AS TOLD TO BC PIRES
My name is Nazim Mohammed and I have learned that people in the South are VASTLY more willing to work than people in the East-West Corridor.
I might get rushed by the whole of the East-West Corridor for saying that. But it’s still true.
I’ve been in business since I’m small. Primary school days, really.
I work seven days a week. I recognise it’s not a good thing, but I’m a workaholic.
I think it’s just a stage in life. I bury my mind in work. When I’m ready, I know how to get out of it.
There are a LOT of Nazim Mohammeds. Some of them political. Most of them ordinary. You go into the bank and it takes them a while to figure out which account belongs to you!
I don’t know if the politicians will have a lot of money in their accounts while they’re in government.
I work in the south but I’m from the north, Curepe.
At the junction, Curepe has a lot of “old heads” who Curepe is more or less “attached to.” I’ve seen them there all my life. You speak “Curepe,” you speak their names, because they were the life of the junction.
But I was never there as an adult.
I grew up “city” Curepe, not “country” Curepe.
My father does pies and Indian delicacies in the junction. He would have been there almost 20 years. He is one of those older heads.
I would always spend Christmas and August school vacations working with him in the junction.
Life is very strange. You walk past people on the street, everybody’s head is down, there’s no real acknowledgement. People walk past cleaners, security guards, they treat everybody at the level they think they are – and life is not designed like that. Life is a story.
I come from a mid-size family, three sisters, myself, parents still around.
I don’t have a family myself, but I want one. I think I have the financial side covered, so now life allows for those little things.
I went to El Dorado Secondary. They used to have a good football team.
Cricket was my field, I would say. But more on the support than the active play level.
People spend too much of their daily lives complaining about what they don’t have and never taking a moment to realise what they have.
That’s why you lose! What you have is you!
But you walked through life and didn’t even one day recognise what was there for you, you were so caught up with what you thought you needed.
The first ten-12 years of my life, I will never forget the poverty environment I grew up in.
It has probably made my mind so differently. Now, I hate to see any opportunity wasted.
I’m not poor any longer, except compared to the politicians.
We know about leg-and-thigh now. Back then, we knew about liver and gizzard.
The standard of life is a little more comfortable on the whole family now and that is good to see.
It was hard, but I never heard any family member complain.
I’m the manager of a large department store.
The relationship with the business owners is very good.
I’ve been there 12 years. I have been handed the keys and also the opportunities to make a lot of decisions that affect the company daily, and I’ve been able to learn retail as a business and an environment.
My qualifications are probably way below the role I play. I’ve been entrusted with a lot of opportunities for the company.
I guess experience outweighs qualifications in some environments.
I have a UK-based correspondence diploma in marketing, advertising and public relations.
The people you choose to be your employees are now the frontrunners of the company.
They are the people who represent and build the business.
You offer a job that pays $4K for the month to someone and, first morning, they don’t show up!
Strangely, $4K is below par in their books, for a 20-year-old!
I wish I had those opportunities! My first job, 18 years ago, was $1,200 a month.
But I went to work every day because $1,200 was a lot better than zero in my books!
Now I offer someone $4K but in their books, zero is better.
In the south, people work harder.
It’s not a race thing, it’s a culture. I could have an African person in south and the output from them would be greater than an Indian from the East-West Corridor.
On a scale probably of eight to ten. Where, in the north, eight people out of ten would be below par in any job and, in south, eight out of ten people you hire perform to expectation.
In the north and the East-West Corridor, 80 per cent of workers are going to be bad. In the south, 80 per cent are going to be good.
That’s what we see: 20 per cent good in North, 80 per cent good in South.
And it doesn’t matter age group, race, gender. It’s something we need to make balanced.
The crime is a big contributor to the (negative work ethic) and opportunities in the Corridor.
It’s too easy, in this country, to go and rob people.
Presence makes a difference. I am in my office or walking around the store and my whole staff is alert and motivated. They know my expectations and they work to suit.
But you could drive from San Fernando to Grand Bazaar any time of night or day and never see a single police officer. If there was a police car at every major intersection of the highway, things would be locked down.
Trinidad has been at a standstill for the last 20 years and drastically needs a big wake-up call.
We need to stop playing games, take the place seriously, and invest in and build back this country. We need to get the right people behind it to get it done. For the past 20 years, it’s not been happening.
A Trini is someone with a unique culture that is a little too much on the carefree side.
We need to take much more responsibility for ourselves and walk the path that we decide is best for us.
There is something deep inside Trinidad and Tobago that you wouldn’t find anywhere else. It is beautiful and I don’t want to see it go down the drain.
It would hurt me a lot. Like an opportunity wasted.
Read the full version of this feature on Wednesday at www.BCPires.com