Jamille Broome writes a weekly column for the Newsday.
The moment a Trinbagonian makes a negative comment about TT, that person is labelled a traitor and society demands their burning at the stake in Woodford Square, or at the very least their expulsion from the country.
Those who react this way are not interested in the possibility of the statement being true, as long as it portrays our country in a negative light; complete fidelity to the red, white and black is mandatory! Thankfully, I’m not that silly or short-sighted and I believe that only a patriot who loves this country would be willing and able to openly denounce the nonsense that passes as normal in this country, while at the same time expressing an undying love for it.
I love my country so much that the red, white and black is tattooed on my left chest, and above many other factors like weather and better employment opportunities, returning home was largely motivated by my desire to contribute towards restoring our country to its glory days because it is difficult to do so while living away.
Due to my decision, for the last four years, I have been waking up to warm sunshine, birds chirping, and complete peace and quiet. Then, when I get up and thank the Lord for another day, I am able to open all the windows to allow cool fresh breeze to circulate through my house. These things mean a lot to me because I lived in America where the sunshine was accompanied by chilly winds and in London where opening the window for fresh air was an extreme sport that required thermal underwear and thick winter jackets. I hated every minute of winter!
On mornings here at home, despite living “in de bush” and having to tolerate my neighbour’s annoying parrot, everything is wonderful in my serene neighbourhood and beautiful country. Well, that is until I go online to read the local news, only to be reminded that as beautiful as the country is, the place is also a dump. By dump, I mean that it is a terrible place to live for a plethora of reasons. Of course, runaway crime and corrupt governments top this list, but it really is the smaller issues like garbage, public transportation, lack of law enforcement, a failed criminal justice system, and the abject lack of consideration for others that make our country one of the worst places to live.
My biggest issue is how dirty our citizens are; places like Port of Spain and Chaguanas are so filthy that it is maddening and saddening at the same time. When I speak of how disgusting our country is, I always recall meeting an American classmate in my freshman year at university and introducing myself to her, and after she asked about my accent, I proudly declared “Trinidad and Tobago” expecting her not to know much about it, but I was sorely embarrassed by her response.
Apparently, her mother had visited Trinidad a few years prior and told her how dirty the island was; giving specific details about enduring the smell on the Beetham highway and having to traverse human faeces and banana peels on the streets of Port of Spain. Of course, I did my best to deny the truth at that time, and admittedly, I went on to lie to this girl about how beautiful Trinidad was and that her mother’s experience was an anomaly.
Honestly, as much as I hate living in Trinidad, it is my policy to never bad-mouth my country with foreigners. I have done a lot of travelling throughout Europe and the Caribbean and everyone who asks if I would recommend that they visit, my answer is always a positive one, although I hope they don’t because calling Trinidad a tourist destination is a boldfaced lie.
Let’s face it, besides the Nylon Pool, we really have nothing exciting or interesting to offer tourists because the bird sanctuary has more drug-smuggling pirogues than birds these days, everything else is a snooze fest, and we have to use “beaches” loosely when referring to what we have.
Trinidad (and moreso Tobago) is a beautiful place to live, but that is as long as one pays no attention to the nonsense that goes on outside of our homes. You are free to live in denial, disagree with my negativity and call me unpatriotic, but for the same reason I refused to support our representative for Miss Universe just because she was “ours,” is why I reject any opinion that TT is a holistically beautiful place to live. Sorry, not sorry.
You can reach the author at: Jamille85@msn.com