Trinidad and Tobago on a self-destructive path?

King Charles III - AP Photo
King Charles III - AP Photo


WILL THE political genre we have inherited from our forefathers and the white overlords in Britain be our downfall? Our Constitution is so biased in terms of who it favours and who it does not that those who had no say in its construction – the poor, the blacks, the indentured, and women – were neglected by the powers that held us in low esteem because they only saw us as worker bees who were not intelligent enough to be anything else than labourers.

Our Constitution was based on British laws and the Westminster system, which is hundreds of years old, where whites were the kings and queens, and all others were peasants who existed at their pleasure – which is whatever the royal family unilaterally doled out to them.

"The problem with the Westminster model is the model's lack of governance, oversight and colonial mindset, which has led to a crisis that includes severe government corruption, deepening poverty, upticks in crime, debt and decreasing trade opportunities. This makes life harder for the citizens and threatens to destabilise the democracies with no one nation situated to cope with these existential challenges. National independence for the region was designed to maintain the status quo of colonial times while providing the illusion of autonomy and individual sovereignty." – Peter L Renee, Walden University.

The promised benefit of going from British rule to an independent nation is that we can make our own decisions about who will govern and have autonomy in our affairs, such as leaders and laws, without having external interference by a foreign power such as the British Parliament with rules that may not apply specifically to us. We went from having a head of state, Queen Elizabeth II, represented locally by a governor-general. Then, when we became a republic in 1976, the head of state, our president, was a figurehead, just as the queen was.

Even then everything remained the same apart from a revised Constitution reflecting the new power arrangement. So, we went from having the queen as the monarch to a GG and finally to a president – all figureheads. The prime minister's function never changed through all the constructs, and he remains steadfastly in control of the government. That means the ordinary people went about their lives from the pre-independence era through our existing republican state without improving the living conditions that politicians guaranteed.

This brings us to the existential state of politics in Trinidad and Tobago and how it impacts everything we say and do in work and play. Even though we spent billions throughout the various political transitions, was it all for naught to the citizenry? Were the politicians the only ones to benefit?

How would things be different if King Charles III was still our head of state? We would be the protectorate of the UK and all the benefits that accrue, such as having the British armed forces, Scotland Yard and intelligence agencies having our backs. "The security service, military intelligence, the UK's domestic counter-intelligence and security agency, the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), government communications headquarters, and defence intelligence" would all be in our corner.

Indeed, these elite armed forces and their intelligence experts would have been able to anticipate and quell the criminal elements in our society, thereby preventing the lawlessness that pervades the land. What about white-collar crime? Those criminals were emboldened from the day we became an independent nation and are the foundational cause of the ills of Trinidad and Tobago society. No race or religious differences made the country what it has become; as many allege, greed is the great corrupter.

Furthermore, staying under the protective umbrella of the UK is not as ridiculous as it sounds. Fourteen territories enjoy protectorate status: "United Kingdom Overseas Territories (UKOTs), also known as British Overseas Territories (BOTs), have constitutional and historical links with the UK but do not form part of the United Kingdom itself. The (king) is the head of state of all the UKOTs, and (he) is represented by a governor or commissioner (apart from the UK sovereign base areas administered by MOD). Each territory has its own constitution, government and local laws."

That is the reparations we should demand from the UK. To bring us back into the fold and restore sanity to beleaguered citizens. We should find the courage to admit we have failed to become a nation where all citizens are treated equally despite their political leaning. That is why we have become so corrupt and have learned to accept it as the norm, that is, until now that the criminals, the gangs have arrived at our doorstep. We need to make a 180-degree turn to return to the fun-loving, accepting, respectful people we once were.


"Trinidad and Tobago on a self-destructive path?"

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