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If you live in a Glass house... *LINK*

By Michael De Gale

From Independence to Republicanism and beyond, the people of Laventille and its environs have placed their hopes in the PNM for relieve from their long-suffering. This they demonstrated unequivocally by voting en masse to elect successive PNM administrations. To this day, they have nothing to show for their support except increasing poverty, violent communities, social stigmatization and economic marginalization.

I can vividly recall the jubilation that radiated, particularly in these marginalized communities when the PNM won its first election in 1962. I was in the Savannah flying kite with ah set uh lil boys. Short khaki pants, sweaty, barefoot, hungry and half-naked - descendents of the third estate of colour. I was about 8 years old at the time and as my mother would often say, "we like to drivay." In the distance, we see ah ban comin rong the savannah, beating drum, ringin iron and singing "when PNM go marching home." Although we did not know it at the time, this was a celebration of hope, a celebration of promise. In retrospect, they were giving thanks in song for relief from years of neo-colonial exploitation. Massa day was finally over for those that Fanon called "the wretched of the earth." It was liberation time and our destiny lay in the palm of our hands. Without a second thought, we aiyo the kites, jump in de ban and shake we bony ass all the way home.

The celebration lasted deep into the wee hours of the morning until people retreated to their homes in the cracks and crevices of Belmont, the broken down buildings behind the bridge and the shacks balancing delicately on the hills of Laventille. Better days were coming they believed, but time dashed hopes and visions faded as that day never came. It was as if they miss the bus. Everybody else could see his or her way. Even foreigners found prosperity while these communities continue to wrestle with poverty and its accompanying manifestations. Amazingly, after 43 years of independence, the PNM could still count on support from those improvised community where some continue to cherish the hope that things will get better. After all, that is the promise that is made every election, when wolves in sheep clothing come begging for votes hoping to assume power without taking responsibility for the alleviation of human suffering.. Independence may have brought a new administration but is the same old khaki pants.

Deprived of innovative programs, which would enable them to improve themselves and develop their communities, these people are systematically relegated to the bottom rungs of the social and economic ladders. Access to capital for economic development is impossible to secure through traditional financial institutions. Post secondary education to liberate mind and body is still reserved for the independently wealthy and social programs to ease the strain leaves much to be desired. DEWD, URP and more recently CPEP - the crumbs from the economic table - is used as bait to satisfy short-term hunger, ensure re-election but holds no promise of sustainable development.

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If you live in a Glass house... *LINK*
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