Allow the farm workers to return home


 

Editorial

Allow the farm workers to return home

Many nationals of Trinidad and Tobago have been complaining about the treatment they have been receiving at the  country’s consulate  in  Toronto.

In desperation, some  have suggested that the consualate should  be closed  and officials there should be sent  packing,

We certainly  cannot agree that such measures should be implemented but we do note a serious problem with many Trinidad and Tobago government  officials in their  dealings with  fellow nationals, whether in  Toronto or in  back in Port of Spain. It is what might be described as a “don’t care a damn ” attitude.

And let us not blame the current COVID-19 pandemic for a lack of proper service from the  Trinidad and Tobago government.

Nationals have been complaining about problems in  their dealing with Trinidad and Tobago  government officials  long before the pandemic. In fact some say that it can be traced right back to the old Eric Williams regime and they call it the PNM  (People’s National Movement) syndrome.

To label it as such may seem unfair since the situation did not change significantly when the PNM was not in  power.

But up to the present time there is still a strong belief that to get something done in Trinidad  you  have to know the “right people” or have the right contacts. If you do not, they say, “crapaud smoke yuh pipe.”

That’s the reason many would-be investors bypass Trinidad and Tobago. They will tell you Trinidad and Tobago is not open for business – except for a chosen  few.

 Let’s face it: there are government officials in Trinidad and Tobago who act professionally and can be helpful in their day-to-day dealings with fellow nationals.

But unfortunately, the PNM syndrome remains a major stumbling block to the progress of the country.

How does one explain the apparent lack of concern for felllow nationals who are abandoned in Canada by their own government?

At the present time  there are seven farm workers from Trinidad who spent the summer harvesting  tobacco in Delhi, Ontario to earn  money for themselves and their  families.

Their tasks are over but they cannot return home.

Why? They say they have not received the necessary clearance from the Trinidad and Tobago government.

The men are still in the bunkhouse which they occupied during the summer but it now getting cold in Dehli, Ontario and as the farmer who hired the men explained  ” these buildings are not meant for winter living.”

Do these men have to be card-carrying members of the PNM in order for the Trinidad and  Tobago governmen to do the decent thing and allow them to return home to their loved ones?

As Ken Forth, president of the Foreign Agricultural Resource Management Services told  The Caribbean Camera in an interview this week:” We are not asking the Trinidad and Tobago government to allow tourists to go there. We are asking for their own countrymen to go home.”

 Is that too much to ask?

And does the Trinidad and Tobago government really give a hoot to its image abroad?