Look to the young for our salvation


Trinidad and Tobago has a mental problem. It has many personalities contesting to control its brain. How can it be made whole? What is the foundation on which that wholeness can be built?

Will it be on a bedrock of Trinbagonianess that makes us all feel so secure that we consider this to be our beloved country, whose salvation we must put above considerations of race, clan, religious conviction, and economic and social status?

This does not mean we should neglect our heritage. Rather, it means that through the use of the best of our heritage, we should so strengthen ourselves as to make Mother Trinidad and Tobago a bountiful, peaceful land.

Through the lasting effects of colonialism, we have been conditioned to believe that we are less than those who formerly ruled us. The colonisers derided our intelligence, the religions of our ancestors, even questioned our humanness. Particularly, our people of African descent were ground up in that demonic mill. At present, the repercussions affect the self-confidence and, therefore, the competence and sense of self-reliance of even the young people of African descent.

Of course, much of the continuing dysfunction is our fault. It has taken 58 years for those who have ruled us to begin to implement a solution for our mental problem. And they do not have the excuse that they were not aware.

Most politicians are concerned primarily about their own salvation. There are those of us who, when we were young and read Frantz Fanon and other scholars of the formerly colonised nations, tried to enlighten the politicians, to no avail.

The dysfunction continues. Business people in San Juan are complaining that they do not have an adequate supply of water. This after two economic oil booms, in a country that is washed away by rain for several months each year.

Unfortunately, our economy is once more between a rock and a hard place. A large percentage of our young people are without jobs, and many of them are university graduates. This can make for a very volatile situation. Not all those from Laventille and Beetham who took to the streets recently were gangsters.

Today, as it was 50 years ago, some of our young people have answers to our problems. They must be heard. Heartening is the fact that there seems to be a burgeoning cohort of the young who are attempting to be self-reliant and innovative in many different areas of business. The Government must encourage and facilitate their efforts to a much greater degree.

Forget about the traditional business class, unless they intend to repatriate the money they have stashed abroad and use it to fund start-ups. They are only interested in the enrichment of their clan. If this country were not an oil economy, most of them would still be petty traders.

There is hope for our country if we truly love it. Look to the young. They are our future. They can be our salvation.

Arthur Nurse