When I think of Vision 20/20, I see Trinbago as force ripe thirteen-year old girl trying hard to get into an adult night-club where the popular rich adults of the G8 nations party. In order to “pass” the bouncers, she resorts to dishonest and self-harming practices. She ignores the cries of her loving family to value herself by first concentrating on her education, spirituality, health and personal hygiene. They tell her that becoming a successful, desirable young woman takes time and dedication, not money. Development is not something you can buy, it must come from within and only when put your priorities in order. For some reason, impatient little, Trinbago believes they are talking nonsense! Couldn’t they understand her hurry to appear to be just like her G8 idols? Why suffer through the long arduous process of implementing social development, efficient social services and a sustainable environmentally friendly economy from the ground up, when she can simply buy and import what she wants to make herself “appear” mature now?
Thinking that everything foreign must be better, she colours her hair blonde even though the colour does not complement her complexion and the chemicals burn holes in her scalp. Whatever wealth she has, she hoards for herself and a few sycophant friends, letting her brothers and sisters go hungry and homeless. She even steals money from her own family to be able to flaunt South Beach Miami luxury and throw lavish parties. She pushes away the nutritious meals grown in her own garden and gorges herself on expensive imported junk food until her arteries become clogged. She buys expensive trinket after tricket until she is so weighed down with metal, she can hardly move. She stops educating herself and chooses instead to seduce every sugar daddy who will give her a foreign dollar and of course allows them to use her body anyway they like, without any protection. She still makes an occasional appearance at a church, temple or mosque, but it’s just for show and everyone knows it. Anyone who stands in her way, she bullies mercilessly by sullying their reputation with malicious gossip or using her thug friends to shut them up. Those still brave enough, plead with her, “This is not you Trinbago! You used to be so beautiful once and now you spoiling yourself! True beauty comes from valuing yourself and your own talents and creativity Trinbago! You need to work in harmony with your people and environment! You are becoming congested, polluted, selfish, corrupt and dangerous. Please listen to your family and friends, we love you!” but Trinbago does not listen. She is so caught up with putting on just the outward trappings of adulthood and success she forgets to take basic care of herself. Instead of cleansing her face, she pastes it with make-up. Instead of bathing she sprays on perfume to cover the smell. And what a smell, it stinks to high heaven! Infestations of lice and scabies begin to develop on top of the STDs she contracts from whoring out her natural resources to the highest bidder.
There was a time when Trinbago was actually kind of sweet, even though she was not at the peak of her development. Certainly, there were many puberty trials ahead. She still had to blossom from colonialism to democracy, plantation style mono-crop agriculture to diversified intensive farming, Victorian law to secular law, upward mobility based on merit not skin colour and industrial growth led by her own human resources not expat human resources. She still had to learn how to love equally, all the racial, religious and cultural sides of her personality. But even though she was less than perfect years ago, at least she was not the obese, indolent, drugged up, diseased teenaged prostitute with a crooked, violent nature she is today. Worse yet, in her present force ripe state of degradation she still has all those unresolved puberty issues to handle on top of the further damage she has inflicted on herself.
My vision concludes like this: One day, Trinbago finally reaches her vain 20/20 goal and convinces the bouncer to let her into the G8 nightclub. She saunters up to the VIP section. The countries there are toasting with expensive champagne because they took centuries to fight for their democracy and they have deep patriotic self-esteem. They really know the cost of sacrifice for a higher ideal, paid in human lives, and so they zealously nurture their traditions, architecture, arts and culture. They are all mature, accomplished, beautiful women in the prime of their life. They have strived to listen to their people who have stood up for empowerment, education and equal rights. Although they have come by their wealth through ill-begotten means like slavery and unfair trade, they are now in a position to repair the damage they have done and give back to the countries they have abused. They have many battle scars and many more to come but are beginning to take better care of their environment and are serious about providing basic social systems for the health and safety of their people. It is from this foundation, they flaunt the outward trappings of their success: the skyscrapers, technological innovations, luxury real estate and the ability to host large international events seamlessly and safely.
Suddenly, they catch the smell of something putrid wafting into their exclusive area. It’s the rotten smell of third-world underdevelopment and pestilential corruption masked by expensive perfume. They know that smell very well, it’s called eau de Banana Republic. Collectively they spin around and take one look at Miss Force Ripe Trinidad & Tobago and burst out laughing. They are not fooled. She will never be part of their clique, but since she looks so desperate for attention, they will make her their little lackey.
Edited version published in the Sunday 21st Trinidad Guardian