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Our country, worth fighting for

There was a time citizens, when asked about living abroad, say New York for example, the answer for some used to be, “It’s a nice place to visit, but I don’t want to live there!” or from others, “Home is home!”.

Times have changed. This was brought home very forcefully to me as I viewed an episode of the programme on ACTS channel 153 entitled Face to Face on Cloud Nine.

The host, Sheldon Yearwood, took the show on the road, firstly asking people to describe Trinidad and Tobago using one word. Of course the “one” word turned to phrases and paragraphs as answers were given. So beautiful, a paradise, sweet country, etc., were some of the responses heard. One woman became so emotional as she responded, she cried.

Then Yearwood asked another question, “Would you leave sweet T&T or stay?” It was very interesting to hear the responses of those to whom the question was asked.

From those who said they would leave, the reasons given included the crime situation and the low crime detection rate, perceived corruption in the government and law enforcement, sub-standard health care, high food prices, and unemployment. The disenchantment list was quite long.

On the other hand though, those who said they would stay, stated so quite emphatically and gave their reasons to back up their choice. These included:

“Here is home!”

“The weather. People come from abroad to get away from the cold and to enjoy our weather.”

“The freedom we enjoy here we don’t have anywhere else.”

“The country is a good place, is just some people who creating the bad image by their destructive behaviour.”

“I am staying because I love my country.”

“Our natural disasters are minimal compared to the devastation other countries face.”

As I listened to the comments being made, I was heartened to hear suggestions being put forward as to how we as citizens could play our part to assist in improving the situation. One man said that we need to stop blaming the government and own our mistakes.

Another suggested we start with improving family life, become our brothers’ keepers and our neighbours’ friend again, facilitating communities to join the fight for betterment.

I look at the behaviour of the adults in our society, those who miss no opportunity to voice their opinions through the media and who are spewing so much negativity playing the blame game to the max.

The question is, are we doing our part to facilitate the changes we want to see? The Black Stalin sang, “We can make it if we try, a little harder….”And the late Merchant sang about how we can make it when he encouraged, “Come let us join hand in hand, because this is our land, let us build this nation together…”

Important to note is that even those who say they will leave and not stay, also expressed the desire to see the situation in our country improve socially, economically and spiritually.

For many of us, we do not have an option. The onus is on us therefore to do the best we can so that the coming generations can inherit a country with legacies they can be proud of. They too need to understand that our country is worth fighting for.

If we count our blessings, appreciating what we have, we will be motivated to cope and so do our part in helping to alleviate our situation and maybe, just maybe, we can unite hearts, desires and voices as we sing together, “Sweet T&T, is my country…”