Monday, May 14, 2012


No! I am not going to talk about Caribbean Airlines/BWIA or any of the
recent disclosures about losses and profits (real or imaginary) or about
how much money CAL had or didn't have in 2010 ... although, there is
admittedly a lot there to talk about! I want instead to talk about our little
country, where we are and where we are going ... or think we are going.
Some time ago (in the sixties, I think) there was a book entitled "Spaceship
Earth". I cannot now recall the name of the author but in essence her
premise or thesis was that planet earth was like a spaceship barreling
through space. The planet had three compartments: first class, second class
and third class. Those of us who are 'travelling' in the first class
compartment are more than all right. Those of us who are 'travelling' in the second class compartment
have some problems, but are managing (if only just) to survive. But, she said,
there is a fire in the third class compartment and if we don't put it out soon
it will engulf all of the 'passengers' on the spaceship.

If the planet can be likened to a spaceship, then perhaps good old T&T can
be likened to an airplane with three compartments as well. There is absolutely
no question that those who are lucky enough to be in the first class compartment
are enjoying the ride. Champagne and caviar are the order of the day for this
flight and nothing, no expense and no luxury is too much for those passengers.
The second class compartment is gradually getting smaller and more cramped.
Quite a few passengers in this compartment are having trouble paying not only
for their seats for the flight but also for the food and drink on board. They are
managing and one or two of them are lucky enough to be upgraded from time
to time to first class. Unfortunately, for every one that gets an upgrade two are
downgraded to third class. As I said, this compartment is getting smaller and
more cramped.

The real problem comes with the third class compartment. This is by far and
away the largest section of our fictional airplane, but it is the one in which
there is the most potential for trouble which could cause our airplane to crash
killing or destroyintg all on board. Right now travelling in the third class
section of our plane is like travelling in the Wild West. Passengers are
shooting and killing each other, almost with gay abandon. So far only
the third class passengers and a few second class passengers are being
killed, but it can only be a matter of time before some third class
passenger gets the bright idea of going into the first class cabin and
taking whatever he feels like taking with his gun. It also can surely only
be a matter of time before some third class passenger decides to light a
match in the third class compartment and the fire then spreads to the
whole plane!

There is trouble coming. If you lived through 1990 and 1970 you can
recognise it. You can see it. You can feel it. You can taste it. It's coming!
The trouble is coming because the economy is stagnant and absolutely no
hope for a better tomorrow is being offered other than platitudes falling
from the mouths of politicians on both sides. The trouble is coming
because the Rowley led PNM is not offering itself as a credible alternative
to the People's Partnership and the ordinary man sees and understands this.
The trouble is coming because the people feel that our leaders on both sides
really don't care about anything or anybody other than themselves. The
trouble is coming because there seems to be no hope!

Can it be turned around and prevented? Yes! There is still time. Will it be
turned around? Ah! That is the question!!

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