The Central Bank Governor, the financial regulatory bodies of Trinidad and Tobago, all banking institutions, the media, and those who have owned the rights over the years to speak on behalf all the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago, have come together with a united voice to condemn the development of what they call Ponzi schemes, pyramid schemes and sou sou for gifting communities in T&T.
What is of importance to this narrative is the absence of people who are involved in these Blessing Communities to add their voices to truly inform the population on this vexing issue.
The Trinidad and Tobago United Voice Against Gifting Communities made it their duty to label these communities as pyramid and Ponzi schemes over and over again to ensure fear is riveted in the hearts of the citizens to scare them away from this new opportunity.
They believe by repeating the Ponzi scheme and pyramid scheme constantly it will eventually stick, and those who like to walk the “high moral” road will avoid this new “dangerous” path.
What the so-called advisors to these communities all have in common is that they are not members of these communities, thus lacking some of the most minute and crucial details required to make a more in-depth analysis of the inner workings, legitimate structure, and fairness of the process.
Additionally, what they have not considered is the many years this new format of sou sou has been running in many African American church based communities without end.
However, there are some hard questions the Central Bank Governor, The Trinidad and Tobago United Voice Against Gifting Communities and the rest of our society need to ask ourselves.
Question: Who are these people constituting and participating in these Blessing Communities in Trinidad and Tobago?
Answer: They are lawyers, doctors, bank workers, teachers, engineers, public servants, trades men, farmers, laborers, housewives, the unemployed educated and uneducated, to name a few.
Question: Have all these categories of people suddenly become financially illiterate due to the advent of Gifting Communities?
Question: If the banking sector always has the best interest of the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago at heart, why are ordinary citizens leaving their security, comfort, and care to invest in “losing financial schemes”?
Answer: Thousands of black and brown citizens have long held the view that we have been marginalised and taken advantage of by the banks in many ways.
The banks are more prepared to give Afro-Trinidadians loans to purchase cars and Carnival costumes than to open a business. Bank fees are extremely high in this country, if you leave your money for a little while without touching it, within a few months it is severely eroded by their unreasonable monthly fees.
Furthermore, mention must be made of the discomfort members of the public are forced to experience due to the lack of public washrooms at their establishments, with the exception of JMMB Bank, their faithful and long-standing customers are at their mercy, including the elderly.
As a result of COVID-19, the public has to endure the harsh reality of the raw elements hammering our bodies while standing in long line outside the banks to access our own money.
People have lost monies in their accounts over the years in one form or another, but no call from The Trinidad and Tobago United Voice Against Gifting Communities to halt operations across the banking sector as a result of a few bad apples.
Question: If the The Trinidad and Tobago United Voice Against Gifting Communities is so genuinely concerned about the citizens losing their hard-earned money, why are similar efforts are not made to stop Lotto, Play Whe, and casino gambling? Are these not schemes where thousands lose money every day?
Answer: Once you lose your money to the state or big businesses it is ok and legal. Herein is the hypocrisy of your concerns for citizens putting their money to good use.
The level of interest that hundreds of thousands of citizens contributing to the Blessing Communities is a push back against the years of sustained advantage members of the public have suffered under the hands of big businesses in Trinidad and Tobago.
The citizens are angry and see this as a financial revolution taking place among conscious people. It will do the Central Bank Governor well to know what the cause is before addressing the effect.
Genuinely concerned leadership would approach this situation differently. The issue is a delicate one akin to financial slavery and indentureship all over again in the minds of many.
Using the police to break down “Admins” doors, to beat us on our backs, and then steal our last cent invested can lead this country into a very painful place.
The way forward can benefit us all as a people. For a solution to be had, great care must be put into considering people’s feelings of hurt and rejection over the years of advantage and discrimination.
The Governor of the Central Bank and the other financial regulatory bodies should sit down with several honest administrators of these Blessings Communities, listen properly to how they operate and function and provide sound financial safeguards with them to ensure that we have the best product.
We cannot afford to throw out the baby with the bathwater, that heavy-handed approach will not work in 2020, bearing in mind the category of people mentioned above involved in this movement. So far the ordinary citizen is only seeing protectionism for the establishment and their advice is not coming across as genuine.
A word to the wise is sufficient!