Mass Exodus of Trinis?

By Raffique Shah
May 8, 2023

Raffique ShahMy good friend Mike swears there is a mass exodus of bright young professionals from Trinidad, many of them with their families, their destination of choice Canada, which they see as a vast country with countless opportunities.

To support his contention, he asks me rhetorically: when last have you driven past the Canadian High Commission in Port-of-Spain early morning? I didn’t reply that I do not know where in the capital city the Canadians have their offices. He continued; It’s like J’ouvay morning downtown…if you see people. Raf, this is real…people are leaving in droves…it’s not just the crime, it’s the hopelessness. They see no future here for themselves and their families…

I digested the information he had offered and the rationale he proffered. I know of many people who had indeed ‘relocated’ to Canada, and through my two offspring, both just past forty years, of several of their contemporaries who live abroad-the UK, USA, Canada-some from as far back as when they graduated from university. Mostly, though, with our oil, gas and petrochemical industries keeping pace with, or being in the lead of industry standards globally, there were opportunities aplenty for local graduates, technicians and skilled labour.

When I reflected on what Mike was telling me about an ‘exodus’ of bright young people, I argued that that was an erroneous perception. What we are witnessing is mass migration globally. In Europe for example, the influx of refugees/migrant created havoc as the richest countries in the world found themselves virtually under siege by people from some of the poorest. What compounded this movement of people from one country to another globally, were a series of sometimes lethal mishaps, some of them taking many lives, as desperate asylum seekers, many of whom have genuine claims of oppression, boarded assorted sea vessels that were downright dangerous and many, many lives were lost.

There was an outpouring of empathy worldwide as the macabre theatre rolled out before our eyes like a live action tragedy. To their credit, several European countries absorbed large numbers. Germany’s Angela Merkel became even more popular among European leaders when she got support- not overwhelmingly, mark you- from her parliamentary colleagues and absorbed roughly 1.1Million in 2015 during the European migrant crisis.

I told Mike that similar mass movements of people facing political oppression or economic disasters in their countries have occurred as far and wide as Hong Kong, Japan, The Philippines, internal movements within Africa, and we certainly can’t forget our own backyard with the never ending movement of people within Latin America and the Caribbean. Hell, who knows about this better than Trinidadians. Within recent times, Venezuelans who suffered because of internal politics and US sanctions that caused large chunks of the population to go jobless, saw Trinidad as a haven. I noted that because of Trinidad’s liberal policies on critical issues like healthcare, education, and housing, anyone seeking betterment would head this way even though our people complain about those services being woefully inadequate.

Mike interjected: But Raf, you wandering around the world seeking dirt poor people who are looking for emergency assistance and rescue. I am talking about the cream of our younger generation who have tertiary level education, and who can make this country a better place, fleeing instead to Canada which will now benefit from their expertise.

Yes, I replied, and I hope that they will be as eager to pay property taxes, building maintenance fees, high medical expenses and an unholy number of other taxes and charges to State and Provincial Government. Canada is very much a migrant society except for a few thousand indigenous people. In fact the government’s policy in Canada is to admit some 300K migrants per year and there are currently 8M such people who enjoy permanent residence amounting to 20% of the overall population. As part of the British Commonwealth, it has been partial to countries of similar historical backgrounds in the Caribbean, hence the reason why so many of our people head that way when they are looking for an alternative to the countries where they were born. Nothing is wrong with that. They have every right to enjoy the generosity extended to them.

What I’ve heard from my sisters and other friends and relatives who reside there as migrants is, crime is fast becoming a major problem in the big cities and West Indian migrants form a high percentage of the perpetrators. Why must these selfish and uncaring criminals sully the names of their mother countries by dominating the ‘Most Wanted’ lists in almost every province of Canada.

The government and people of Canada have been hospitable and equitable in the distribution of VISAs. Migrants should be thankful for that.

8 thoughts on “Mass Exodus of Trinis?”

  1. When the forebears of this nation handed Trinidad to the next generation of Trinis there was hope, enthusiasm, energy for a better future. Forged from the love of liberty was not ordinary words, those words epitomize the dream of a future built on freedom guided by citizens whose dreams lay the foundation of nationhood. With boundless faith in our destiny… that reminds me of the shackles of slavery and indentureship there was not much of a destiny. But there was now hope of a sure destiny.

    A few days ago I read an article of a man having three stolen cows. He went to the police they refer him to the praedial Larceny squad. He then went to the praedial larceny squad and they referred him back to the police. The citizen don’t know who to turn to. About two weeks before a man car turned over and was covered in water, a citizen came to his rescue whilst police and fire department officials at the scene did nothing. Everyday citizens face arrogance and oppression from those in authority who don’t seem to care. If people complain it only gets worst. A man went to the bank the young teller was there texting on his phone whilst delivering cash. The concerned citizen aware of the spate of robberies on those who leave the bank, ask to speak to the manager she came and instead of reprimanding the young teller she “bouff” up the client. So much for customer service.

    The decline of a nation starts and then gains momentum so much so even God could get “fed up”. Isaiah 1:4-6 Woe to the sinful nation, a people whose guilt is great,
    a brood of evildoers,
    children given to corruption!
    They have forsaken the Lord;
    they have spurned the Holy One of Israel
    and turned their backs on him.
    5 Why should you be beaten anymore?
    Why do you persist in rebellion?
    Your whole head is injured,
    your whole heart afflicted.
    6 From the sole of your foot to the top of your head
    there is no soundness—
    only wounds and welts
    and open sores,
    not cleansed or bandaged
    or soothed with olive oil.
    Most citizens are moving into so called “white man country” because living in a “Blackman nation” is like going deep into the tribal nest of mindlessness and criminality. All it takes is one or two elections to fall into the pit of despair.

