As a child in primary and secondary school, I always found myself precocious and thinking differently from my peer group and trying my very best to be different.
After secondary school, I continued to have respect for my lecturers at the post-secondary and tertiary levels who highlighted concepts, theories, and ideas that could not be found in textbooks. These lecturers, to my mind, did not slavishly embrace what was in the books but tried to apply such concepts, theories, and ideas to our local or national context.
Now that I am an adult, long past my nationally perceived productive status, I still find myself striving to think and be different.
Perhaps it is for this reason I now wonder so often why people in our twin-island republic seem not to ask themselves how TT can be a more pleasant, socially united, and prosperous country in which to live.
Is it that we never had the experience of serious hardship – for example, civil war, ethnic riots, full-scale gang warfare, life-threatening floods, serious famine, mass unemployment, governments that do not encourage handouts, and socialist policies?
Or simply put, is it that we all believe that God is the patron of TT?
Comparatively speaking, when I look at our country, I see opportunities that we simply allow to fly past. Parents give birth to children, send them to school but do not provide or are unable to provide the necessary support that allows these children to grow up into citizens who can contribute positively to the national income, their personal development, their communities, homes, and even the children they in turn bring to our nation.
On the other hand, the citizens who have enjoyed a history of support which has enabled them to benefit from the support the nation has generated – in their homes, schools, the community, and the wider society – find themselves the envy of those who were unable to make use of the many opportunities that exist in TT.
Because we are all in this together, what then can we do as a people to set things right?
Perhaps the only answer may be to find leaders who do not focus only on their personal welfare and who have been socialised to see service to mankind as a laudable mission.
Other solutions may include, in the long haul, identifying and selecting leaders on the basis of their virtue, worth, ability, and resilience in selling to the nation an ideology and culture which will benefit all in the nation.
Whatever the solutions or answers, it cannot be only reliance on the government. The problems we face are too multi-faceted. They must be addressed from different platforms – the home, the school, the religious organisations, the media, and the arts.
The one problem in the way, however, is who (individual, organisation, or movement) will undertake the task to articulate the need to sensitise our citizens – old and young – to the imperatives of seeing and pursuing how a new approach to living in TT can bring benefits and help save us from falling into the deep abyss which lies in our path ahead?
RAYMOND S HACKETT