Now that Trinbagonians have already successfully completed their “shopping mayhem” per “Black Friday Sale: Back to Black savings with huge Discounts,” “Black Friday super sale,” “Black Friday 3-Day Sale,” “Black Fry–Day Deals,” “Black Friday Sales,” “Black Friday Weekend Super Sale” plus “Best Black Friday Deals … Today Only” and in the process overtly and scandalously imitating the post —United States Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 28 events/activities, it is indeed apropos to examine the Americanisation of specific aspects of life in T&T.
For starters, the first official Halloween celebration in the United States took place on October 31, 1920 but today this original American celebration has become intrinsically and comfortably intertwined with the modus vivendi of the people of T&T.
In fact, stores now offer “Halloween Make-up,” “Halloween Costumes,” “Halloween Specials” and “Halloween Madness Sale”, just to name a few copycats.
The fact of the matter is that the American-oriented Halloween celebration has crept into this country “in a big way” with children immersed in trick or treating from house to house dressed in appropriate costumes.
On the heels of this American Halloween Trini celebration, one finds that the “luck of the Irish” is also celebrated annually on March 17 with patrons decked out in the traditional green attire on this St Paddy’s Day. “We like it so.”
And not to be outdone, malls have joined the T&T –American bandwagon by offering “Fall/Winter selection of Coats, Goose Down Sweaters, Scarves (a la PM Dr Keith Rowley sitting in the nation’s Parliament), Gloves and more for Children and Adults.” Maybe, just maybe, on the geographic scale, the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago is now posited in the temperate zone.
Ergo, it need occasion no great surprise to witness a grown, adult Trini male wearing a heavy-duty Winter coat in downtown Port of Spain amidst the boiling/blistering /sweltering hot, hot, hot sun.
Indeed, by far the most detrimental, debilitating and destructive impact/effect of the Americanisation of life in T&T occurs in the culinary, as in fast food arena. Trinbagonians have now acquired an overt disdain for local foods. In fact, they desire, albeit crave, American foreign fast foods—unhealthy or not. Trinbagonians just want/prefer foreign.
The stark culinary reality is that “25 per cent of secondary school children and 23 per cent of primary school pupils in T&T are overweight, predisposing them to heart disease and diabetes.” In addition, over a ten-year period, “obesity in children increased some 400 per cent from 2.4 per cent to 12.5 per cent.”
And, of course, the backdrop of all the afore-mentioned is the massive proliferation of American fast food outlets in the country. They are ubiquitous, period. They range from Subway, Pizza Hut, Burger King, McDonald’s, Church’s Chicken, Popeye’s Chicken and Sea Food, Wendy’s and KFC.
Now, for the sake of this analysis, KFC was purposely left in last place because of the prime location of one of its outlets in T&T. This American KFC outlet is located smack on Independence Square in the nation’s capital but the American dominance does not stop there. Indeed, when one looks at the building, it becomes very clear and obvious that the marquee of the KFC’s Colonel Sanders (who is from California, United States) towers over us in overpowering the diminutive statue of Captain Arthur Andrew Cipriani (who was born in Trinidad and Tobago).
The crucial, fundamental questions that immediately come to the fore are: What’s wrong with this picture?. Is this logistical format the sign of an independent people? Or put another way: Would Americans allow a marquee of T&T’s Hosein’s Roti Shop to tower over, as in overpowering, former president Abraham Lincoln?. No, no, no.
The first national hero award bestowed upon Cipriani is another question. Cipriani has been lauded as the nation’s first hero. That is NOT historically true.
The salient historical truism is that T&T’s first national hero is no one else but former leader of the Nepuyo people. He was the most famous Kalinago (Carib) and his name is Hyarima---a chieftain/cacique who established villages throughout north-east Trinidad. Indeed, he was the one who masterminded the total destruction/burning down of Trinidad’s old capital, St Joseph, on October 14, 1637. In other words, Hyarima viciously and violently sought to destroy Euro-Spanish colonialism in T&T, period. Ipso fact, this feat makes him T&T’s revolutionary national hero.
In the final analysis, it is very instructive to recall that in 1956, Sparrow (Francisco Slinger) told us in song: “De Yankees Gone”, but as reality check presses the fast-forward button, oops, they’re b-a-c-k. In other words, the colonised in T&T have replaced the Euro-British coloniser with the Euro-American re-coloniser.