Our Government has no Back Bone

By A. Reid
South Trinidad

Patrick Manning and Basdeo PandayMuch attention has been placed on the alleged remarks made by Mr. Larry Achong at the Chatham Youth Centre two Thursdays ago. What the public should realize is that the dogmatic approach of the Member of Parliament has emanated from the head of governance and transcends the smelter issue. It is the view that the honourable Prime Minister believes that he holds the ability to manipulate the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago in whichever ad hoc direction he feels. The Hon. Eric Williams held a unique position in our nation’s history as our first prime minister. The political arena was fairly virgin territory and he was able to invoke in nationals a deep sense of commitment and loyalty to him and his party. However, the Hon. Patrick Manning has not done anything that would cause nationals to senselessly and blindly follow him in any direction he chooses. We live in a time when more people are being educated and are able to make viable contributions towards the nation’s development. There is neither room nor any need for a dictator here, nor is there room for one who seeks to make mockery of the tenets of democracy.

This leads me to the plight of the residents of Chatham on what is and can only be described as a national issue. While those residents have been more vociferous than others, we in sweet Trinidad and Tobago should realize that these proposed smelter plants would affect us all. Maybe what we need to do is take it home, and not believe that because Chatham is an area some of us have never visited, that we are far removed from it. How would you like to be forced to change location after living in your home for years, after having your family history tied there with numerous cherished memories? Additionally, have we really thought about the farmers and fishermen of the area who after decades of perfecting these skills and passing on their knowledge to younger generations are now forced to learn a new skill for survival? These are just two of many social issues, but is the government of the day concerned with the negative social effects?

No government of our twin island Republic has had a good track record regarding preservation of our environment and proper management of our limited resources. We have always been contented with taking rather than replenishing; spending rather than properly investing; using rather than saving. Such mismanagement signals our lack of appreciation and ownership of this land of our birth. It is not surprising then how easily our government is willing to sell and dispense of what is ours for a few dollars. Power states and large conglomerates dangle the promise of money in our faces and as spineless worms we accept.

Basic economics teaches us to allocate our scarce resources towards the achievement of our unlimited needs. But the government is not even meeting some of our basic needs. Health care is one contentious issue plaguing our society, why does the government want to introduce yet another mechanism that can add to the already adverse situation? It has been reported that workers from smelter plants are at high risk from lung injuries due to exposure to quartz sand, clay, resin, loams, airborne metals and other substances. There are fears that the smelters will create electromagnetic fields (EMFs). EMF from direct current causes cancer; other harmful emissions from aluminium smelters are clearly dangerous.

Studies in Australia found that hydrogen fluoride, inspirable dust, and sulphur dioxide from aluminium smelters caused respiratory problems such as asthma, wheezing, and chest tightness in workers. A 30-year study by the University of Calgari found in 2004 that aluminium smelter workers in Sardinia, Italy, exposed to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons were between 2.4 and 5 times more likely to die of pancreatic cancer. In Norway, the Department of Horticulture and Crop Sciences studied three aluminium smelters and concluded that even low emissions of fluoride caused serious damage to nearby vegetation. The question is why take such risks with people’s health?

To date, there hasn’t been an independent non-politically affiliated body which possessed the will and resolution to investigate the true effects that current industrial sites have had on their surrounding environment. The south – western coast is always in a state of permanent sunset, as a result of the massive flare burning in Point Fortin. Which environmental authority manages that? We play Mickey-mouse games with laws and acts in this country, as they are never adhered to and executed. Who is to say that after agreements have been signed that any of these companies, Alcoa, Alutrint or Mitsubishi, will maintain accepted industrial standards? Who is going to oversee that emissions are disposed of in the standard manner? What about the toxic solid waste; spent potlining (SPL)? Where is that going to be disposed of? There are more questions than there are answers.

It is believed that when one values his land, he takes pride in it, he guards it with his life, and no amount of money, not even US$1.5billion would cause him to give it up. We expect that those we have entrusted with the responsibility of safeguarding our legacy, our birthright will do so vehemently and passionately. We expect them to stand up against any super-power, because they posses a firm back bone. If this is not the case, then we have the wrong group of people as our leaders. Sweet Trinidad and Tobago does not need the Smelters, they need us. Where is our resolve?

