By Vernon Khelawan, firstname.lastname@example.org
Several months ago, almost at the onset of the vicious Covid-19 pandemic last year, I told my wife that shopping, for whatever, will take such an upward swing that her head would spin. She nodded in agreement.
Now as the prices go higher and higher, she wonders what poor people will do, when it comes to purchasing food for daily sustenance. And here I am not talking about buying already prepared food at the thousands of outlets available.
The common thing is that it is not only in Trinidad and Tobago, or in the Caribbean, it is happening. It is a global phenomenon—shipping backlogs at many ports across the world, the hundreds of per cent increases for handling containers and a serious lack of truck drivers.
So can we say the pandemic has led to a ‘foodemic’ where “cutting and contriving” will be the only way to go.
But it is not food prices alone we are being called upon to shoulder. The same holds good, in our country anyway, for several fundamental items – the re-introduction of the property tax; upcoming increases in electricity and water; higher prices for fuel for our cars and as a direct result an increase in transportation rates and fares.
When one thinks of all these increases and with Covid-19 not going anywhere soon, we are looking at chaos in the eye. Remember that old saying; ‘You go have to eat grass.’ Well, that may soon come true.
The inflation spiral, which we are trying to hide in various ways, will continue to go higher and higher in the coming weeks. Even the vegetable and provisions hucksters in the various markets and the roadside vendors have little choice but to raise their prices.
How difficult it would become to replace a refrigerator, washing machine, freezer or even a microwave oven or any other kitchen helpers. The prices would become astronomical.
Taking all this into consideration, one can only imagine the deep problems we have up ahead and how the country is going to handle them.
In spite of these problems, the population still has to deal with stand-alone cases of homelessness caused by fires or different earth movements destroying many homes, complete villages without a proper water supply, charity givers like the churches, mosques and temples, Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and a host of other groups who help. So as the older generations would have said, ‘Band yuh belly’.
Gem of a person
I could not finish this column without commenting on the recent tragic loss of veteran journalist Errol Pilgrim. And here I say heartfelt condolences to his wife, children, and grandchildren.
Although I never had the privilege of working with Errol, his reputation preceded him first at the Express and later at Trinidad and Tobago Television (TTT).
I only got to know him recently when a group of veteran journalists toured several parts of the country. The group included people like Lennox Grant, Keith Subero, Davis Cuffy, John Haynes.
Our bus tours were chockful of arguments and much laughter and Errol always said what he thought. Even in our get-togethers at various homes, the last of which was held at my home, the arguments covered all aspects with Errol’s voice always being heard.
He was a gem of a person to know. May he rest in eternal peace.