The Urban dictionary defines dissing as ‘utterances of a (dis)respectful nature’ and goes on to add ‘not doing right thing… not showing common decency’ and ‘not creating balance in our world’.
Twice this week, we were forced to witness our leaders dissing us and contributing to keeping our world off-kilter. What have we done to deserve them?
The first one came from our newly minted Youth Minister, our local Ben Shapiro of whom it was said: ‘whenever he is trending on Twitter, it means another cringe-inducing moment has gone viral’. Posting on Facebook, Minister Fitzgerald Hinds related how he walked away from an encounter with a young man who asked for money to purchase food: an encounter that supposedly energised him to do his new job.
This was a staggering self-disclosure. Hinds is the line minister for the Anthony Watkins-led Community Recovery Committee, of which Dr Keith Rowley has high hopes for actionable plans to help the at-risk communities.
The post confirms the suffocating arrogance that this son of a former dockworker possesses and shows how one, having ascended, can mindlessly kick down the proverbial ladder of social mobility.
The post demonstrates a complete, continuous lack of political astuteness: his constituency is disinterested in the polls with the second lowest turnout for the 2020 elections, he remains none the wiser after the run-in with opposing constituency members and the struggles of his fellow MPs for Tunapuna and La Horquetta went over his head.
All the youths in the at-risk communities now know clearly that he is one ‘soldier’ that cannot be depended upon. Minister Hinds clearly is unafraid of Martin Luther King Jr’s foreboding assessment: ‘riots are the language of the unheard’.
Snatching the spotlight from this horrible display was our Opposition Leader, who is determined to not bring out the best in us. At election times, the manifestoes are supposed to excite us with dreams for the future; but sadly it appears that, for her, it was another box to be ticked.
Her actions post-elections have not helped us to dream larger dreams. And now she caps the week with a slate of senators not widely known as thoughtful visionary people.
Her Senatorial appointments are designed to feed the trolls on Facebook and represent a cynical effort to be the ‘baddest bad’. In the face of the strident cries by dissidents within the party, she has pulled one from their playbook as a means of survival.
Mr Suruj Rambachan, in advocating the UNC’s case for being a national party, said: ‘The UNC works so hard to ensure diversity […] sometimes to the point of raising the ire of its membership to have people from all ethnicities’.
He continued by citing the appointment of the last president: “[…] There would be [the] perception that the leadership positions in the country reflect its diversity… That is the extent to which sacrifices are made in the UNC to ensure that there is diversity in high offices and that the people are represented in the governance of this country, from every sector.”
The selection of certain Senators fit the criteria for leadership set out by Mr Rambachan, when he inadvertently told us: “When you roar in the Parliament, the People’s National Movement (PNM) get very ruffled in their seats… the kind of person you require in Parliament when you have to face those members of the PNM, especially those who have caustic mouths like [Fitzgerald] Hinds.”
The job of the new Senators is to demonstrate this ability to roar. Her choices are a slap in the faces of the proverbial ‘swing voters’—but this is not the immediate concern. To be perceived as being ‘bad’, the bile from dark corners is transferred into what should be a place of sober reflection and reason.
We, the nation, are not the object of desire. We are cockroaches in fowl business.
Social media throbs: the base must never see any compromise. Pressure is put on both political leaders and all would-be leaders to show no mercy even if it kills us, the citizens.
Some seek to normalise bitterness. We can no longer disagree without being disagreeable but must attack the other side, questioning their decency and sincerity.
Rather than have an open mind to examine the situations, we begin with our entrenched view and seek to find supporting evidence of which the Internet is laden. We will live in different worlds and have less understanding of what each other faces and all the while become more distrustful of our institutions.
None of the Senators would be brave enough to seek compromise since they are not put there to do so. Their mantra? ‘The more I hurt you, the better I look.’
In this approach, there is no regard for the ravages of the virus nor the economic fallout. We could ignore the dire warnings about the lack of foreign exchange because we want to ‘score one’!
No sense of sacrifice and no experience of national pride. ‘Dog eat dog’ mentality reigns. We are all seeking to ‘hang jack’ while the house is burning down. There is apparently no more pressing business than to oppose those who we consider ‘the others’.
We cannot agree on what are facts and we certainly struggle with what should be considered to be moral and fair. Our only clear-cut view is winning political power for me and my tribe.
May The Almighty mercifully remove these plagues from our dwelling.
Your very well written article paints a compelling picture of our nation as a badly warped, ditched wheel. That you were able to do so without the use of biblespeak is especially commendable. The spiritual underpinnings were nonetheless very evident.
I join you in prayer.
