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Nakhid: One day, we will despise our sheepish silence during Covid-19 crisis

‘I have never understood Nakhid and I still don’t, but a truth teller if ever there was one, no sycophant eat ah food mentality like so many of our commentators” — Mt D’or resident and Santos legend, Big Red, in his critique of Wired868 article, ‘Fire next time’.

‘If people hold high expectations of you, do everything in your power to prove them right’ — Arabic proverb from Saint Ali ibn Abu Taleb.

Photo: Former Trinidad and Tobago football captain David Nakhid speaks at the 2015 Play The Game conference in Aarhus, Denmark.
(Copyright Thomas Søndergaard/Play The Game)

As more and more masks are being worn globally, more and more masks are being thrown off locally. Those, without the convenient blinders of wilful ignorance did not need the crisis of Covid-19 to alert us to the danger at hand.

Now in a seemingly never ending cultural free-fall, we have succumbed completely to our North American mimicry of hardline partisan, political loyalty by swallowing—even while choking—the dubious, corrupt utterances of our country’s political leaders.

Wilfully unaware that vigilance is key to our pursuit of democracy, we use this tragic crisis to call for sheepish silence in the face of government missteps, cover-ups and blatant lies. Listen people, without a dog in this fight but being now on the ground for sometime, I give you these facts: the most under-served, under-sieged, under-privileged communities of Trinidad and Tobago continue to be the so-called black communities of the East-West corridor.

These ‘children of the PNM’, as they now mockingly refer to themselves, continue to support a party that has enriched the so-called French Creole Trinbagonians, then the so-called Syrian-Lebanese Trinbagonians, and now, for some time, the so-called Chinese Trinbagonians are the priority.

Even Selwyn Cudjoe—yes, Selwyn Cudjoe!—has lamented that not even the black politicos of the PNM have benefitted from the corrupt largesse. So I ask again, if this is not a fact as some may attest, what is the condition of the black communities of Trinbago’s East-West corridor?

Photo: Boy in Laventille.
(Copyright Johanne Rahaman via phmuseum.com)

Well let’s first establish some criteria that we all can relate  to, so we can ascertain if what I have stated is fact or fiction. Proper economic access, proper educational access, proper healthcare access and adequate social safety is almost non-existent in these at-risk black communities. Little or nothing has changed since the 15 odd years I pointed this out to the national community.

Driving up Laventille hill to my late Mamma’s house, San Juan hill to see my big brother Andre, Mt D’or hill to sit with life long friends ‘Scabby’ and Hassan, or St Joseph hill on my way home to where our late patriarch Joseph Nakhid started it all, the paucity of infrastructure is unmistakable to me.

Water, roads, electricity, Educational facilities all in obvious decline. St Joseph’s Boys RC looks exactly like it did 50 years ago. The cynical among us might comment: ‘but our communities are also in decline, why should Laventille be any different?’

But that’s the point. We all know that, other than the wealthy and super wealthy communities, the entire nation is in decline, which then begs the obvious question: will Carnival be cancelled or postponed next year if this coronavirus pandemic continues to plague the globe? Too early? Outta place?

Well then, what do you say about a government who actually issued warnings about the dangers facing our country, then chose to ignore them. And then to add insult to death, continues to add spin upon spin at their daily offerings of political drivel.

Photo: Medical personnel conduct coronavirus testing in the parking lot outside of Raymond James Stadium on 25 March 25 2020 in Tampa, Florida.
The testing is being done by appointment only. (Copyright AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

Granted it would have been a monumental decision to postpone or even cancel Carnival, but that’s what leaders do; they make monumental decisions with the vision, clarity and greater public good always to the fore.

It’s easy to stage a horse and pony show—to contain and control the political fallout of a historically poor decision. But it’s dishonest and all too easy when a country is scared, unsure, insecure and unknowing.

We have morphed into a people who when we look back with historical eyes, will despise ourselves.

‘Leave the government alone, they doing dey best.’

Are they? It’s like praising the drug dealer who injected your son with a lethal dose of heroin and then drove him to the hospital.

‘Leave dey ass in Barbados, we must protect ourselves.’

How despicable—anomie at its worst! Because if we are honest with ourselves, if any of those left stranded in Barbados were our fathers, mothers, daughters or sons, we’d be pleading to have them brought back.

Don’t fall for the political sleight of hand that Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley verbally displayed about his daughter in New York. I’m pretty sure that her actual circumstances are drastically different.

Photo: One of thousands of travellers who were stuck at airports due to cancelled flights and hurriedly closed borders as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, the soft-boned Stuart Young spews his dogma of patriotism, appealing to our lesser angels that we must protect our people here in Trinbago at the expense of our fellow citizens.

A leading suffragette once exclaimed: ‘Patriotism has always been the refuge of scoundrels’. It’s for those without a moral centre, unable to find solutions based on what is right, decent and proper. Expecting better from our political leaders is like expecting a dog to not lick it’s own arse.

My consternation, though, is with the leaders of our churches, mosques, temples and civic organisations.

No words on the matter? No moral outrage at what is eminently immoral? No fire, brimstone or Gehenna for these political leaders?

What gets me, what irks me, what angers me, is that we as a people know the deficit within our political leaders. We know that they have failed us. If God forbid the 100,000 people that came into Carnival did play a part in community spread, and we are the people left stranded and isolated, will we then empathise with our black communities now stranded, isolated, decimated?

We all know the answer; and this government is certainly not it.

About David Nakhid

David Nakhid
David Nakhid is the founder and director of the David Nakhid International Football Academy in Beirut, Lebanon and was the first Trinidad and Tobago international to play professionally in Europe. The two-time Caribbean and T&T Player of the Year and cerebral midfielder once represented FC Grasshopper (Switzerland), Waregem (Belgium), POAK (Greece), New England Revolution (US), Al Emirates (UAE) and Al Ansar (Lebanon).

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5 comments

  1. Excellent👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾.

  2. Politics aside, Nakhid has always been a man of great vision, on and off the field. Saw it first-hand during his Inter-Col days at St. Mary’s. Most may not remember this but David was the unsung hero that helped to get T&T to the World Cup in 2006. Just when the campaign was looking hopeless, Mr. Nakhid was the one who recommended Mr. Beenhakker to the authorities for the head coaching job. As they like to say, the rest is history.

  3. Fantastic and inspiring article. I have always looked up to David as a big brother. He was a mentor to me in and off the field and continues to be

  4. Excellent piece👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾

  5. Excellent!