have gone to oblivion.
Dr Eric Williams, delivering the opening address at our Independence Conference at Marlborough House in London in May 1962 pontificated that at Independence our country will be so great that the bird of the air would come to lodge in Trinidad and Tobago. Today all the birds have flown away, and so our families are migrating for fear of crime, joblessness, and continuous social and moral decay.
Budgets after budgets, we hear of an upswing in the economy; instead, we get taxes and more taxes, property tax, and a network of issues that confront the country, with an improved budget is no way in sight. For how long the politicians would keep the dagger at our throats, promising better days are coming. Food prices continue to escalate with no sign of a decrease.
Trinidad and Tobago is no longer the land of the Humming Bird; it is now the land of the hungry bird.
As a student at college in August 1962, I was asked to address my classmates on the real meaning of Independence, and I told the hushed assembly that we have to make a serious and decisive approach to make our Independence Constitution work for all generations to come, and I quoted from the political thoughts of India’s leader, Mahatma Gandhi, that Independence means continuous struggle. Today India has become the fourth country in the world to touch the moon’s surface, and we in Trinidad and Tobago can hardly get a bus from Chaguanas to Caparo. The words of the then US President John Kennedy to the American people that giving to America is a noted service to regenerate America. I also referred to the words of our first Prime Minister Dr Eric Williams and first Leader of the Opposition Dr. Rudranath Capildeo on the tasks of nation-building and national development.
Some 61 years, we seem to forget these messages. And the nation-state of Trinidad and Tobago continues to grind to a halt.
Do we have leaders in our land to save our country from the impending. Doomsday. Let us not forget: It is quite within our grasp. Let us rethink our schedule for the future.