THE EDITOR: In a letter to the editor in Thursday’s Newsday, entitled “Finding our way to enlightened thinking,” Dr Errol N Benjamin declared: “Enlightened thinking is not the province only of the First World. We as a people can be ushered in that direction, if only our institutions are managed by people who are inclined to such thinking.”
As the educator that he has proved himself to be, Benjamin, in my opinion, was implying that our lack of critical thinking – especially in high places – is not only a serious constraint on our readiness for what I love to call the unfolding of a new civilisation, but may also be the downfall of our sovereignty.
Observation and interaction have revealed that many among our elite – academic, business, political, and bureaucratic – respectively claim their status and therefore right to leadership on the grounds of qualifications, wealth, and bureaucratic status.
Unfortunately, wisdom is not acquired only by way of these avenues. Instead, it takes years of socialisation, study (not cramming), observation, reading, reflection, and interaction with certain people (not necessarily people of great wealth, high status, and with highly certified qualifications) to acquire it.
With reference to all of the above, I now mention the late Patrick Manning who in his last political campaign passionately highlighted the need for a marine curtain to protect TT and other Caribbean islands. At that time many saw his speeches as just ranting. Only a few understood the thesis of his platform articulation.
Today, with the emergence of the Venezuelan problem and the frenzied flow of human trafficking, drugs, ammunition and guns into our country, only a few are beginning to understand what Manning was trying to say. We were too busy feteing, thinking of acquiring easy money, power, and position to understand that without a coast guard that can protect our borders from criminals, mercenaries, and refugees, we will continue to remain in unimaginable danger.
Yes! Without a doubt, Caricom has to start thinking more about regional security. Who knows what will happen next. Indeed, I wonder how many people heard of the renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar who attacked the Libyan capital, Tripoli, in an attempt to remove the UN-recognised Government of National Accord.
Yes! We have to allow enlightened and responsible thinking to permeate our nation.
RAYMOND S HACKETT, Curepe