THE EDITOR: It is extremely sad and disheartening to read the hateful and negative comments of some Trinis in response to our Prime Minister’s decision to open our doors to the displaced Dominicans after the devastation of hurricane Maria. With the popularity of social media, everyone has seen the near decimation of its people. Everything is destroyed. These people need urgent help if they are to survive. These are our CARICOM neighbours and a tragedy of this magnitude could happen to any country, even our beloved TT although in our complacency, we claim that “God is a Trini.”
One, so called, religious leader is advising “his people” to close their doors to the displaced Dominicans. How as a nation, we have become so callous and insensitive?
The Dominicans are a proud people. I do not expect many will leave their country as they will want to stay and rebuild. They are highly educated and have a history of being skilled tradesmen. They are very resourceful. My grandfather, Arnold Johnson, a builder came from Dominica in the 1920’s and brought all his children including my mother, Anolia. He was an asset to this country and was a building contractor who employed and trained many Trinis in the field of carpentry, masonry and plumbing. He worked on the Arima, Couva, Siparia and Chaguanas Health Centres in the 1920’s and 1930’s. He also built the Couva Roman Catholic Church’s Presbytery which is still standing. His sons carried on his legacy.
We, the second and third generation Dominicans/Trinis have contributed to our beloved Trinidad and Tobago. We are educators, tradesmen, nurses, doctors, bankers, lawyers, priests, housewives and much more. There are many Trinidadians of Dominican ancestry who are hurting for Dominica. We are our brother’s keeper. It is time we change our mindset. We Trinidadians have a reputation for being “generous and caring.” We have opened our doors to thousands of Guyanese, Indian nationals and others who were not in crisis. What makes this so different?
I am confident that the people of Trinidad and TT will rise to the occasion and assist in whatever small way they can.