Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 23rd 2015 Contents A19
Saturday, May 23, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
The Environmental Management Authority (EMA)
through the National Restoration, Carbon
Sequestration, Wildlife and Livelihood Project will be
coordinating a National Wildlife Survey, ending on
May 30, 2015 in the following areas:
Central Range: Biche, Brickfield, Caparo, Coryal, Cuche Tabaquite
Northern Range: Grande Riviere, Matelot, Matura, Rampanalgas,
Salybia, Sans Souci, Toco and Valencia.
Southern Range: Victoria Mayaro Reserve and Trinity Hills.
For more information, please contact 667-8780
The survey will be used to gather information on wildlife in Trinidad and Tobago.
"Ignorance and inconsideration
are the two great causes of the
ruin of mankind"
Though uttered more than
four centuries ago, truer words,
profoundly reflective of the
malaise of T&T society, have
never been spoken.
As political parties fine-tune
their election rhetoric, we will
no doubt be bombarded with
profusions of what one or the
other has done or promises to
do. Unlikely to find space in a
platform speech or manifesto,
is public education as an
Don t confuse public educa-
tion with "schoolin," This isn t
We have our fair share of free
education from primary, sec-
ondary, all the way up to terti-
ary. The quality churned out by
these institutions, though, is
fodder for another column.
For all the education at our
disposal, the rise of the illiterati
is undeniable. The creation of a
and the well-rounded citizen is
too valuable a cause to be left
to the peristalsis of our formal
You only need dissect com-
ments on the Internet or opin-
ions sampled in newspapers to
glean the staggering extent of
our nationwide ignorance.
As a young reporter, one of
the most dreaded assignments
was the vox populi; I d stand
for an hour or two on Frederick
Street trawling for opinions on
The pedestrians least likely
(yes, appearance-based profiling
I m afraid) to answer questions
competently, were the ones
most eager to grab the micro-
As it was then, so it is now;
everyone with a keyboard or a
mout was eager to chime in on
the Moody s downgrade of
T&T s credit rating.
The majority of commentary
laid bare a glaringly tenuous
grasp, not only of how this
international agency works, but
how it assesses a country s
credit rating and what the
downgrade portends for the
Many Trinis simply don t
have the knowledge to analyse
and make sense of national
issues. Worse still, they don t
know they don t know.
Still not convinced? Gaze
upon the haze which envelops
this country. Every dry season,
fires ravage the landscape deci-
mating majestic trees older
than this independent nation,
destroying wildlife, jeopardising
our water supply and creating
the ideal conditions for flooding
Many of our citizens cannot
see the forest for the trees...lit-
erally. They categorise all vege-
tation as bush, harbouring
mappeepee and mosskittow.
Farmers who want to plant
"garden" raze an entire hillside
to cultivate an area less than an
But this is what people know;
rubbish to be disposed of? Burn
it. Agricultural trash to get rid
of? Whey de keraseen dey?
This is the culture we know, so
shall it be until we are taught
Rampaging arson is just one
example of the consequences of
inadequate public education. Our
ignorance flourishes in the vacuum,
flouting strictures which nourish a
civilised and prosperous society.
Living on an island, it isn t
unreasonable to expect a seafood
industry replete with experience in
the processing and marketing of
fish. What obtains all too often is
that rickety fishing stall shrouded in
a fog of flies.
Vendors occasionally sprinkle
water on the fish, like they are
flowers, because yes, water and ice
are the same thing.
Customers dodge corbeaux and
mangy dogs squabbling over
thoughtlessly discarded scraps of
entrails. This is the way it s always
In the absence of a consistent
education programme, that scenario
is not likely to change and this
aspect of the fishing industry will
remain mired in filth and back-
It is tempting to think that our
brand of ignorance is an affliction
of the lower socio-economic brack-
ets, fruits of an anaemic education
The business class in our society
also manifest this condition.
Abysmal customer service is invari-
ably blamed on the truculent work-
force, silk purses out of a sow s ear
who couldn t give a rat s ass about
While accurate to an extent, more
often it reflects the reluctance of
the corporate sector to fund regular
customer service training modules
which are a normal part of corpo-
rate life in developed countries.
They aren t simply loathe to invest
the money, they are also ignorant of
global trends in customer care.
It is a well-known axiom (perhaps
less so in T&T) that education is a
lifelong process. Many in my gener-
ation will still remember the "Chase
Charlie away" anti-litter campaign.
This was a sustained strategy,
designed to undermine the prevail-
ing culture of wanton littering.
It is that sort of consistent edu-
cation campaign, addressing anti-
social and illegal activity, poor busi-
ness practices, weak productivity
and environmental awareness that
will enhance our competitiveness in
an unforgiving global market.
Propagation of these values in this
age of online and mobile consump-
tion is made that much easier and
Traditionally, governments have
tended towards effusions of largesse
like buildings and road infrastruc-
ture, because you can t cut a ribbon
to an educated, enlightened society.
But an educated population is far
more valuable to our national aspi-
rations than concrete and steel.
Sustained public education is
what will lift this country out of
the morass of mediocrity and onto
the world stage as a worthy con-
MANIFESTO SERIES: SCOURGE OF THE ILLITERATI
A pigeon drinks from a pipeline which feeds the water fountain at Woodford Square, Port-of-Spain,
yesterday. On a daily basis pigeons are seen bathing and drinking from the fountain. PHOTO: NICOLE DRAYTON
Links Archive May 22nd 2015 May 24th 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page