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posted 27 Mar 2020, 10:41 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 27 Mar 2020, 11:24 ]

I have submitted this article as a tribute to
Citizen Michael ‘Scobie’ Joseph not that he would agree with its content but with the concept of let a hundred flowers bloom. 

He, who by words, deeds and action, embodied the talismanic warrior peasant in life. 

As before, with the few who I admired and cherished; in this covid 19 period, I dedicate ‘Fanfare for the Common Man’ interpreted by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by James Levine.    

Failure was always an option because those who had the spotlight on them were themselves groping in the dark. As such, questions can be raised in all forms and fashion. Why we have failed to foster a cohesive working class? What is considered to be failure?  Failure to do what? Who is to blame? What is the way out? And lastly, the eternal question – Where do we go from here?

My concept stems from a grudging realization that the laboring masses would not, cannot, liberate themselves until or unless certain benchmarks are discussed, accepted and pursued. To reach there I will take a round-about route – the present into the past to find the future. So what does the present scenario tell me.

This is March 2020 and using a cultural event as an example it is clear our Carnival is dying. Truth be told, carnival reflects our society. In other words our society is hemorrhaging and with it all other socio-economic-political issues since they are all intrinsically linked. How is the carnival dying when the politicians would trumpet, ad nauseam, we had the safest, greatest show ever. 

Didn’t we ban glass bottles for 48 hours? Didn’t the murder rate decrease? Didn’t we have more tourist arrivals? Look how Despers rise like a proverbial phoenix with a home of its own! More children playing mas. Minshall is back and all is quiet on the home front.

But the carnival is dying! There used to be masqueraders in Point Fortin, Fyzabad, Princes Town and many other peripheral urban areas. Now sooner than later, the festival will only be held in Port of Spain, now called carnival city and become a television commodity. The calypso art form is the most glaring example with the musicians (pannists) and working people obviously feeling the brutality of cultural bois.

None of the present day politicians see the country through such lens. Indeed its about floating or not floating the TT dollar; reimage the justice system from the top; tweaking the Constitution; it’s the other side fostering crime; vote for me to set you free.

Where did we go off-track and with blinkers on seem to await a message-man with either biblical posturing or strongman body language. Working people are left in the dark and that was deliberate so that those who can count to ten did not want anybody know how to count to twenty. I am therefore making my first bold statement. The working class of T&T must invest in a mass communication medium – radio, newspaper, TV station or a combination of the three – independent of any investor, politician or group.

For our society to breathe, four pillars must be totally revamped – education, security, health and food production. Upon this platform comes sports, culture, and infrastructure (providing jobs , housing, road network, etc).

The key towards such a possibility is that collectives, the labour movement in particular, must embark on re-educating the people on political, economic and social systems so that the best hybrid or not, can be attained through constant deliberations.

I have just touched the surface which can be counter-productive, in that too little discourse can be dangerous. All this paper sets out to do is point out we are dying prematurely, because we listen to charlatans, carpet-baggers and conmen, failing to take the hard road to freedom.