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Sunday 21 July 2019
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Commentary

Sometimes love just ain’t enough

PAOLO KERNAHAN
PAOLO KERNAHAN

RECENTLY, we were preoccupied with migration of Venezuelans into T&T. A registration exercise was meant to, at least in part, get a handle on the number of migrants pouring through our porous borders. Perhaps now we can turn our attention to a deregistration exercise to gather the number of people migrating out of T&T.

Through the magic of Macobook, I’ve been able to follow the semi-discreet emigration of citizens. Some post cryptic messages about their departure. Others are more open about their happy escapes to more civilised countries posting pictures of their new homes, backyards and lives in foreign lands. More frequent still is the appearance of online advertisements for vehicles, home appliances and furnishings under the banner “Priced to Go: Owner Migrating”.

There’s no easy way to get a clear picture on just how many folks are packing their jahaji bundles and emigrating to colder, but more hospitable climes. One can only go on the anecdotal evidence on social media platforms and the grape/caraille vine which points to a trend of departures. The recently departed (but not dearly departed) cite varying reasons, all tying back to one common theme: the apparent hopelessness that is T&T.

Traditionally, people would leave T&T in search of better opportunities. This is, of course, perfectly reasonable as this country has a distaste for the educated, innovative and creative. However, more recently, among cases of people I know who’ve lowered their lifeboats, the reasons for leaving are twofold; crime and the country’s general, inexorable downward trajectory. They have had to abandon T&T to its devices and vices.

Among the shrinking demographic of thinking, objective citizens, it feels like there is a queasy feeling setting in: T&T is at the event horizon, the point of no return. The time for talk is over, yet talk is all we have left.

In Parliament, government and opposition politicians cavort in the theatre of the banal. They strut and preen, jousting with hoary, limp rhetoric and trading in empty chatter. They pound their desks like they’re pounding their chests signalling pride at having said nothing of significance and achieving even less.

Our leadership class brazenly spit in the faces of adoring citizens who receive this spittle manna like the first rains after a punishing dry season. The mindless drones of the two political lodges jump to the defense of their leaders while they endure penury conditions, healthcare that sickens, crumbling infrastructure, failed institutions, a pristine environment destroyed and a CoP trying to talk criminals to sleep.

The hopelessness takes actual form when you hear people complain bitterly about a two-party state on the one hand but rubbish the idea of any third party. “It only have two majah political patty in dis corntry...everyting else is wase-ah-time.”

Well, third parties don’t stand a chance in this country because people seem not to want anything to change. Many voters aren’t even interested in starting the conversation, far less indulging a full-throated debate about changing the politics of sameness.

We’re more comfortable buying the same brand that’s guaranteed to disappoint, if only for the fetishist pleasure of complaining endlessly about it.

My column last week focused on the importance of taking action rather than wallowing in useless worry.

This remains true - except the actions some citizens take will inevitably lead them to relocate their lives. Ultimately, we all have to make decisions that are best for our futures and our families. Notwithstanding how much many of us love Trinidad and Tobago, sometimes love just ain’t enough.

Like any toxic relationship, there comes a time that, through the tears, you have to accept there simply isn’t a future in a union based on selfishness, deceit, brutality, venality and a declared disinterest in doing things differently.

A cold beer at Maracas Bay, J’ouvert morning, Savannah grass, doubles that burn your hand, then your mouth and then...these are all wonderful features of life in Trinidad. For many folks, however, these things are no longer enough to tolerate everything else this country is.

T&T murders wives, husbands, sons, daughters, grandmothers and grandfathers. The killing continues yet we just keep on chipping. Politicians lie to your face and then call you the liar. For some of our citizens who have left T&T behind, the grass doesn’t have to be greener. It at least needs to show signs of growth. That just isn’t happening here.

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