Election fever is once again in the air in Trinidad and Tobago. So it will be commonplace to see the community representatives taking their walk throughout the length and breadth of our neighbourhoods, calling to us from behind our fences to come and have a little chit-chat with them and to see them in the flesh.

I must mention some of them do not need/wait on that “election fever” to come around and visit with us.

The late councillor, Pernell Bruno, made it his duty to make visit throughout the year. And lately, Kimberly Small has followed in his large footsteps in doing exactly that, in making regular appearances and visits.

Last weekend, I decided to visit Chinatown (formerly Charlotte Street). I walked its full length, starting from the top at Park Street and finishing at Independence Square North. I marvelled at the two large adorning signs/structures that had been placed at both ends.

I waited for some sort of magic/special moment/feeling to come upon me, as it was my first visit since the transition from Charlotte Street to Chinatown. And came it did, as I came face-to-face with royalty.

While shopping in Pennywise, there was the Chinese ambassa­dor himself, doing some shopping like everyone else. I would dare to say he was incognito and blended in well. He did not have on his usual business suit, he had no bodyguards shadowing him, and no personal aide whatsoever.

The last function I had attended was the signing ceremony between the Government of T&T and China Harbour Engineering for the Shipyard Drydock Facility at La Brea. On that occasion, there was no chance of meeting or approaching him. So I seized this moment to meet him face-to-face and to introduce myself.

I was pleasantly received and my words to him were met with warm, acknowledging smiles. I felt so comfortable that I wanted to say so many things to him, to seek advice, to seek assistance, and to even invite him to my humble abode. That meeting will surely be cherished for a long, long time.

This made me wonder how many of Trinidad’s “royalty” have taken the time to dismount from their elevated positions and walk among us, the not-so-royal, the not-so-rich, the not-so-powerful—yes, us the peasants.

When we the peasants need their assistance, but are not fortunate enough to be granted an audience with them, we write letters, in the hope that they are received, read and acknowledged, which would then lead to some form of action/assistance.

We continue to write in the hope that one of the letters hits home, that maybe the person will realise how serious we are, that maybe the person will get fed-up of our letters, that something gives and the action/assistance is finally meted out.

Remember how many letters Andy Dufresne in the movie The Shawshank Redemption wrote, and for how many years, when he wanted to have a library set up in the prison? But too many a time these letters, like the dreams brought to the Mona Lisa’s doorsteps, just lie there and die there.

So my plea to all those of royalty: do remember to champion those of us who are not able to fend for ourselves, those who are being taken advantage of, those of us with no wealth or influence or power, and those of us who are perceived as being of a lesser God.

Let’s see if I will be granted an audience with the Chinese ambassador. Wouldn’t that be something to write about?

Emile John Ramsahai

San Juan


When I fell seriously ill in September 2017 and my family felt I would not be able to breathe for long if I had stayed in Trinidad, I was quite happy to be transferred to a rehab hospital in Washington DC in the United States of America.

Isn’t it ironic that under a sign saying “No dumping of rubbish”, there is a pile of rubbish?

Isn’t it ironic that the authorities have not removed the pile of rubbish? Isn’t it ironic that the authorities are seeking to find out who is responsible for dumping the rubbish? Isn’t it ironic that the authorities have not got the message that the rubbish needs to be disposed of?

I am a US citizen currently in Trinidad and Tobago who planned to stay here during the Covid-19 crisis, but never expected it to last this long. With the US embassy closed, where can I go to get correct and up-to-date information about local conditions?

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.