    After colonialism Sparrow sang the song “Indians and negroes unite, we have won the battle called human rights”. It was a young nation back then on the move. 52 years of PNM governance and 16 years of Opposition governance later. Today there isn’t much hope in TnT. The nation has gone backward with the 1% reaping the rewards of their party in power. Can TnT be rescued from the abyss. Under this regime absolutely not!!! Young people educated does not see a future in the “Blackman nation”. How sad , how sad, how sad!!!

  2. “I hope that they will be as eager to pay property taxes, building maintenance fees, high medical expenses and an unholy number of other taxes and charges to State and Provincial Government.” (SHAH)
    Paying taxes is a responsibility which most Canadians embrace. Your tax dollars are at work everywhere in the communities in which you live. Property taxes allow Canadians to enjoy a number of benefits and amenities which make it possible to live in a civilized society : proper policing, unpolluted environment, safe parks and recreational centers, good roads, proper utilities like water, sewer, garbage pick up,community festivals, etc. People are actually proud to pay their taxes and enjoy their lifestyles. For those who live in apartment buildings, maintenance fees prevent the gradual deterioration of buildings and ensure a high standard of sanitation and safety.
    It is a myth that Canadians are burdened with high medical expenses. The national Medicare insurance program with premiums related to income and contributions from employers, provide free medical care to all Canadians. No one pays to see a doctor, get an operation, or for emergency hospital care. This is all provided in an orderly manner in modern facilities with highly qualified professionals.
    I have no idea about the “unholy” taxes of which you speak!
    Canadians pay income taxes, property taxes if you are a home owner, federal and provincial taxes of approx 12% on consumer purchases but no taxes on grocery food purchases.
    Conclusion: Your statement on Canadian taxes is totally uninformed. One must also remember that Canadian average incomes are substantially higher than most countries.

    1. I believe Raff is mixing up Medicare and Medicaid in the US with the health care system in Canada e.g., OHIP in Ontario. The question then begs itself why do high profile T&T politicians and the 1% seek quality and dependable health care in foreign lands e.g., Cuba? The property taxes issue is well explained.

  3. “What I’ve heard from my sisters and other friends and relatives who reside there as migrants is, crime is fast becoming a major problem in the big cities and West Indian migrants form a high percentage of the perpetrators.” (SHAH)

    In comparison to T&T and the USA, crime rates in Canada are substantially lower.
    To describe crime as a”major” problem in the big cities is a major exaggeration.In Canada, homicides remain relatively rare events, accounting for less than 0.2% of all police-reported violent crimes in 2021 (Moreau, 2022). These incidents include first-degree murder, second-degree murder, manslaughter and infanticide. Nevertheless, the occurrence of homicide is generally regarded as an important benchmark for community safety and well-being. Policy makers in Canada and abroad look at the incidence of homicides to assess the extent of violence in society, and to determine the appropriate response. This is a continuous scientific process which does not include praying to God.
    West Indian migrants do not form a high percentage of the perpetrators. Toronto has suffered from some bad press with regard to the off spring of West Indian migrahts being involved in murders. The accused usually are Canadian born.
    The Indigenous people represent the highest number of infractions in the country, usually on the Praries. On the West Coast the East Indian community, primarily Sikh, have high conviction numbers for drug crimes and domestic violence.
    It is totally incorrect to say the West Indian migrants form a “high” percentage of the perpetrators. Besides, if you live in T&T you should not be casting crime aspersions on any country!

  4. Let Dem go. Let the so-called well educated copy and paste grades go and find their way, maybe some might end up getting a proper edu.Some time back, it was the same cry. Wasn’t Refugee status the battle song then? Canada, from the failed West Indian federation to Natural disasters, have showed up. Presently, the North American Nation is the only remaining Colonial frontier. By the way! Did they get their edu in the “BLACKMAN NATION”? at least We did not leave no one behind. Mass Migration is how the World is made up, todays Globalisation and the incoming climate change is taking it to another level. In Canada, they will no doubt play by the rules, the Recalcitrants will find their place and space in Colonial ICE lands. “watch your Character it becomes your destiny.” When something Bad happens , Something Good comes out of it.

    1. Thanks for exposing the level of hatred and racism embedded in your sorry soul. Note, woe unto him who call good evil, and evil good. Like Juliet Davy you support home invasion, rape, thiefing and wickedness…..

    2. Many who are leaving are not only the”Recalcitrants” (your racially charged description) but many young ,qualified Afro-Trini nationals seeking expanded opportunities in Canada.
      They go through a complete screening process in order to be accepted.
      There are many who prefer to live in a society which is not continuously racially charged. T&T is totally preoccupied with race and race talk.

  5. It’s interesting to hear about the perspective on the mass exodus of young professionals from Trinidad to Canada. The allure of opportunities and a better future in Canada is undoubtedly appealing. However, it’s important to acknowledge that global mass migration is not unique to Trinidad, with movements happening worldwide due to various factors. Canada has been known for its migrant-friendly policies, welcoming individuals from diverse backgrounds. It’s unfortunate that some migrants have been involved in crime, tarnishing the reputation of their mother countries. Overall, it’s crucial to appreciate the hospitality extended by the Canadian government and people while recognizing the complexities of migration.

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