4 Responses to “Our Government has no Back Bone”


  • The Gov’t, really has no Backbone, they’re planning, to put down Plant here, and Plant there, Smelter here, and Steel there, and doesn’t have the Insight, to put the nation to work, by DEVELOPING every COUNTY. In this day and age People still using OUT HOUSES (CLOSET), when their should be, Water Reservoirs, in every County, Electrical Power Plants, in every County, so the entire Population, will have the basic needs, for advancement towards Social Living. The Politicians of T&T, and this includes, the PNM, the UNC, the NAR, and last but not least the COP, none; has the People interest at Heart; These Politicians, prefer to have, Natural Gas burn in Flares, at the Various Plants, and have a CONGLOMERATE, drive his Trucks, around the Country, selling Bottled Gas, rather than have, Gas connected to Peoples Home; a Country, that is surrounded by Water, should never have Water Problems. These People Really has no BACKBONE, their INTENTION, is to have the RICH, get RICHER; and keep the POOR, in the GUTTER. Imagine; with all the money the Country has, WATER IS LOCKING OFF in the CITY, ROADS very,very BAD, even though, we have what it takes, to have, almost Perfect Roadways; Instead of having, these CORRUPT CONTRACTORS, REPAIR our roads, get Foreign bids, so the People can get the Best, from their TAX DOLLARS. Look at the amount of Vehicles, on these NARROWASS ROADS, Stop the ROLL ON, ROLL OFF, AUTOMATIC SHIT, with the CAPITALIST; (THE POLITICIANS FRIEND) and bring back, Cars with MANUAL GEARSHIFT, so a DRIVER, will really learn to Drive, rather than just learning, to MASH, and STEER, killing themselves. Our Country, was of BRITISH HERITAGE; so People like RAMESH MAHARAJ, should be JAILED, for helping to change our SOCIETY, to the likes of AMERICAN CULTURE, with his HUMAN RIGHTS SH..; In my book, that I’m Writing, I will explain, how HUMAN RIGHTS, brought along LAWLESSNESS; and opened a way, for the INDIANS, whose body framework, was WEAKEST, of all the ETHNIC GROUPS, in T&T at that time, to WHEEL and DEAL in CORRUPT PRACTICES; the reason Today, our Country has gone to the Cleaners, and pretty soon, we will be another GUYANA, JAMAICA,or even HAITI, all because of DUMB LEADERS, that came after, THE TWO BEST THIS COUNTRY EVER HAD SEEN, NAMELY; ERIC WILLIAMS and GEORGE (DUNCEE) CHAMBERS.

  • Clone, you writing a book? From you comment, you do not appear capable of writing a complete sentence. Punctuation appears to be something you randomly use to fill the gaps while considering your next thought.

    The only thing I can agree with in your comment is that Trinidad is in trouble. But don’t blame the politicians for all society’s woes. Ignorant people like you spouting inaccurate crap and those even more stupid to follow you are contributing to the deterioration of T&T.

  • Yes Riaz Ali, I was Expecting, someone like you, to reply to my COMMENT, but calling me IGNORANT, shows plainly how ILLITERATE you are. I can bet, you only heard of URIAH BUTLER; the only URIAH BUTLER, you ever saw, is the Highway you are killing yourselves on; and from what I gather, from you tone of speech is, you knows nothing, about our History, and where we came from, but you’re in support of helping, to keep our poor Citizens down. Don’t be upset, for my Mentioning of your People CORRUPT PRACTICES, and personally, I believe you have fallen into that category, but the Evidence is there, check it out Your PM(PANDAY), your CJ(he fighting in Privy Council), ISH, and I can go, on and on, but trust me, you also, will be in my book, as an uneducated TRINI; and I, won’t use the word IGNORANT, to describe “U”

  • Look Clown, you are obviously an uneducated racist as evident by you use of the term “your people”. You train of thought is confounding. That’s all I will say because I don’t argue with fools since in order to do so I have to stoop to their level and then I will always loose because of my lack of experience.

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