Suggestions for Building Our Nation

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar with Govt Ministers
PM Kamla Persad-Bissessar with Govt Ministers
THE EDITOR: Madam Prime Minister,

Congratulations to you and your team of patriots who came together and offered this blessed country of ours an alternative.

The task ahead is so tedious and complex that, it is only with faith in the creator and the cooperation of the people, that the necessary changes can be successfully attempted. But as we all know, where there is a will, there is a way.

Permit me to make some simple suggestions and recommendations as we go about the business of building and reconstructing our nation.

Firstly, it must be clearly understood that the peoples of this culturally-diverse country called Trinidad and Tobago, would never settle under politicians trying to rule or govern them. What this country needs are honest administrators who understand and respect the value of the people’s trust. Administrators who would cherish and appreciate the opportunity given to them by the people to serve; who are fully conscious of the fact that their service is well compensated by the citizenry, through their tax dollars. Politicians who would remain focused on the people’s business and not be easily distracted by the trimmings of office. Politicians who would not try to convince the citizenry that they can solve all the problems without ever knowing what these problems are and only realizing when it is too late, how far divorced they are from the people.

Madam Prime Minister, again, congratulations to you on a great start. On the ground and running is the only way to know the people’s problems and together work out solutions.

In our quest to reconstruct the social fabric of our country so that together we can build a great nation, your regime must encourage strong and vibrant community and village councils that would enhance healthy local government bodies.

The most destabilizing factors stalking our once beautiful paradise Twin Island state are CRIME – JUVENILE DELIQUENCY – and LAWLESSNESS. I would offer no reason for, or solution to remedy this situation at the upper level of society. But at the lower level, it is definitely a case of NEGLECT, and the solution is ATTENTION.

The tragedy playing out in Tivoli Gardens, Jamaica, is a straight case of GOVERNMENTAL NEGLECT, the seeds of which are already planted in our own land. The more the Government continues to neglect the people of our depressed communities, the greater the potential of the GODFATHERS to mushroom and flourish. But, if genuine attempts are made to work with the people at finding solutions for their problems, these conditions will be reduced significantly.

Harsher laws, stiffer penalties and bigger guns, will never solve the problems of these depressed communities. There must be an all out offensive on the blight of illiteracy that exists in our society, if we are to win this war on poverty and move to any level of stability and prosperity. Remember knowledge is power, and brute force can only bring resistance.

As you may be aware, most of the youths who are drop-outs from the school system are from the depressed areas of our society. Left alone, they would naturally gravitate towards a life of crime. Why? As the Mighty Shadow sang in his calypso some years back, “Survival business, is ah serious business.” But, many of these youths are also very talented and skillful. Where are the opportunities to develop and express these natural God-given talents and skills? The development of the Arts and Crafts, Drama and Music and Sports could be a way out of their present situations. But, coming from a background of poverty that contributes to low self-esteem, they need to be met more than half the way and encouraged. Ignore them at our own peril!

It is time for the powers that be to focus their attention on the cultural development of the people, adding attractive incentives, so that the youths can gravitate towards a more meaningful and productive life, away from crime. This is where the average school drop-outs may find stimulus for the mind, and may also be motivated to pursue academics or some constructive form of endeavor.

Outside of the sporting arena, the Steelband has the greatest potential to curb juvenile delinquency. Government must work with the Steelbands and the Steelband body with an intention to develop all the artisan crafts related to this art form. Let us start immediately to encourage the use of the many underutilized Pan yards across Trinidad and Tobago as centers of learning in pursuit of this goal. This would go a long way in creating opportunities for the idle youths in our Communities, and help to develop the Steelpan as the viable industry that it should be, to contribute significantly to this country’s GDP.

Please, complete Pan Trinbago’s Head Quarters at Trincity in the shortest possible time.

I do wish you good health and strength so that you will be able to face the many challenges ahead with godly confidence.

Respectfully yours,

Michael L. Joseph,
Southern Marines,
Steelband Foundation,
May 26, 2010