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Darryn Boodan is a freelance writer

Dear Minister of National Security Stuart Young,

I know these are difficult times for you. T&T is in the middle of a pandemic, violent crime continues to plague the nation, and worst of all US ambassadors can’t keep their mouths shut. Sir, I have taken notice of the numerous newspaper editorials, including those in the Express, calling for your resignation, and I want to offer you my full support.

Take it from me I know first hand how obsessed newspaper editors are with pointless and stupid questions. Such as, who allowed a sanctioned aircraft to enter our borders? Or how could the Prime Minister not be aware Delcy Rodriguez had in her company, Asdrubal Chavez, Hugo Chavez’s cousin and a high ranking member of the Maduro regime? And, who downloaded “Missionary Impossible” using the company server?

Minister Young, you have done nothing wrong. When you say you opened our closed borders to allow Venezuelan vice president Delcy Rodriguez to enter because she wanted to “discuss Covid-19” I completely believe you. Covid-19 is serious and warrants emergency meetings. Even my uncle Lalchan and his friends have been having regular Covid-19 meetings at the back of Joyce’s bar every day. Plus, as you later added, Ms Rodriguez was really concerned about the impact the pandemic would have on Venezuelan refugees in Trinidad. That makes perfect sense because given how Maduro treats his citizens, I imagine any new way Venezuelans can suffer would excite Ms Rodriguez.

Minister Young, I know many people in our biased and corrupt media are attacking you because you met with the Venezuelan vice president one day after Nicolas Maduro himself was charged for narco-trafficking and terrorism by the United States Department of Justice. But the public doesn’t understand what the job of Minister of National Security entails, which, judging by you, is mostly about policing social media.

Sir, I’ll personally never forget when you saved the people of Trinidad and Tobago from the havoc being wreaked by notorious Facebook troll “Johnny Walker”. I remember dark days Sir, of going online and reading Johnny’s posts making fun of you and the PNM. My family and I would huddle together on the floor of our house praying and asking, “who will save us from this menace?” And then you appeared Sir! You courageously posted on Johnny’s wall informing him that you had tracked him down, knew what his real name was and where he lived. That’s the serious job you do Minister Young. You can’t be held responsible for every frivolous thing like sanctioned planes or alleged narco-traffickers that enter the country and meet with the Prime Minister, all just because there is paperwork proving you authorised it.

But there have been so many other highlights during your stewardship that stand out. Do you remember the terrible floods of 2019 that left so many devastated? I’ll never forget when, amidst the scenes of tragic loss, you put on your boots and bravely held a post-Cabinet news conference saying flood victims should be asked why they built their homes in natural ponds. I almost cried Sir. It was so inspiring. It reminded me of Winston Churchill during the blitz, when he went on BBC radio and said: “Why did you build London under Nazi aircraft?”

Then of course Sir, there was the Prime Minister’s visionary project: the Tobago Sandals resort. Do you remember when in November of 2018 when journalist Mark Meredith published a story showing the Sandals’ preliminary master plan. Sketches of the plan showed over-water structures on “No Man’s Land” and near the Buccoo Reef. You rightly condemned the sketches as “fake news”. Sir, I was so proud of how you stood up to the lies of these crooked environmentalists. Plus when it turned out the sketches were actually the real ones Sandals submitted to the Environmental Management Authority, you treated the matter with the quiet dignity of not commenting.

And who could forget what should be your proudest moment: Sir, the rescue of the Trinidadian boys from Syria. Sir, as you told the media, the rescue of those poor boys back in 2019 was the result of a special team you put together called “Team Nightingale”. I presume it was called that because “Team Fairytale” was already taken. Anyway Sir, I can see it now; you dressed as Rambo leading a crack squadron, breaking into war-torn Syria and risking your life. It’s so heroic. That’s why I find it so despicable that the boys’ own lawyer Clive Stafford Smith, says that the Government “played no part whatsoever” in the rescue. Or Josh Surtees, the reporter who accompanied the boys from Syria, who was so incensed by the Newsday reports claiming your involvement that he resigned from the Newsday. Some people are just ungrateful Sir.

Lastly Minister Young, I especially want you to know that as someone who gets paid to lampoon the absurdity of public officials, I appreciate the work you do. The public might not, nor the media, nor anyone concerned about the integrity of governance, but I appreciate you. You Sir, are what I call a “gold mine”. For the sake of this column, please don’t resign.

Your friend and voter, Darryn.

—Darryn Boodan is a freerlance writer


I hadn’t intended to write a word; my feelings were raw and I felt that everything I could possibly say had already been expressed. I had already begun writing about something else for this column, but I couldn’t do it. I didn’t feel that it was right to let my exhaustion with the ongoing brutality of humankind shunt me away from a principle I hold fast.

EARLIER this week, the Minister of Housing officiated at a ceremony organised by the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) in which 500 lucky would-be homeowners stood to benefit from a random television draw for the allocation of State housing. This was the expected end of the line for at least those persons, some of whom would have submitted applications since who knows how long ago.

I lived in Falcon Heights, Minnesota for most of the 18 years I resided and worked in the state, teaching at the University of Minnesota. I was offered the job there in 1990, and subsequently bought a house. Falcon Heights is a suburb that is equidistant from both Minneapolis and St Paul, the capital, about a ten-minute drive away from both cities. For most of my time there I was the only black person owning a home on my street, and indeed on adjoining streets.

To say that we live in difficult times is to minimise the challenges each and every one of us faces on a daily basis.

From viral pan­demics leading to broken economies which have given rise to a huge number of people struggling to feed their families.

A minority of social media users have voiced dismay that West Indians are fixated on opining about the injustice of George Floyd’s death due to police brutality.

Here in sweet Trinidad and Tobago, we have jumped on the bandwagon and stood up and expressed our diverse views on the ongoing racial tensions in the United States, but I ask us to step back and look at our country.