We were strangers too
February 15, 2019
CCSJ: build a just country, world
February 15, 2019

History shows migrants can help T&T grow

By Kaelanne Jordan,    kjordan.camsel@rcpos.org

Archbishop Jason Gordon has maintained that the influx of Venezuelan refugees in the country can be a “wonderful opportunity” if citizens treat with it “right”. He however warned, if it is treated “wrong” then it will only result in migrants seeking “terrible” opportunities such as prostitution.

“[If] We give them alternatives, I think they will do good. And the day that Venezuela settles itself I think most people will go back to Venezuela because that’s their country,” Archbishop Gordon said during his first instalment for 2019 of Catholic Media Services Limited’s (CAMSEL) Ask the Archbishop live chat, last Wednesday.

The live chat, which is usually aired on the ‘Archdiocese of Port of Spain’ Facebook page was also live on the archdiocesan Instagram page.

Addressing the “fallout” from the Venezuela crisis, the Archbishop referenced Winston ‘Shadow’ Bailey’s song ‘Poverty is Hell’. In quoting the lyrics ‘Ten little children, four dumplings/ Mummy got to slice them thin, thin, thin/ A piece for a boy and a piece for a girl/ A piece for the neighbour daughter Merle’, he commented that Trinbagonians have always had an “incredible capacity” of putting “elastic” between food and money and having enough to share with someone else.

The Archbishop reminded that the Venezuelans’ arrival in T&T in the 1800s influenced the cocoa boom in the 1860s. In a similar way too, he believed that their contribution to the economy and industry will also ignite a boom in some sectors that locals don’t want to work in, such as agriculture.

“…And you know the name ‘cocoa panyol’; you know about Parang. That’s where it came from….So I think history has something to teach us both in terms of the mixing up of the culture, in the industry, in opening up new sectors of industry that will help us. Because the more food we grow the better for us in Trinidad and Tobago.”

To this end, the Archbishop said that the values of sharing and caring are never “outmoded” and never go out of style.

He then called citizens to return to these values and ask of themselves what kind of values they want in this 21st century Trinidad and Tobago.