Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 24th 2014 Contents A28
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, June 24, 2014
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be sent to
Declare peace not
war on Laventille
Instead of abusing the already op-
pressed residents of Laventille the
focus should be on attacking the root
cause of these gang wars.
The only way to get every gun out of
Laventille by force would be to imple-
ment counter-insurgency methods
that we have seen used in the US-Iraq
war. The resulting violence, bloodshed
and breaches of human rights, how-
ever, will make such a strategy uncon-
Not only that, as we have seen in
Iraq unless the supply of weapons and
the culture of violence are eliminated
we would need to fight such a battle
every few years.
The result will be an even larger
mess than we have now and greater
mistrust of the police and the govern-
Thus instead of declaring "war" on
the residents of Laventille, peace
should be declared. A cease-fire should
be arranged with a gun amnesty; nego-
tiations should be opened.
The people of Laventille ought to be
invited to express their side of the
story in the media, for as long as they
are oppressed they will put their trust
in the gang leaders for protection and
wealth creation and not in the legiti-
mate authority of the government.
War must be declared on the dons,
the principalities and the powers who
obviously do not live in Laventille, but
reside in palatial abodes in other parts
of the country or abroad.
The teenaged boys on the block who
are brainwashed into becoming crimi-
nals are not the real enemy.
They ought to be regarded with pity
and empathy, not hatred and fear.
The conflict in Laventille is a big dis-
traction from the real issues: systemic
corruption and spiritual wickedness in
A war on Laventille will yield no last-
ing results. More blood will be shed, po-
lice time wasted and the drugs and
guns will keep flowing into the country.
Still bathing with
cold barrel water
I find it unfathomable that in the
year 2014 we are still waiting for rain to
provide water for citizens. This annual
problem should have been resolved
Some parts of the country, like mine,
have been on one schedule or another
for the last six months and counting.
This has been the longest period of suf-
fering and inconvenience in my mem-
ory. Many areas get water three or
fewer days a week, while other areas
have had no interruption to their serv-
ice despite being on the published
schedule. I cannot believe that this bla-
tant disparity is being condoned and
continued by WASA.
Are the relevant authorities con-
cerned or even cognisant that it is past
mid-June and we have had very little
rainfall? What provisions are being
made by WASA for impending climate
change and resulting variations in rain-
fall patterns ?
Why are there no plans to build an-
other desalination plant? We are sur-
rounded by water yet our taps are dry.
The existing plant is more often under
repairs than functional. Why aren't
more dams, reservoirs and wells being
constructed to end this recurring suf-
fering of paying customers?
I am happy that there is a drive to
provide more households with water,
but if collection, production and storage
is not enhanced, where will the addi-
tional water come from? WASA cannot
even come close to meeting the needs
of existing customers.
There is nothing more important
than water; ensuring its sustainability
should be our priority. The technology is
at our disposal, the days of looking up
to the heavens and waiting with empty
buckets have long gone.
The irony is that there is money to
provide students with laptops to pre-
pare them for the technological age,
but many of them now have to do what
their grand parents did, and bathe with
cold water from a barrel to go to school.
That is progress!
It's Your Write
Irecently read an article about
a food replacement called
Yes, Soylent, named, tongue-
in-cheek, after the 70s film
about institutionalised canni-
balism, Soylent Green.
This Soylent is not made of
people. Instead it is a powder
that writer Shane Snow, in Tim
Ferriss s blog, described last
year as a "tasteless, odourless
food replacement drink that a
kid in California---who raised a
million bucks from strangers
like me---invented to take food
out of our daily equation and,
ambitiously, cure world
Soylent is nutritionally com-
plete, its creator says. Soylent,
as Snow alludes to in the above
quote, was developed by a
software geek who raised
US$800,000 through crowd-
funding to pay for it.
Apparently people are really
interested in the idea of ending
world hunger with a magic
bullet---or magic powder. Either
that, or they agree with its
engineer Rob Rhinehart that
eating food is an inefficient use
To say I disagree with that
premise would be wildly
understating my enthusiasm for
One of the arguments made
by Soylent s opponents is that
we do not understand how
whole foods work with each
other to deliver nutrition; that
nutrition itself is something we
are still trying to decipher.
Witness Time magazine s cur-
rent cover story on the good-
ness of butter, a whole food
long demonised as a "bad fat."
But Soylent s fans dismiss
that argument. Nutrients are all
we need, they say, not food.
The idea of a meal replace-
ment powder is not at all new.
I spent months of my life liv-
ing on SlimFast when I was
younger. Shane Snow tested a
version of Soylent last year. He
it because he found his health
unaffected and his verve
increased after he had lived on
it exclusively for two weeks. He
also lost weight.
I d love to lose weight and do
sometimes find cooking oner-
ous and time-consuming, to be
absolutely honest. But the idea
of giving up food forever is not
appealing. Food is more than
Last week I announced on
my Facebook author page that
I was going to write my col-
umn on doubles. The post was
the single most popular one
I ve ever put up in the history
of my Facebook account---it got
nearly 700 views. Discovering
that doubles trials had recently
been done by David Wears in
the Guardian magazine Metro, I
amended the plan to look at
roti instead. That post got
viewed almost 250 times.
In contrast, my regular posts
on the page (mostly about
Caribbean literature, feminism,
youth, and social activism) get
about 20- 40 views on average.
I have to conclude that people
who visit my Facebook page
are far more interested in roti
and doubles than I had previ-
Nobody eats roti or doubles
for their nutritional compo-
nents. We eat them for con-
venience, for taste, and more
importantly, I d argue, as cul-
tural signifiers. (Unfortunately, I
missed the documentary film
Dal Puri Diaspora, by Richard
Fung. The film, which was
recently screened by the T&T
Film Co and the T&T Film
Festival, looks at the dispersal
of roti from India to the
Caribbean and the Caribbean
The first thing I want to do
upon returning home to
Trinidad after any length of
time abroad is to eat a doubles.
Doubles to me represent some-
thing urgent and important
about my identity as a Trini;
they are as Trini as rice and
peas is Jamaican.
Don t talk about roti! As
soon as I land anywhere with a
trace of vaguely Indian heritage
I m out and about looking for a
roti, often to be disappointed
because it s not a Trini roti.
Though I love authentic Indian
food, I love a Trini roti more.
The best roti I ve had outside
of Trinidad (the island, because
eating a Tobago roti is on my
top ten list of things not to do
again) has been in Georgetown,
Guyana, where the dhalpuri is
soft and tender and the talkarie
is tasty and laden with sting-
ing-hot wiri wiri pepper. The
worst was in Charlotteville.
The less said on that, the bet-
ter.From next week I ll be going
to roti shops all over the island
to sample roti and write about
the food, the ambiance and the
experience of each shop or
stall. I will be looking at who
eats where, and what they
order, and if I can talk through
the hopefully hot and tasty
roti, I ll also ask them why
they re eating there that day.
Keep the Soylent, please. I ll
take my roti with slight pepper.
FOR THE LOVE OF ROTI AND DOUBLES
LISA ALLEN AGOSTINI
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