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Green is the colour of Freedom *LINK*

I guess if Tony Brown was a Trini, he would of said, "BLUE is the colour of Freedom".

What seems to be needed to emancipate the Afro-Trinidadian from the last at the bottom position on the economic ladder, is a massive dose of self confidence, based on seeking and studying models that work; a revision of the banking laws, as they apply to small business loans; and governmental oversight of who in fact gets these loans, and with what guarantees.

I know from experience, that one can get a loan if you know someone who can serve as guarantor for that loan. Now, how many poor people, wanting to move up from a tray at the side of the road, to a stall in the market, and then to a small supermarket, and then to multiple supermarkets, can find a "friend" who will serve as guarantor for that loan? Very, very few. So the bank can look at your loan proposal, if you have enough sense to write it out as a proposal, and decide it's too risky. They could make a very different decision for someone else, based on "gut feeling" or who is the guarantor. That gut feeling has to do with looks to a great extent. Long dreadlocks, may not be the desired look for the African man seeking a loan. Rep. Fitzgerald Hinds could not get a loan in a place where he was not known as the rep. for Laventille. Even some obviously African looking bankers might object to him based on his hair. Let him wait until the Hon. Eulalie James is comfortable on her crutches, and let them both go to try to get a loan, she passing off as his mother or his auntie, and see what reception they get. (He would not be allowed to use the restroom, most likely, even if the bank had restrooms for patrons.)

This is part of the dilemma of being an African looking person in Trinidad and Tobago, in 2005. It's our land, and it's not our land. Those who have made it, are asking those who have not to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, and failing to notice that they have no shoes. Now, that they have no shoes is not because they "wutless" but because of structural poverty, dictated by both the international banking community, and the local banks. If you have to have specific collateral to get a loan, and you don't have that collateral, you do not get the loan.

Now, what collateral does the poor people of Trinidad and Tobago have? Well, here it is.

Divide the estimated number of barrels of recoverable oil in our soil and our waters, by the number of people in the population; add to that a factor of $x for the value of the cubic feet of recoverable natural gas, that each person would own, as a citizen. Then add up those two sums, at today's prices. Let half of it represent the part that goes to the oil companies, half of the rest goes to the state for economic development, and the rest. 25% of one person's share is what that person is worth to the banks. If a person is head of a household of four, then his family owns this much potential dollars, if he is a solo act, with no acknowledged wife or children, he owns x much. This could be the basis of a small business loan to everyone who wants to try to start something different.

Trinidad and Tobago News

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