THE EDITOR: Michelle Obama, wife of former US president Barack Obama, said, “The presidency does not change who you are, it reveals who you are.” It is no different for the Prime Minister of TT.
We continue to elect leaders with poor track records of understanding our diversity but hope that they can unite our nation. We elect people with no vision for our economy or plans to reduce crime and hope that when in office they would somehow find solutions to these pressing issues.
It is very difficult to understand the people of TT and the reality of our challenges if our life experiences did not in some way open us to the environment of many of our citizens.
A journey back in time and out of Port of Spain can open one to families in our rural communities, awake early every morning and journeying to the fields to provide food and sustenance for their children with a hope that one day they would experience a better life. One with education as a foundation.
One would see families listening night after night to their pundits offering his perspective on the various readings of their holy books and hoping for a spiritual intervention to improve the quality of their lives.
One would see men, women and children going to the fields enduring the discomfort from wet cane leaves with cane hairs irritating their skin long after completing a day’s work.
One would see a people committing to do whatever it takes to ensure that the future generations are spared such pain.
Take that journey back in time and up the hills overlooking the capital city and one would encounter a people working daily on the port, laying a new sewer system for the city and daily mixing mortar and concrete in building the capital city.
From those areas one would find families working daily to educate children who would one day be our policemen, soldiers, postal personnel, public servants, teachers and people in our legal fraternity.
On those hills one would find wire-benders preparing a costume for the upcoming Carnival, pan tuners continually seeking to improve the sound of the steel pan and tradesmen from tailors to shoemakers.
I grew up in both worlds. I have been to more pujas, Indian weddings, Ramayana and Bhagwat readings than many. I have walked the hills of Picton, St Paul Street, teaching, volunteering, feeding the poor in Beetham and assisting in the small football leagues in Mount Hope and Erica Street in Laventille.
I understand the plight of the people of Tobago, Moruga, Matelot, Cedros and Erin, as well as those of Couva, Penal, Barrackpore, Laventille, Belmont, Diego Martin and Arima.
My life record is one of integrity, hard work, overcoming adversity and embracing all people in the hope that somehow we can realise that together and only together will we be able to prosper as a nation. I am not alone, there are many with similar experiences and dreams.
It is time for all of us to look at the lives of those who are seeking our support and see whether they have what it takes to take TT out of a state of hopelessness toward a place of unity, love, respect for life, respect for diversity and prosperity.
The time has come to move forward, to create a new vision, support new initiatives and continue the hard work of those who led us to where we are today. Let our diversity be our strength. It is time to end the division.
Together we can overcome the agenda of those who continue to sow seeds of division for personal gain.
STEVE ALVAREZ via e-mail