Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 1st 2014 Contents A19
Saturday, March 1, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Recently I had some business
to do at a government
office and thought it best to get
there early to avoid the usual
traffic snarl and nightmare park-
ing of Port-of-Spain. I walked up
to the front desk, where two
people were seated, one a securi-
ty guard and the other a shabbily
dressed young man.
"Good morning, I d like to
deliver a package to the ministry,"
Both of them had their faces
buried in their cell phones.
"You could give it to him," the
security guard mumbled, sitting
shoulder to shoulder with the
person to whom she is suggesting
I hand the package.
The young man hurriedly says,
"It have no messenger here."
of a stretch to expect people to
be at work in a government
"Well can I leave it with you so
that it gets to the relevant
"I nut attarize to collect nuttin
here, you go ha to come back
when de messenger reach."
This seemed peculiar. Neither
party would receive the package,
nor would they "attarize" me to
go upstairs to deliver it myself.
Their reluctance to do anything
that might even come close to
rendering assistance obviated the
need to have them at the front
desk at all.
I returned an hour later to
complete my mission. There was
another young man, equally mes-
merised by his cell phone, seated
at the desk of despair. While I
was stating my case, without
lifting his eyes from the phone
he reached one hand out, took
the package and set it beside
him, continuing his text conver-
sation with amazing dexterity. I
could have handed him a dead
dog and that is what would have
been delivered upstairs.
This is not a comment on the
poor work ethic and staggering
overlap of staff at government
ministries; this is about the dis-
appearance of manners and pro-
While some may be tempted to
ascribe this decline to the work-
ing classes, it is prevalent in all
strata of society. Not too long
ago I attempted to make an
appointment. Given the demand,
I sent in my request two weeks
in advance via e-mail. In my
request I indicated what date
would be preferable.
On the day before the date
which I had requested I got a
phone call---the first acknowl-
edgement that the e-mail had
even been received.
"Yes, Mr Kernahan, I am call-
ing in connection with your
request for an appointment, I am
calling to confirm that you will
be here tomorrow."
"You are calling me today for
"Didn t you indicate that you
wanted to come on the seventh?"
"Yes, but I never heard back, I
would have to make arrange-
"Are you coming or not!"
This required some pause, as in
such circumstances curse words
always seem more readily avail-
able than clarity of thought and
"Are you going to be able to
come or not?"
Well, as much as I needed the
appointment, my dignity, such
that it is, would not allow me to
endorse that sort of behaviour. It
was not so much that I was
being called a day before the
appointment, it was the attitude
and the contempt which poured
through the phone which I could
How, you may ask, are such
people able to keep their jobs?
They do more than keep their
jobs, they thrive and with good
reason. You see these creatures
are not in the minority; all
decent citizens who believe in a
professional code of conduct and
a modicum of decency have no
choice but to swallow this sort of
brutish behaviour. In so doing, it
is reinforced as merely another
feature of life in T&T.
Two years ago I stayed in a
hotel in Tobago where in every
room there were only 110-volt
electrical sockets. Without going
into too much detail, I depend
heavily on a machine to assist
with my breathing as I sleep, one
which could not possibly use a
At the front desk I explained
my situation and a very pretty
young lady smiled sweetly as she
stated that they don t have any
"So you are telling me that I
will not have the benefit of my
breathing apparatus and conse-
quently I might die?"
She nodded her head in agree-
ment, never breaking her plastic
smile. I was out of luck and as it
turned out for most of that trip,
out of sleep.
This scourge can be found
everywhere. The disappearance of
decency and manners in our
society has achieved such epi-
demic proportions that it is
unlikely there can ever be a
reversal. Where we should vehe-
mently censure such behaviour it
is rewarded. It is a crisis without
end in sight as this new norms
of behaviour are bequeathed to
Devolving nation with soca lyrics
Ironically, the tribal, violence-promoting, immoral-
ity-promoting, foolish decision-making-promoting
songs soca artistes sing set the tone each year to-
ward further devolving it by preaching subliminally
to the nation to do dumb and deadly acts.
The song Rolly Polly promotes obesity. The song
Big People Party tells children that the way to have
fun as an adult is to be an alcoholic, to indulge in
lewd acts etc.
The song Mash Up Something says go destroy re-
lationships, property and do murder---mash up
rather than build and nurture. The song Happiest
man alive says drink rum and deny reality to achieve
success. The song I want to be your normal man
says destroying families to fulfil sexual lust is okay.
When will the national security minister recognise
these lyrical attacks on the nation to arrest the an-
nually repeating problem to stop the cycle? It is non-
sense that those who sing these nation-destroying
songs get paid to do so.
National security shuts up union leaders on the
premise that their words loaded with incitement to
infringe the peace. Here soca people blatantly preach
inciting messages, calling the population to do all
manner of nonsense. Nothing is done to silence
They refresh their call to mash up the nation each
year prior to Christmas, reinforcing it as first order of
business from January 1 each year, under the guise
of Carnival culture. Whose culture is this nonsense?
This nation spends over four billion a year of tax
dollars on implementation of counter measures to
undo the damage brought on by immoral, violent in-
citing soca lyrics.
The cost of crime-fighting would be less if soca
artistes weren't working up the nation, telling them
to go cause trouble---glorifying nonsense with an at-
THE DEATH OF DECENCY
This is not a comment
on the poor work ethic
and staggering overlap
of staff at government
ministries; this is about
the disappearance of
While some may be
tempted to ascribe this
decline to the working
classes, it is prevalent in
all strata of
can be found
decency and manners in
our society has achieved
proportions that it is
unlikely there can ever
be a reversal.
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