THE EDITOR: I cannot seem to fathom what some citizens and the Opposition Leader mean when they talk about poverty, hard times and the state of the economy.
When a tax was imposed on the gaming industry they said hard times, yet more casinos are opening up. Property tax is coming but even new homeowners are renovating. One dollar more per litre on super gasoline and they say hard times. CNG is of course a choice but it’s a choice between trunk space or your dollars.
The Petrotrin refinery is to be shut down and they say hard times. Ask a Petrotrin worker to show you his/her exit package. What about workers who are laid off in other industries with nothing to walk with?
In spite of the hard times, in this “guava season” the disability grant goes up $200 (age qualifier removed), immediate government pension is now $3,500, food card goes up by $100. And there are many other social services available to the vulnerable.
It may sound as a simplistic view of matters but I am certainly not attempting to trivialise the plight of the most vulnerable nor the tight economic belt we are asked to wear. However, almost every garage has a car or two. Few people ride the bus, not even schoolchildren. Most people go to their private doctors.
International airfares are at a premium but flights are always booked. The food and beverage industry is not laying off anyone – the fast food restaurants are thriving and expanding. Ariapita Avenue is abuzz whole week. Casinos and malls are popping up everywhere.
Thirty-two-inch televisions are on the way out, replaced by 42” and up. Broadband is $525 per month – more speed, more movies. Some homes have more than one cable provider – it’s surround sound. Everybody has a mobile phone (and not a me2). Please don’t tell me that is the middle class.
Don’t get me wrong, everyone has a right to aspire to be prosperous and to use their money however the choose. But hard times and poverty don’t sit squarely into our equation.
As we continue to converse on this manner (doom and gloom) with the younger generation it is little wonder that some have chosen to live fast and die young. Let’s encourage those who can do the 100 metres to go hard (Ato) but distance running is just as glorious (La Londe).
Poverty in some cases is a state of mind perpetuated by hanging our hats where not even in our minds we can reach. What the mind can perceive, it can achieve. There is an old adage that says, “Before we ask God for what we want, first thank him for what we have.”
A DAVIDSON, San Fernando