This weekend, Trinidad and Tobago celebrates its 47th anniversary as a Republic, just one month shy of our celebration of our 61st anniversary of independence.
But do we have reason to really celebrate?
The sad reality is that there is untold suffering and hardship among thousands in this twin-island state. This country named after the Trinity now seems to have fallen into a rut and while our leaders on both sides of the political divide continue their own power struggles, the citizens are the ones suffering.
Crime, unemployment, and corruption have taken root and things seem hopeless. How did we get here and why? We have allowed this to happen because of our seeming disinterest in real development as opposed to making choices on political grounds rather than being discerning about what is required for the good of the country.
While some may disagree and compare ‘Sweet T and T’ to other countries suffering from civil war, famine, and other natural calamities, we must and should aspire to be among the best. We can’t be satisfied with where we are in 2023, where our population is crying out for better roads, a 24-hour water supply and other basic amenities.
Writing in last Sunday Express newspaper, outspoken senior counsel Martin Daly opined “Spokesmen for the business community speak of crime putting business under pressure. A sharper degree of reflection might lead to the realization that the business community, like so many other elites, has put the pressure on itself by readily tolerating poor governance, contact, state enterprise pickings, uneven foreign exchange distribution, questionable public procurement practices and tribally based electoral contests while the drug and gun trade flourishes. The consequences of such tolerance has inexorably led to the breakdown of good order that now endangers all citizens.”
Daly’s perspective may not find favour with many, but it encapsulates so much of what is wrong in this country. Those who have the real power to make a difference only speak out when things affect them personally or impacts their bottom line.
As the officials knock glasses and ‘celebrate’ the Republic Day anniversary, we hope that they reflect on the pain and suffering of the national population.
None of us is safe, no one knows who the next murder victim will be. All we can do is pray that it is not our loved ones, but in this country any number can play.
This weekend in the midst of the rising crime rate and the political games, we urge all to reflect on the words of Isaiah 55:7, “Let the impious one abandon his way and the iniquitous man his thoughts and let him return to the Lord and he will take pity on him, and to our God, for he is great in forgiveness.”
As a nation we need to turn our hearts back to God. Without Him, we will continue this downward spiral we are on where the future of this country looks bleak.
We need to work together to save T&T for the sake of our children and future generations.
A blessed and reflective Republic Day to all.