N Touch
Tuesday 20 August 2019
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Letters to the Editor

Time to go back to basics in TT

THE EDITOR: There is much commentary nationally about devaluing of the TT dollar, amidst reports by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Though merit is given, where due, to these analyses, one must look forward to the solutions that can assist citizens in dealing with a “declining economy.”

This is stated in the local context of few available jobs, rising criminal activity, mental health challenges and, ultimately, a breakdown in society – quite a worry for all. Where are our leaders who really seek the people’s interest? As citizens of this beautiful nation, our concerns should be with futuristic plans, not bacchanal stories of corruption.

Many young people have sought the attention of policymakers by expressing their frustrations with life, and concerns with the lack of employment opportunities on social media. While others have found their idle hands at work in gangs and other criminal activities.

One cannot ridicule a young person who may opt for the latter since it is natural human instinct to seek survival (financial, and physical), regardless of the latent consequences of such involvement. What options are there for unoccupied people who may have been retrenched or now seeking employment?

One suggestion is humbly put forward for people seeking employment, or the improvement of mental/social well-being.

Some issues can be solved, in the interim, through engaging minds in starting small lucrative businesses.

Consider this: three avocado trees, three lime trees, and a passion fruit trellis in your backyard. Very minimal investment is needed for planting and caring for these. If one can afford the latest iPhone, or afternoon tea, the inputs necessary to start this small venture would be attainable.

These are long-term crops that require limited attention, but reap significant profits due to their demand. If large parcels of land are available, consider planting cassava, pumpkin, pimento, or coconuts as these tend to grow well in our climate. There is no shame in toiling the land (#FarmingIsCool).

Starting small and having patience can aid positively in personal development (Rome wasn’t built in a day.) The gap between aspiring entrepreneurs and policymakers is quite disappointing, but it should not be a deterrent for anyone. There is no benefit in dwelling on what cannot be changed instantly. It is time to responsibly take charge of the future, and not idly wait for a government job. It is hard, but it will not get easier by staying down.

On a side note, the concept of freedom of speech is trending in the 21st century, and facilitated by social media fora where anyone can give their viewpoint, on any issue. Though this may appear as appropriate development in some societies, it has resulted in misinformation, bullying, and the promotion of a more divisive TT. Where is the focus on real issues of TT?

Instead, cowardly people use keyboards to comment, “like” and “share” propaganda posts, giving instant gratification. However, is this positively contributing to policies and changes that can provide a better future?

Reflect for a moment on the horrific deaths of people in the past weeks – whether murder or suicide. Heartbreaking, yes. Though it is difficult to generalise reasons for these occurrences, it is certainly reflective of a severe failure in our communities, and must sound an alarm to everyone. Have the institutions of family, religion and education lost their significance in maintaining social order? Respectfully, it is time to go back to the basics.

SAFIYYAH SHAH, Freeport

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