It was exciting. It was inspiring. It was promising, and we the people were hoping that when ‘massa day done’, we would finally be free of British rule. This freedom was thought to be our autonomy and we would govern ourselves.
We never expected that the party formed by Dr Eric Williams, the liberator, would be in power for so long. It was all constructed with democracy in mind, in which the people would have a voice via their representatives.
But that didn’t pan out as we expected. Instead of a place of peace, harmony and tolerance for all, and a place for every race regardless of colour or creed, Trinidad and Tobago became a place far, far from utopia. In fact, we discovered that we are living a life like in hell.
One political party has governed us for 47 of the 57 years we have been independent. While crime and corruption didn’t happen overnight, it gradually increased under their watch.
Today, after 57 years of Independence, the Government hasn’t made our lives better or provided a safer and more productive society or reduced poverty, even with all the resources that were available from oil and gas. Unemployment has risen and there have been major business closures.
We thought our leaders would do a better job in running the country with Independence, but we were deceived because those we trusted to help carve out a better lifestyle for us abandoned serving the people and opted to serve themselves by stealing our money.
So for 57 years, we have been living in desperation-desperation to get rid of crime, corruption and poverty, desperation for better schools, better policing, infrastructure, food prices, gun reduction, drug abatement, tax reduction and less political corruption.
Nothing to celebrate after 57 years, except rum and bacchanal every day.
Jay G Rakhar New York