Concerns over Barbados pre-test survey for children
October 12, 2022
Remembering Peter Telfer
October 12, 2022

Come down for the common good

On October 6, 2022, artist RemBunction in an interview with the Trinidad Express, ‘Cold Pot-iticians…too insensitive and out of touch’ said: “What we are seeing is some people become very flippant when they in positions of power and are disconnected from those everyday realities….Some of the statements being made in public spaces by those put in power to represent us, across the board, are quite insensitive.”

RemBunction had remade Sean Caruth’s catchy Soca tune ‘Coal Pot’, in the wake of the comments made by various politicians answering to the populace’s complaints post Budget.

The 2022 remix incorporates the statements uttered at press conferences and to reporters: “and if ah doh laugh, I go cry/He tell we doh eat macaroni pie…”

To another statement attributed to “another Keith”: “I’m guessing that your belly’s always full/Yuh tell me jump on mih bicycle…An if ah inna tight spot/I better bake mih breadfruit in a what? Chorus: Coal pot….coal pot”.

The message “underneath, is that he is disconnected and elite”. Rem’s advice to them, unless they too are prepared to make sacrifices, “… take your perks and hush/because poor people have no water to wash…”

The Editorial of this paper in the issue of September 30 – October 6, determined the need for sacrifices to be made, as was echoed by yet another government minister, but the reality is for many, sacrifices are already being made to ensure salaries last the month (for those fortunate to have), also considering diminished purchasing power.

For the eight-to-four workers, and parents of school-aged children, traffic cannot be avoided in the morning and afternoon. For commuters, torrential rain and flooding mean that public transport back home becomes unavailable for hours, leaving those without options stranded, gathered in a crowd, and sheltering inside City Gate and other terminals.

In groceries, and market spaces, food prices are compared, and items omitted. Arguably, there is bewilderment on what further sacrifices are to be made for survival.

There appears to be the sentiment that people are living beyond their means, and consequently, have the extra to make the ‘sacrifices’ or their suffering now is somehow their fault after living carelessly and with waste. The truth is, those who can afford it, do; those who cannot, do without.

While the government can be commended for some of the considerations in the budget, for example in agriculture, representatives seem to be either oblivious to, or uncaring of, the frustration being experienced by many.

The utterances unfortunately come across as both contemptuous and condescending to those who are in real circumstances of desperation.

We are aware that there are forces at work on the global stage which inhibit the growth of our own economy. However, the populace is still in need of leadership that empathises rather than speaks from an apparent throne of privilege of housing and transportation allowances, travel grants, phone and internet paid for by the State, medical benefits, tax free concessions and whatever other perks they may have.

They have these perks because of taxpayers’ money and actually being elected by the same nationals to whom they are speaking.

Catholic Social Justice teaches: “…the state has a positive moral function. It is an instrument to promote human dignity, protect human rights, and build the common good. Its purpose is to assist citizens in fulfilling their responsibility to others in society. Since, in a large and complex society these responsibilities cannot adequately be carried out on a one-to-one basis, citizens need the help of government in fulfilling these responsibilities and promoting the common good.”

During the rough years of the pandemic, individuals and organisations, with some government assistance, banded together to ensure that all in need were at least supplied with necessities.

We are at heart a good people who want to help and do better. There is evidence of that as well, in the fact that we “ain’t riot yet”.