THE EDITOR: Before and after independence, TT through its legitimate governments signed and acceded to very important international agreements, which sought to guide and inform the actions of states in critical global issues, in order to guarantee respect for the rule of law, civilised relationships, as well as allow countries to form economic alliances for the benefit of their citizens.
The first prime minister of this country, the late Dr Eric Williams, declared on August 31, 1962, inter alia, that “the new independent nation was ready to take its place among many other nations and to exercise its responsibility in the international community, in defending democracy.”
Fifty-eight years later, those promises and assumed responsibilities seemed to have fallen by the wayside. The country is not better off, despite the various economic windfalls; citizens still do not partake in the nation’s wealth; the education and health sectors are worse off. Succeeding governments have not understood their responsibility and continue to court voters on issues that are not for the common good of the nation and for its development.
The social and human fabric of this nation is in shreds. Citizens have become accustomed to being abused and neglected, not demanding their rights, while others are the agents of abuse, indifference and neglect. It has become a vicious cycle, and the citizenry has been conditioned to the point that this behaviour is believed to be “normal,” causing major angst against those who do not subscribe to this behaviour complaint.
The continued disregard for the rule of law (disobedience to the courts by those in “authority”) and disregard of international agreements are clearly the symptoms of a very sick nation. As a matter of fact, an outsider looking in to what has been happening in this country for the past ten years can easily conclude that there is no governance, that laws are made up in the spur of the moment, and that everyone is unaccountable for their actions.
Governing a country is a very serious task. After all, every action has consequences, which is sometimes very harmful, and the descent to anarchy is quite easy. Democracy is a beautiful concept, yet very misunderstood: to many who are unschooled in the political and philosophical sciences it simply means “doing what I well damned please.” This can be appreciated in the behaviour of politicians, who do not even bother to get their lies to sound believable, and ordinary citizens who attack those who do not share their opinions. But I digress.
Not complying and fulfilling international obligations have a cost. Liaisons with internationally known criminal regimes also have a very high cost, and as experience has taught, the invoice is always issued when least expected. In this global village we now find ourselves, and in this technological age, every word, every action, every image is preserved for posterity: every opinion has a permanent footprint.
BERTHA M SUN KOW