Every five years—or more and more often, three—we work ourselves into a ritual frenzy to elect a squadron of persons who’re supposed to represent our interests. But more than representing our instincts of how our appetites should be fulfilled, and more than representing our ideas of how our sovereign resources should be distributed, these people are really charged with representing our dreams. These people are materially and spiritually charged with the duty of taking the individual and collective dreams of 1.3 million souls into the future. The tragedy of course, in these blessed isles, is that we seem cursed with successive squadrons of jokers, thieves, and henchmen who actually represent our worst selves. What is more, they really maybe only represent the worst among us! Ultimately then—they may not really be representing us at all…
Generations of these “representatives” have betrayed and savaged our dreams so much that the real tragedy of Trinidad and Tobago is that—individually and collectively—we do not dream anymore. And what ghosts of dreams we remember are increasingly twisted, small and crippled things. Our tragedy, then, is that these people are in fact delivering us into our nightmares.
This is not what a nation is supposed to be. This is not what a civilisation is supposed to be.
In the beginning, in the dawn and youth of our lives, our dreams are sweet, fragrant, and majestic things. They are epic adventures and vessels which carry us into the world charged with invulnerability. Our dreams cloak us in god-appointed mission to accomplish our souls’ desire. Our dreams hum to us through our gifts—those individual and collective talents which are ours alone. “Live your gift,” your dream says.
It is a hymn that sings to us every day—reminding us of our sacred duty to our best selves and to a Godhead that transcends religion. It grants us the most fulfilling things in life. Purpose. Identity. Sovereignty. However, apart from the mediocre—to whom this place is a paradise—Trinbagonians are now a people who’ve had their dreams betrayed and brutalised by representatives who now run a nightmare country where only the lowest form of aspirations are allowed. I’ve said this before—and it is the greatest indictment of any country—Trinidad and Tobago is a nation where citizens cannot fulfill their dreams. And the greatest tragedy is this: Trinidad and Tobago may have the most beautiful dreamers on Earth!…
When we think of the beautiful dreamers we’ve created who’ve gone into the world and transformed it by their passage, when we think of the exquisite dreams that used to dance on our streets on Carnival Mondays and Tuesdays, visions unprecedented in mankind’s imaginings, we must reflect on the horror of what we’ve become—and demand different.
We have arrived at a time when we must turn the corner on the nature of the characters we give responsibility for our sacred dreams. For the sake of our souls and our children we must do this, or we will be forced—by the limitations and manipulations of these clowns and conmen—into betraying the very reason we were sent here—as divine beings, as individuals, and as a nation.
But there is also another squadron of persons charged with representing us, a parallel nation where the dreams of our best selves are supposed to run rampant and unbridled, reminding us of our purpose, our past, and possibilities. I am talking about the Republic of our Arts—especially the arts that populate our sovereign airwaves. The very airwaves which are supposed to transmit our dreams.
At present our sovereign airwaves are invaded. Foreign content commands 90 per cent of our radio, TV and cinema time. Broadcast airwaves are where a nation dreams collectively—just like how we used to on the streets at Carnival when we were living our best selves oh so many years ago… What happens to a nation when its dream is controlled by another dreamer? What dreams may come? Whose dreams? What nightmares may you start living when the image of your possibility is born and shaped in foreign climes by old white men in lodges and suits? Who may not have your best interests at heart? How is your imagination twisted by the dreams of others who may dream to harm you?
Our sovereign airwaves are charged with the duty to represent. Other nations are clear on this, and legislate it. France. Canada. England. Australia. Germany. Ireland. Norway. Nigeria. Chile. When Europe was negotiating the GATT free trade agreement with the US, America wanted Europe to open up its airwaves to Hollywood product. It wanted Europe’s local content quotas to come down. Europe responded that broadcast airwaves and broadcast product—TV, music, and film—were not “free trade goods” but were in fact “articles of national sovereignty” and thus were off the table in any negotiations. Europe declared to America, in its face,”Our local content quotas will always stand!”
May our nation be blesed with representatives that will allow us to represent ourselves in sovereignty also.