“One of the aspects of dependency is that it is unconcerned with spiritual growth. Dependent people are interested in their own nourishment, but no more; they desire to be happy; they don’t desire to grow, nor are they willing to tolerate the unhappiness, the loneliness and the suffering involved in growth.” -Dr. M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Travelled.
What is a man of the caliber of Robert Le Hunte doing in the politics of the PNM, this most archaic institution and an obstacle to progress and the good life? Le Hunte, a distinguished banker with vast experience in the world of finance must answer the question: How can a man from such distinguished background belittle himself before the likes of Rowley and his minions?
Le Hunte’s request for $1.5 billion for the installation of meters for WASA’s customers is definitely an affront to the PNM which is eager to keep people in a perpetual state of dependency. One can only look at the response of the government to the COVID19 pandemic to appreciate the PNM long collusion with dependency.
In fact, the PNM is now getting a hold on the electorate by feeding them its staple of dependency. It supporters are now viewing the PNM as a party known for delivery of hampers. This dependency has now merged with the church which strives on a culture of handouts to exploit the misfortunes of the poor and less fortunate.
Dependency does not equip the receiver with the ability to develop his inner resources. Hard work, commitment, dedication, sacrifice etcetera, remain only words to parrot in sermons, never to put into action. These values are suppressed by the freebies, thus giving the individual a psyche of helplessness similar to that experienced by alcoholics and drug addicts.
Dependency is the number one social ill in the society, not COVID 19. Now given the challenges of COVID 19, we are witnessing the triumph of dependency. Giving away hampers is a happy past time of the generous in our society… a feel good experience to see people depending on you for their survival. It’s like the dependents have traded their faculties of self-reliance for hampers and hot meals.
When slavery ended in 1838 many ex-slaves were reluctant to leave the plantation. The shacks and the gift of two pairs of pants and a few shirts became too much to risk to venture out into a strange and unknown world. This fear and hesitance were perpetuated in colonial society and later exploited by the politicians, the new slave masters. Having a coterie of servants at one command can be very flattering! It is a culture that the PNM must cultivate to return to power because in a free-market political culture, the PNM would not stand a chance of forming government.
The GRAMEEN BANK – a bank for the poor- pioneered by Dr. Mohammad Unus in Bangladesh, is a self-help model that has been adopted around the world to empower the poor. With small loans at low interest rate, the GRAMEEN BANK has helped majority of poor women in Bangladesh and other parts of the world to become entrepreneurs—save money, take loans, invest and repay debt.
The success of the GRAMEEN BANK was adopted by the United Nations and is known globally. Regrettably, in Trinidad and Tobago it is unknown because the powers that be do not wish to make the poor self-reliant. I recall a church, the government and a bank collaborating to disperse loans to entrepreneurs at 14% interest rate in Trinidad and Tobago. Most of the beneficiaries of the program failed in their business ventures and were unable to repay their loans. The families and friends who acted as guarantors usually had their collateral liquidated by the bank. The question to answer is: Which entrepreneur in his mind would borrow capital at an interest rate of 14% except the poor and vulnerable?
RUMOURS have it that Le Hunte was tipped with the task to take the leadership of the PNM from Rowley. Others suspect that Le Hunte felt that Stuart Young, the Minister of National Security, should be fired by the Prime Minister for his misdemeanor in office. Given the ready acceptance of Le Hunte’s resignation reveals that there is more to see the light of day. Nevertheless, the political leadership of the PNM is inconsequential to me as I am more bothered with its programs and policies which hinges on a culture of dependency.
Trinidad and Tobago’s problem is a culture of laziness, dependency and splurging on free money and handouts. Dr. M. Scott Peck wrote: “One of the aspects of dependency is that it is unconcerned with spiritual growth. Dependent people are interested in their own nourishment, but no more; they desire to be happy; they don’t desire to grow, nor are they willing to tolerate the unhappiness, the loneliness and the suffering involved in growth.”
I am not at all saying that we should not reach out to those who are desperate in need. However, our aim should be to do everything to help them to rise up and stand on their own two feet; not to have them employed in URP and waving flags at political rallies.