When calypsonian Nappy Mayers wrote the nation-building song, ‘Old Time Days’, he lamented how Trinidad and Tobago had been slipping from its old moorings, where the love and care we possessed for each other had anchored us.
He reminded us in song, that it “used to be everyone cared for each other, lived like brothers, respected one another,” as he pleaded for us to bring back the old-time days and ways.
If ever a cry is needed again it is today when the heartbeat of the nation appears to be fluttering towards a flatline.
As the leader of the government, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley laid in hospital in need of care for a cardiac problem, social media once again revealed the ugly underbelly of current Trinidad and Tobago.
A technician attached to the West Shore Hospital, in conversation with others, asked them to “imagine” having to return to the hospital to “look after him”.
In reply, another man said that had it been him in that position, he would have sabotaged his own car, to stop himself from having to go back and help “him”.
From the rest of the conversation, it was apparent that the “him” they were speaking of was the prime minister.
We know that Trinidad and Tobago is deeply divided politically and that this political-divide has exacerbated racial differences among us. We’ve spoken of this ad nauseum and continue to condemn it.
But herein lies a more sickening problem, the loss of heartfelt care that was once the bedrock of this beloved nation, as Nappy Mayers so importantly pointed out.
To callously seek to diminish the value of a person in need of help for whatever reason – political, race or otherwise – is to seek to pull the plug on T&T – a plug, when pulled, can only present a grave outcome for us all, regardless of our personal convictions.
The hospital has moved quickly to address this, for which they must be commended.
These posts were symptomatic of a nation’s cardiac problems – the heart of T&T in need of urgent care.
The hospital’s swift move to investigate the matter signals that they, like us, know the plaque of uncaring behaviour in the arteries of our nation cannot be allowed to remain unaddressed if T&T is to continue beating.
As we wait to hear more on what their investigation uncovers, we can find no better time to once again seek to inject the values of love, unity, caring and brotherhood that once held us together as a nation – values we believe are still in abundance throughout our beloved nation.
To express hate to a fellow national, and more so the country’s highest elected official at his time of distress goes against everything our ancestors did to make T&T the rainbow nation it is.
We must return to our moorings.
Let’s, therefore, reflect on Nappy Mayers’ lamentation of a nation losing its heart and choose individually to be one who would “join the pack…going back, back to the old-time days…back to the old-time ways.”