Daly Bread: Whose ears have stick? Will gov’t finally take presidential advice?

‘Like stick break in yuh ears’ is one of our colloquial expressions, frequently addressed to the stubborn. The admonition can have a contemptuous tone, but our rulers have used it with reference to those who persist in gathering in defiance of coronavirus regulations and common sense.

We can use it right back at our rulers, though. It looks like stick is broken in their ears, not ours. No less a person than the president of the Republic previously questioned whether we can trust our political leaders to listen to us.

Photo: President Paula-Mae Weekes.
(via Office of the President)

In her robust New Year’s day message, she stated that while the government of the day may have some of the matters of concern of citizens in its sights: ‘those in the kitchen are feeling the heat daily and are not sympathetic to hackneyed excuses, promises of action and sob stories, which they have heard ad nauseam, with nothing to show for it’.

The president of the Republic is well aware of the limits of her office, which require her not to enter any specific partisan political fray, but commentators may seek to raise some matters for which her words are apt.

One ‘sob story heard ad nauseam’ is that ‘the UNC did it; blame them’! The UNC has been out of office for more than five years and has tied itself to the low credibility of Leader of the Opposition Kamla Persad-Bissessar.  

The government is beating a UNC bobolee that does not even have stuffing inside its caricature body.

Photo: PNM party members campaign in St Joseph, during the 2020 General Election.
(via PNM)

A singeing example of ‘the heat those in the kitchen are feeling daily’ is the education deficiency, and I am sorry to harp on it, but I maintain it is an education death sentence for those children already at a disadvantage in the socio-economic wilderness. That is just plainly wrong.

It took this government nearly all of its preceding five year term to hear and heed that there was such a wilderness, before appointing a community recovery committee and subsequently appointing a heavily blinkered minister of youth development—whose patronising assessment of an ‘able-bodied’ man that approached him for a lil $20 to buy something to eat, caused significant outrage.

Regarding the continuing, cruel and discriminatory online education deficiency, I read in the Newsday last Sunday something directly relevant to what I had written in this column that very day. The Ministry of Education was now acknowledging the deficiency in possession of devices for online learning by reference to actual figures.

The bottom line is that of the 65,000 students without devices in October 2020, roughly half of them would receive devices. So 30,000 plus students still have no devices. When will the Ministry of Education officials also tell us how many students have no connectivity?

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago has had issues switching to online education, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

They should read again the advice of President Paula-Mae Weekes to ‘stop being so secretive (except in the interest of national security) paranoid and dismissive of the anxieties of our citizens’. Then they might also acknowledge that we cannot find an approach to end the cruelty and discrimination against our children, until disclosure of all the requirements to make online learning available to all.

I have asserted that the giving of devices in photo-ops is a corporate and political fantasy because the connectivity problem does not appear to be receiving priority.  I was comforted when I read a piece in the Los Angeles Daily News, sent to me by a reader, which stimulated further inquiry.

The Los Angeles Unified School District is the second largest public school district in the United States. With reference to the disparities in access to devices and connectivity, a lead researcher into inequities in distance learning for minority students in Los Angeles put it this way: 

“If schools are expected to contribute to social mobility and create lifelong opportunities for children, there needs to be a concerted effort at federal, state and local level to address these disparities.”

Photo: No Wifi…

In Los Angeles, public/private sector co-operation to close the digital divide has led to collaboration with wireless communication companies to provide mobile hot spots for the disadvantaged students.  

Are we capable of a similar initiative? Don’t we have hot spots for Carnival celebrations?

More from Wired868
Daly Bread: Answers required for accountability in DPP imbroglio

Persons in public life frequently exercise power without accountability. As President Paula-Mae Weekes was recently demitting office, we were reminded Read more

President Kangaloo: “My way is to be your diplomat-in-chief… there is already too much shouting going on”

“[…] Looking ahead to the seventh presidency of Trinidad and Tobago, some of the things I hope to see are Read more

Daly Bread: In the land of Jarndyce—the law is in danger of losing its teeth

I have a friend who I will call Jarndyce, to protect his identity and save him from victimization. His story Read more

Noble: What’s going on, with open season on Office of the DPP?

These days I feel like Marvin Gaye, the singer of the 1971 Billboard hit “What’s going on?” Confronted by the Read more

Noble: When will we hold accountable those “honourable” members who lead?

“When a crime is not punished quickly, people feel it is safe to do wrong.” Ecclesiastes 8: 11 Last week’s Read more

Daly Bread: The unease of doing business in T&T—and the difficulty in “getting thru”

The inquiry “yuh get thru?” is commonplace. It means: did you succeed in completing the business or personal transaction you Read more

About Martin Daly

Martin Daly
Martin G Daly SC is a prominent attorney-at-law. He is a former Independent Senator and past president of the Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago. He is chairman of the Pat Bishop Foundation and a steelpan music enthusiast.

Check Also

Daly Bread: Answers required for accountability in DPP imbroglio

Persons in public life frequently exercise power without accountability. As President Paula-Mae Weekes was recently …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.