Cloaked under a history of darkness of governance, is Trinidad and Tobago. A country birthed from the toils of our fore-parents once bounded by bondage and shackled to servitude. From these rose a small island republic flourishing from the blessings of the earth; sugar, rice, coffee, cocoa, oil and gas.
The dry season sight of bobbing black cinders, dancing in the air from the illuminated plains, and the sugary scent of the smoke told us all, ahhhh, it’s cane season. The farmers and workers made some, while the country sold some then made more. Then came the flooded plains of the wet season. Bodies, arched down, toiling relentlessly to ensure that our basic staple remained thriving.
A bumper harvest meant not just surviving, but living, for those who beat and fanned and milled. They made some, then the nation made more. And in the background, through floods and dry spells always being nursed, were the coffee and the cocoa. They dried and grated, they brewed and boiled, drinking in that liquid blessing that enriched their souls and fattened the nation’s purse.
Liquid gold. How richly blessed we were. Sprouting from the womb of the earth, the oil and the gas rewarding us richly, as our people worked the nation sold, and our profits grew.
From this our country rose. Services developed, infrastructure improved, the educated increased; our society’s wellness could have been attended to. But darkness, it loomed.
Despite our richness, that darkness festered in red, and crept and crawled, sneaking out of the shadows of our history to parade on to the streets and on platforms, to flash across television screens and to spew from red-mouthed leaders.
Under this shroud of gloom, galvanised roofs and concrete walls sit on our most fertile soils. Where lush fields of sugar cane stood proudly to face the sun lay now expanses of weeds that cannot be harvested and processed, or refined and sold. Just weeds. Where rice danced to the mighty winds now a dank odour of abandonment permeates the air. Estates of coffee and cocoa are few and far between. Forsaken lands. Exiled jobs and shunned revenue now hover above us casting a veil of hardship and misery being led by red. The lines of fire rising into the air are no more. The liquid blessings lay in their beds waiting to be gushed upwards.
But sadly, our oil and our gas remain asleep as our lands lay rejected, as our people find themselves jobless, hopeless and powerless, waiting in anticipation of a ray of light.
Our history has given us two eras of resounding light that though brief, have resonated and have shined its rays of trade and revenue, of growth and development, of equality and equity, of hope and anticipation of each new day and of empowerment and agency to all, breaking through the gloomy umbrella of red neglect while the PNM reigned.
Through the visions of Prime Minister Basdeo Panday and Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar through the UNC and the PP stewardship, like parents, dedicated to the upliftment of their children and their homes, the nation was twice blessed. Education was boosted and made free. Laptops were given to the teenage school-goers. Medicines were made available to all. The lives of our most seriously ill children were given national priority. Investment became accessible.
Shining through the nation, yellow rays of democracy and development dispelled the darkness that had swollen and engulfed us. With the dark policies and murky politics of a red agenda once again slithering over our lives like the oppressive master, the only hope for our nation is for light to overcome the red darkness.
For our nation Trinidad and Tobago, our only hope is through the dignity and democracy of the UNC and the mothering hands of Mrs. Kamla Persad-Bissessar. In her lies the beacon of light. Defending the lands. And while battling, uniting with our sentinels at her side while she awaits her children to find their way home. It will only be through the leadership of Mrs. Kamla Persad-Bissessar, wrapped by her national embrace, that we can live as true citizens of this democracy.
And it is only through the beaming light of the UNC, that this torrential darkness that floods our nation can ever be dispelled.