THE EDITOR: The disconnect between politicians on the two sides of the aisle and the people they represent simply astounds me. The lack of empathy shown by those in power for this country’s citizens (who in some cases are without a wage for eight weeks) tells me that while we are good enough to vote, we will never be given a seat at their table.
At a Health Ministry press conference we were told, in response to a question on the opening of the food industry, to make a sandwich and put a pot on the fire. Explain how this can be done without being able to purchase a loaf of bread or a gas tank to cook with?
Explain why the construction industry seems to be on the front burner when all other industries can’t even make it to the kitchen counter, and why some groups are allocated vaccines while other people who are also in the public service industry must take a seat and wait.
When speaking about lives and livelihood, we need to remember both are intertwined. If a person can’t work to put food on their table, how do they remain healthy enough to stave off illness?
People don’t want handouts, from what I can only describe as some dubious names on the list of organisations recently given grants to provide food hampers. They want to be given the ability to earn a wage.
Lockdowns can only work if the State has the capability to support its citizens with a grant that can actually help them, not a grant that can’t pay a month’s rent or one that you need to jump through hoops to access, while waiting for two months as the landlord knocks on your door and your children tell you they are hungry, but all you have are curtains to hide behind or empty shelves in your fridge to offer them.
We are in the midst of a crisis in TT and while I totally understand that hospital beds must not reach full occupancy, I am also seeing the devastating effects that our brothers and sisters are facing and I can’t help but ask: how much more can they endure?
How does a mother look at a child she carried, nourished and protected for nine months and turn to them with nothing to offer but an empty bowl?
It is time our representatives do better, it is time we demand they do better.
We can’t eat concrete, so why do our resources go into buildings that stay empty? Why are our tax dollars not put into social services or self-sustainability programmes that will benefit our children in years to come and not rely on the US dollar? Why are small businesses not being helped to survive? Why are funds not given to NGOs that are on the ground doing what is needed to help build our communities and our country?
The years of wasted money since our independence should make all of our political parties bow in shame.
If nothing is done sooner rather than later to bridge the gap between the haves and the have-nots, I fear for our children’s future in our sweet TT.
Finally, I can only wait with hope and pray our people are given some form of rope to cling to. Captain, your ship is sinking. Now is the time for you to hear your passengers’ cries and do all in your power for us to navigate these difficult waters.
Because, while some have been given life rafts to climb aboard, others are drowning in the sea of loans, mortgages, rent, bills and mandatory taxes while our banking industry, government institutions, landlords etc step on our heads, pushing us further down into the briny waters below. SOS, TT.