Princes Town, as elsewhere, on a Saturday afternoon, evokes carnival-esque carefree-ness, a sense of jubilation that all is good and life couldn’t be better; but on Saturday 3rd September, 2020 what emanated in the air was a sense of doom and gloom by the scores of people seriously going about their business as if they all felt doomsday was upon them and that instead of the usual frivolity that says they are Trini to the bone, there was the gloominess in the lines formed to enter the supermarkets, the impassable traffic jam trying to get gasoline from the one gas station in the area, and you know there was more to it all than just a people spectacularly responding to the term conspicuous consumption.
For a moment one didn’t get it, but then it hit home that something momentous was about to happen in this country and peoples of all creed and race (particularly PNM people) were at the supermarkets trying to get their last pound of pork and salt fish, and commuters were making it near impossible to drive through High Street as filling up one’s tank became a life and death imperative.
Under the PNM, from Williams to now, this panic buying before every budget day has been ritual. One knew for a fact that under the PNM there were no goodies to be got because their minister was no Santa Claus. In fact, in his reincarnation of Scrooge, he comes with his hands already in your pockets – not to put anything but to pick it.
We all know this but yet we return them to power in a classic masochistic example of that term in psychology. We know that under the PNM we are visited by the curse of Papa Doc of Haiti and the blight of Mugabe of Zimbabwe and yet like zombies, we invite them into our land as if we know not the dire consequences of so doing.
What was most ironic in the doomsday crowds of Saturday was the blatant fact that most of them were known loyal supporters of the PNM who were desperately trying to escape the tyranny of their party’s incompetence even though, just weeks ago they shouted great is the PNM.
Opponents retorted, yes, great is the PNM incompetence, great would be the increase in food and gas prices, but they refused to hear and see for there are none so blind as those who will not see and none so deaf as those wo refuse to hear. For such blindness and deafness, the reward will be the weeping and gnashing of teeth when the cash register rings and their wallets are empty.
So what do we do, for something has to be done? The people who chant we like it so and great is the PNM are just a minority in this country and thus the tail is wagging the dog. About seventy per cent of the population is letting this happen and just casting blame on those who like it so.
We simply have to unite as a force under some visionary and charismatic leader who is not bogged down by adherence to nepotism and favouritism, but one who seeks the best and brightest (from which there are many) and lift this land to the heights it should be.
In the words of Robert Kennedy, I quote: “Some dream dreams and ask why, but I dream dreams that never were and say why, not!
L Siddhartha Orie