Man proud man/Dressed in a little brief authority/ Most ignorant of what he is most assured

—(Shakespeare: Measure for Measure)

On Wednesday as I sat with a mix of fear and hope and awaited the outcome of a clinical procedure I had to undergo in 24 hours, I became more aware of how small and vulnerable we all are in the larger scheme of things, that however confident and proud we may feel about our status that we are all subject to the vicissitudes of life, continuing as if there were no tomorrow, yet our world collapsing at our feet in a moment, much like the ant which perseveres in its never ending quest, only to be stomped into oblivion in a second.

Today, thankfully, I have been spared the trauma of the bitter cup that could have been, but the interim of pain that came with the uncertainty of the possible outcome has shorn me of whatever pretensions I may I have had of my own worth and has given me a sense of being one among my fellow sufferers facing their varied Gethsemanes (metaphor of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane facing his own trauma). I feel a sense of oneness with them, the beggar on my doorstep on Sunday lunch time, the professional pedalling for a dollar to feed his family having lost his job, the families in despair as their loved ones languish far from home, the young couple trying to cope with the dissonance of their newly-discovered incompatibilities.

As if personal trauma is part of the bigger scheme of things, a necessary part of our experience as humans, indeed of our own personal growth and development, which we must all face on this journey called life. Some of us survive out of fortunate circumstances which we sometimes never can understand, some out of the force of our own characters. Others fall by the wayside not also being able to understand their bad fortune or lacking in the moral fibre to cope with their challenges. But whatever the trauma, in our own varied ways, large and small, we must learn not to curse the darkness when it seems to engulf us, but be our own light to show us the way through.

The net effect of all this is the humility to recognise our “smallness” in the bigger scheme of things, no matter how “big” we may feel we are and to hope that when we face our own Gethsemane that we have the will and moral resilience to deal with it.

And we must remember that we are not alone. Today the most important in the land is facing his own Gethsemane and he too will have to summon all his personal resources to cope. My prayers are with him as they are with all those who continue to labour up the hill of their own destiny.

The latter is my wish for the New Year for all those who face their varied trauma in this our beloved country.

Dr Errol N Benjamin

via e-mail


Carnival pores now raising up. Driven in part by the regret of pockets not filling, there are calls to do something to mark the spot normally occupied by the Carnival season.

But Sekon Sta (Nesta Boxill) is smarter than all of those who are belatedly rushing into the headlines. In the words of Sparrow, “Ah wish I coulda go and shake he han”. I might invite him to change his name to First Sta, in recognition of being the first to re-jig a Carnival product for pandemic times.

The judgment delivered by Justice Frank Seepersad on Wednesday in favour of this newspaper, its editor-in-chief and publishing company underscores the urgent need for strengthening legislative protection of press freedom and journalistic sources.

Tribalism has dominated the politics of Trinidad and Tobago since self-government, with our two major political parties having their support bases in the two major races in the country.

The urgency with which this nation must address the issues that threaten to throw us back into the Stone Age cannot be over-emphasised.

We were already in deep trouble when Covid-19 struck with pandemic force in early 2020, sending us reeling from blows to the body, the mind, even the spirit. The energy and petrochemicals sectors faced grim circumstances, the availability of natural gas, the key feedstock of the latter’s operations, being of grave concern, and the markets for their products saturated and dampened.

Last Thursday, in his response to a letter written by 23 Afro-Trinbagonians about the placement of black pupils in our secondary schools, Kamal Persad, coordinator of the Indian Review Committee, responded: “It is clear the under-performance of Afro-children in the education system is still at the top of the black agenda. Accordingly, these 23 persons of African descent adopted an unmistakable black race position.” (Express, January 14).

Some say that in our diversification thrust we should choose distribution and sales of products/services made by others, as opposed to manufacturing. The justification for this is that such companies are among the highest earners in the world, and that Trinidad and Tobago is too small to compete globally in manufacturing.