This country seems to thrive on contradictions which appear to defy rational thought and action but with which the majority are quite happy.

Here are some examples:-

(1) The Government righteously pledges to fight corruption yet emasculates a major piece of anti-corruption legislation.

(2) The Government proposes a flurry of new laws to be passed by Parliament while the majority of existing legislation is not being implemented.

(3) The Government expresses serious concern for the education sector yet decreases the allocation for tertiary education and increases that for Community Environment Enhancement and Protection Programme (CEPEP) and grass-cutting.

(4) There is no money to repair the vast majority of roads which are in a deplorable condition causing death, accident, hazard and community isolation yet hundreds of millions can be found to build interchanges, overpasses, walk-overs and highways in remote regions.

(5) While hundreds of thousands of citizens suffer from a grossly deficient or non-existent water supply, millions of gallons of water are permitted to leak out of the pipeline transmission system.

(6) There is voluminous discourse about the revival of agriculture and food security yet thousands of acres of formerly Caroni Ltd’s agricultural lands lie idle.

(7) While for many years the energy sector has continued to decline as the major source of vital foreign exchange earnings, alternative sources of such earnings have not even been identified let alone developed.

(8) Almost exclusive focus is placed on containing a contagious virus which can cause a couple of hundred deaths, yet little attention is paid to the preventable deaths and disability of thousands with non-communicable diseases.

(9) The Government expresses grave concern about the huge and unmanageable influx of illegal Venezuelan migrants to this country but continues to support the regime in Venezuela which is largely responsible for the massive exodus.

(10) The country’s borders are securely locked down for the unlucky thousands of nationals stranded overseas but opened on a scientific basis for the lucky few with connections.

(11) Government leaders use the most crude and damning language to vilify their opponents and critics but are vehemently outraged by criticisms directed to them.

(12) While an Afro-Trinidadian party has been in unchallenged power for over 50 of the last 64 years, it is now being accused of engaging in and condoning discrimination against Afro-Trinidadian communities and students.

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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.

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).

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.

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.