IT'S THE 'GOVERNOR' YOU SEE - EntornoInteligente / The trinidad Guardian / Driving quietly through darkened St James early last Sunday morning, I had to swerve away from an oncoming car that was straddling the centre line like a politician riding his favourite mount in Tobago for a weekend.

I looked back and the car was merrily careening along. In the old days you would say “he drunk,” today it’s more likely, “he drug up” or equally, “she drug up,” without getting into sterile discussions about whether alcohol is a drug, of course it is.

One of my office workers was subjected to a tongue-lashing by two young lady clerks at the POSGH A&E last week for daring to ask about a family member who had called to say he was in Casualty.

After a series of “again?”, steups and eye-rolling exercises, one of them got up and walked away muttering something under her breath. The other refused to give information or her name and turned her back.

After an hour the cousin called and said everything was all right. But for that hour? You mean to say one of them could not have said, “Let me see.” Check and come back and say, “he’s well and being attended to. Someone will come and talk to you all in a while.” Save the family some grief?

When confronted with these situations, I always remember my mother’s old helper, Tiny, and how she used to say, “Trini doh help Trini, Dave! Trini doh help Trini!”

Making the public wait and beg for attention seems to be a national characteristic. Of course there are exceptions but those seem to be due to friendship or because someone is well known. The sad thing is that those who receive attention because of friendship appear to believe that that is the way to go and those who receive attention because of their status, think it’s their due.

It’s the reason why, in the middle of traffic, Ministers and police drive around with sirens and motor cycle riders screaming. It’s their right and we must yield which we do quite eagerly. It’s the “governor” you see.

We remain locked into a colonial mentality, a slave mindset, the remnants of indentureship. It is a huge inferiority complex. In a truly independent mentality, everyone gets treated the same and everyone is proud of that.

There are signs here and there, mostly among younger people, that the servility shown by the failed generation, that corrupt generation that led us into political independence, the same generation that today criticises children, as if children grow and develop in vacuo, is fading.

Some of the newer Government offices are actually a pleasure to walk into because of the attitude of the young workers.

The colonial attitude is no different in the public or private sector and hospitals in the first and banks in the second are the prime examples of this.

The manner in which banks treat the public in T&T is fast becoming a national disgrace. From the Central Bank’s refusal to answer the letter sent to them on January 31 by Afra Raymond, Rishi Maharaj and David Walker questioning the Bank’s handling of the CL Financial bailout, until the matter was publicised in the media in April, to the lack of toilet facilities for pensioners in the private sector, to the unconscionably long lines to get to a cashier, to the repeated jacking up of fees, all point to a culture of disdain for the public.

Nigel Baptiste’s statement to a Joint Select Committee of Parliament that he was unaware of any anger or animosity harboured by the public as a result of banking fees is breathtaking in its arrogance. It reeks of the Minister of Finance’s “dey eh riot yet.”

The less said about Baptiste’s impression that customer-satisfaction at RBC was more than five out of six the better. Saying that is a sick joke.

One has to agree with Trevor Hosten, interviewed in Sunday’s Guardian. I really have no idea of Mr Hosten’s personal problem with the bank and whether his position is the correct one. I sympathise with him however when he says: “People get the banks that they deserve and the reason our banking sector is the way it is is because Trinidadians are too complacent.”

I agree with him when he says: “banks locally seem not to care about the regular customers.”

“In the United States I could walk into the bank and talk to the manager right there, the manager is not locked behind closed doors, with security guards and secretary, those are colonial trappings, we don’t need that, that gives them the power to feel that they are more than they are and, therefore, based on that they are not focusing on the customer.”

Colonial trappings! Sixty years after “independence” that is what we have reverted to. A country filled with sick little men and women, in hospitals, in banks, in county offices, in shops, in gyms, in restaurants, on the road and inside places of worship, intent on holding on to their colonial trappings, their jackets and ties, their power suits and high heels, their weekends in Tobago and Miami whilst the mass of the citizenry pours out of a warped educational system set up to produce good little colonials who look up to the big boss behind the desk for a job that will keep them unhappy and disillusioned and quiet for life.

Until people realise that they have the power to change the system from the bottom, by coming together and applying pressure to the groups on top, nothing will change.


Con Información de The trinidad Guardian

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