If Trinidad and Tobago were a child, we’d be that student whose end-of-term report card has scribblings from the teacher: ” X has tremendous potential but is too lazy, unfocused, unruly, incurious, et cetera, et cetera.”

Trinidad and Tobago swapped the gilded cage of colonial oppression for the tyranny of dunderhead, half-baked democracy and pervasive corruption. Nothing works in this pot-holed, broke-down failure of post colonialism. Everything in T&T seems like a tragi-comedy replete with new lows and cringe-worthy embarrassments with every dawn.

Politicians seem more obsessed with the trappings of power than service. It’s a warped ideology that has them hunting high and low for every opportunity to feather their nests or the nests of those who keep them in power. Meanwhile, among the ordinary plebs, perpetually sparring races claw at each other, hopelessly blind to the reality that they are more alike than dissimilar. And so it goes that the poor get poorer by lining up to line the pockets of the rich get richer. The self-disenfranchised live only to subsidise their own political oppression.

But back to that potential the teacher sees in us yet, for some reason, we can’t see in ourselves. Perhaps, the only reason we get so worked up about T&T’s shortcomings is precisely because of the immense promise brimming beneath the morass. Under the mess and mayhem is an incomparably beautiful country. Nothing in this world can match the generosity of our spirit. Even in our simplicity, a muttered “good morning” as someone joins a queue or the hilarity of our ole talk, there is no doubt this is a special place.

Achieving our full potential, though, means facing our flaws. Only in truth will we find our salvation. That, in a nutshell, is the true calling of Rumshop Parliament. We laugh but mostly cry. Yet we all live in hope of a better tomorrow; if not for ourselves, then for the generations who will either inherit the legacy of our inaction or our awakening. Funny thing about truth, though, it isn’t always pretty or pleasant.

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