I may be late to the party, but MX Prime has nailed it with his recent release Torture. He has demonstrated how our music has told our stories and records key moments in our history. When the history is written, this will be the defining story of early 21st century Trinidad and Tobago and how we dealt with Covid-19.
In one song he has captured the strong emotions of many of us who feel locked in jail since March 2020. His song comments on the deep inequalities which exist in our society. Almost every bar is analogous to real experiences we encounter daily.
From the ‘who know whom’ contact to receive an exemption to return home, to the allegedly ‘normal’ application process to bring in workers to provide labour for your business. When he sings about ‘justice and liberty’, he is singing about our inability to earn a living as the economy slowly grinds to a halt and we continue to pin our hopes on fossil fuel.
We are not seeing the plan about how to live with Covid-19 but how to run away from it.
He sings about locking the ‘carnival in a cell while all the criminals are doing well’. Isn’t that how we feel when we return to our burglar-proofed homes or clutch our purses closer when we have to walk through certain streets or see certain stereotypes approaching?
I certainly feel that the wrongdoers have an advantage over me. It sometimes feels like I am a sitting target waiting for an assault.
The commissioner of police continues to reference the downward trend in our crime statistics, but do we feel any safer? The North West Regional Health Authority boasts in their print advertising campaigns about no maternal deaths, while we read daily about the massive backlog in surgeries in all our health institutions.
We keep focusing on the optics and the pretty wins and not on what is required for us to collectively thrive as a people. Until we are Covid-immunised and we have systems and processes in place to ensure our collective safety, we are all at risk.
Columnist medical doctor David Bratt, president of the American Chamber of Commerce of Trinidad and Tobago Patricia Ghany and several other influencers have all had one question: what is our comprehensive plan for immunisation against Covid-19? How are we purchasing the two million doses we need and where are we purchasing it from?
The population is awaiting a clear, comprehensive response to the primary question about the immunisation plan. We are awaiting the press advertisements advising of the details. We are hoping that it will not be a situation similar to the testing in which you can pay for your tests.
The prime minister’s uncertainty about the number of Covax vaccines does not inspire confidence in the population. Indeed, our notoriety for designing ineffective systems is likely to play out once again and those with the means will have access to a vaccine while others languish.
This will be disastrous because herd immunity requires that the majority of the population be immunised, and that will only happen under leadership that is forward-thinking and collaborative.