THE EDITOR: Nationalism must not only be for the masses. It must start at the top, that is, the Government.
The word “national” has a very significant, deep and emotional meaning to most citizens. For example, there are national songs, the national anthem, national flag, national bird, national pledge etc. Then there are national buildings like the library. Further, there is the national instrument. And there is the requirement that many positions require nationals to fill, like Members of Parliament.
TT is blessed with a national university, the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT), that is filling the gap in tertiary education that UWI cannot deal with. Can the Minister of Education or the Board of Governors at UTT or the Cabinet explain to the population how on earth we could not have found a national of this country who lives here or is abroad and willing to return to serve as the president of its national university?
There must be qualified and experienced nationals who could have filled this position. I have nothing against the foreigner. He seems quite qualified in his field. But to have a non-national leading and representing our national university is certainly a slap on all of our faces by those who made this appointment.
I am not referring to a lecturer from another country who has expertise in a subject matter and was hired. This is the head of a national institution.
I note with deep appreciation that the current drive to recruit a Commissioner of Police specifies that applicants must be nationals. Certain things must remain in our own hands, like the head of our national university, the head of our Police Service etc. We congratulate the Government on this.
Can you imagine the new non-national head of our national UTT having to deal with local officials on agriculture, fashion, environment, crime, education etc? What local standing does he have? Are we back to the colonial days? Is it that in 2017, we still think foreign is always better?
TT, it is time that we put our foot down and demand better treatment for our local experts otherwise we will lose them. Is this how we reward locals who have worked hard?