Mr. Hinds’ comments about the beggars were clumsy, but is he not right in some way. I have experienced beggars locally and internationally and some simply don’t accept a no, some you practically have to chase away, in some countries begging is illegal. There was a girl in Europe that came with a child and a card with multiple sentences translated into multiple languages saying something to the effect of ”child sick”, then I went to another European city in another country and saw another girl with the exact same cards trying the exact same thing (organised begging gangs/mafia from eastern Europe!). Now I am not saying it have no poor people, but fake beggars make it bad for the real ones. So a person approaches you and wants money, do you have to say yes? no. You can say yes, you can say no, you can inquire what they want and why, or you can simply ignore them. Nobody can put an accusation of immorality on a person for refusing to give their hard earned money to a stranger who is or is not a genuine beggar.
Mr. Hinds’ mistake was writing about it on a public platform, he could have made his experience and talked about it at his dinner table with his wife, but instead he ventilated this in the public sphere and now he is having to deal with 1000 opinions.
And of course as a political leader it looks bad, because people expect a gracious, caring, always willing to help kind of leader, we expect them to be what we might not be, but the man is human. He maybe just spent 1 hour in a store, walking the isles, maybe he signed 10 autographs and kissed 5 babies and took 5 pictures while there and now again somebody approaches him and wants something, the man is only human.
The issue here is not the 20 dollars for the beggar, the real issue is that persons who are jobless end up begging. Why is there no social welfare net in TT. A little bridge in between jobs just as we see in Europe and north America. This is a very serious thing that our country must look into. The beggar is the symptom of a system that didn’t do better for the people. It is not PNM or UNC it is the entire political class. Let me be clear I am not talking about giving people welfare for 10 years non stop, I am talking about a person having a job that they lose and now there are some months were they look for a job and they need a bridge in between to survive, and each person who works could contribute to this is some small percentage.
I once read an essay with the title “How to say nothing in 500 words.”
I have completely forgotten the author and you’re 30 or 40 words short but the title came back to me as I read you comment.
But don’t let that trouble you; you’re guaranteed an audience if you time your comments well.
John Hannibal Charles and I are gluttons for verbal punishment and bored on a Sunday morning. .
They say art is in the eye of the beholder, for me the beholder is the one who makes something, not the one who walks by and critiques it.
I am not going g to address the issue of the appropriateness of Mr. Hinds’ statement or the selection of Opposition senators only there is no social safety net in Trinidad and Tobago. Patently false as a statement. Starting with Senior Citizens Pension Act, Widows and Orphans Pension Act, and the Public Assistance Act and these are just the ones contained in legislation. There are many more programmes that are run by the Social Development Ministry that are part of the national safety net.
If this can pass for thought provoking commentary, I think I am going to become a prolific, expansive, searchingly critical purveyor of words.
But then again, who reads these things except the few literate like me, gluttons for verbal punishment, and bored on a Sunday morning. .
Please Noble there simply is no parallel between Minister Hinds action and Anil Roberts appointment. Furthermore leave Jesus’s actions out of this. What if Minister Hinds had offered to purchase the food instead and the next person and the necxt person. I see ‘beggars with 3 and 4 boxes of food sitting by the road. You clearly are not in touch with the reality of modern day street dwellers. No wonder POS have filth at every corner you bend. I was sharing money at the hospice in POS when i ran out of change one of the dwellers offered to change the hundred dollar for me and he did.
This is what passes as ‘balance’ and objectivity in T&T media today. This is why Kamla and the UNC will never rehabilitate…there’s no incentive! T&T media never holds the UNC or their supporters’ behaviour accountable, without trying to drag the PNM & their supporters into the mix, with false equivocations. The same racist, anti-african outbursts post elections from 1995, 2001,2015 &2020 from the UNC and its’ supporters, gets the “both treatment, even though all the reports and social media evidence point exclusively to the UNC &its supporters. Interestingly though, whenever the PNMis due for criticism, it sticks solely on them. How in the world could anil roberts, a former minister tied to VERY serious and credible, evidence based allegations, as well as his foul mouthed radio contributions, be compared to fitzgerald hinds’ reputation? Have any of you SEEN anil roberts’ post smiling and eating a bannana, while “UNC supporters” make racist connections to Dr. Rowley (africans) and animals? where is the equivalence in Dr. Rowley’s judgement in selecting representatives? Welcome to T&T society & media’s orwellian farm.
Anil Roberts was criticised where it was deemed appropriate. Fitzgerald Hinds was criticised where deemed appropriate. All the other bits about giving UNC ‘incentive’ to rehabilitate has no bearing on this column.
Yes….because lasana says so…right? Ironically, your ‘jump in’, is an endorsement of all the ‘other bits’ and their bearings on this column. Stones in your garden?
Cite one CONCRETE example of bias on the part of Lasana LIBURD–apart from his obvious support for David John-Williams, of course–and we MAY give you a hearing.
Until then, you’re barking up completely the wrong tree, bro. You’d be lucky if you manage to get 1% support on this forum.