I recently read a forum with the subject ‘reasons to hate Trinidad’. Many people said the same things, namely high crime rate, terribly slow and unprofessional service, too much vapid partying and corruption in every level of society.
I couldn’t by all honesty disagree with the reasons as I’ve had a direct, compelling experience of all of them…
I was coming home one night from the club that is 23 degrees hotter than body temperature. I was sitting in a car outside my house talking to my friend who dropped me home when a car pulled up alongside us.
‘Ey, you did see two man jump ova da wall dey? Them teif something on the next street an escape tru dis yard an I tryin ta cyatch dem.’
‘No sorry,’ I say *rolling up my window*
What I really should have said was ‘My head is not made of rubber, I am not stupid.’ That man was not trying to catch the theives, he was the escape car!!!
I walked into my house no doubt looking over my shoulder. Found out the next morning that the two men were actually hiding in my garden.
Anyway, that was nothing compared to when two theives broke into my house a few days before Christmas and held my father up at gunpoint. Yes! Tied up and pointed a gun at. The nerve these seventeen year old criminals have. Where do they get such boldness and confidence to play with people’s lives like that?? Trinidad let me tell you has the best system in the world for teaching young people how to be criminals. And there are so many opportunities to practice.
I mean who HASN’T experienced this?
I get waitresses or cashiers asking me ‘wah ya want’ and looking at me like I have some sort of deformity or I stole her sister’s man. And like everyone in hospitality is made to wear lead shoes by law. Talk about heel dragging. Oi oi!!!
We don’t teach professional skills in schools and there just isn’t an atmosphere that supports or encourages the development of articulation and professionalism. There practically isn’t any demand for it. Why? Because Trinidadians don’t complain. Because when a Trinidadian does complain you could bet yourself there are ten other Trinis standing around shaking their heads at his insolence.
Two years ago when I went there on vacation I felt like I was on the Spring Break of the century yet nothing new or extra was happening, that’s just average life in Trinidad. Perpetual Spring Break.
During these parties people don’t have any qualms when it comes to alcohol. I followed the trend at the time and drank hard wine and puncheon in one party. Yes, I mixed the ‘devil’s pee’ with the ‘devil’s semen’. And as a result blacked out for the first time in my life. I believe my memory has never been as good since. I have developed short term memory loss.
I’ve gone to more parties on Carnival week than I go to in a year in London. And large, wild parties are no longer exclusive to that week but exist throughout the year. Just add some Trinis to your Facebook and you’ll be asking ‘WTF, do they work?’
I played on the national team for Trinidad for five years. The coach of that national team, who was paid by the government, was none other than one of the main men involved in holding up the government in a massive and nation-upheaving coup during which the president was shot. He was a great coach, yes, but I’m sure he would agree with me that that wouldn’t happen in America.
Umm… A man who got charged for fraud on the world’s stage, white collar crime, now has his own political party. And plenty people voting for him.
The government built a huge, gorgeous music and arts centre and when I asked the Minister of Culture if they had plans to offer arts programmes for school children and use it as an educational centre she had no answer. Silence. And there is a whole other side to why and how that building went up in the first place.
Once I was thinking of going up for miss universe and my friend said he could get me in the top five if I lost enough weight. No fault of his, he just learnt the ropes.
There’s a lot more but it is mostly speculation which I really don’t want to talk with authority on.
So yes, there is a lot of consensus on the reasons why Trinidad isn’t a nice place to live. But are there any good reasons?
Funnily enough, when you look at it closely, a lot of the negative and positive things stem from the same cause — Trinidadians are extremely passionate people with a lot of idle time.
A quote from the Gita says: ‘When a man dwells on the pleasures of sense, attraction for them arises in him. From attraction arises desire, the lust of possession, and this leads to passion, to anger. From passion comes confusion of mind, then loss of remembrance, the forgetting of duty. From this loss comes the ruin of reason, and the ruin of reason leads man to destruction.’
And as a result many decisions are made irrationally, which leads to corruption and crime, many people are lazy, making for poor service, and many things are done in excess, leading to heavy drinking and partying ALL the time.
But being very passionate means Trinidadians are also quick to love and make friends easily. They don’t have as many boundaries or criteria. They love to share food, drink and a laugh and they get so close to people that they call everyone family. There is a simplistic beauty in their motivation as many do things because they are so moved — moved by the music, moved by the weather, moved by natural beauty, moved by talent. And they are unboundedly creative, able to adapt the world to their colourful palettes, making anything they do and anywhere they go vibrant.
They take the time out for people because family and relationships are essential to the thriving of their passion. And they dream big, though they don’t always get there, because they have great imaginations and hope for the future.
They don’t complain or protest as much because there is too much to be passionate about. And when it comes time to represent on the world stage they always make their presence felt.
I should really be saying we but I wrote this as a sort of love letter to Trinidad. Because though plenty people like me go away and stay away, it is never because we absolutely hate Trinidad. There aren’t that many people that actually hate Trinidad. Come on. For me, and many others, it is that passion that is inbred in us as Trinis that make us want to explore. And it is that same passion that will bring us back to our roots when we have become jaded by the lack of energy and vibrancy in first world countries, especially in their major metropolitan cities.
It is true that it is the negative aspects of passion that keep me living outside of Trinidad but it is the positive products of passion that prevent me from ever completely saying goodbye, from ever being able to not miss it severely.
Will I ever move back? I really don’t know.
How will I reconcile this passionate relationship after being subdued in London? I really don’t know.
Is Trinidad a great place? Yes it is a splendid place. And always will be. Go visit ;)