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By Michael “Brother Scobie” Joseph

There is a popular belief that a certain sector of this society brings nothing to the table and is comfortable; depending on governmental handouts for their very survival. This has been said over and over for such a long period of time that people, in and out of that grouping, believe it to be true. 

The people who have built this country from the ground to the towers are the ones being accused of liking too much hand outs and freeness, and are always gimme gimme. That may sound good and justifying to those ignorant of our historical development and those enjoying mischief. The people referred to did not invent the “dependency syndrome”system, they inherited it. Although they have not been able to benefit in any positive way, they are always made to appear as if they lack ambition, are lazy, uncreative and unproductive and are the ones who look to the government for everything. What utter rubbish! 

May I remind you that after these lands were stolen from its rightful owners, the first set of Europeans invited to populate and develop these lands were given large parcels, slaves, money and soft loans as they went along. This continues to be the trend to this day. Every investor coming to this country looks to the government for handouts. Check out the details of the latest Sandals hotel deal! Free land, cheap labor and years of tax breaks! Nothing has changed. 

What has become of the ex slaves? What am I speaking about you ask: those who worked for years without pay to build this country and still working hard with nothing to pass on to their off spring. We who built the Oil industry and the Sugar industry and the Seaports and the Airports and the Roads and Bridges, the Railways; we who cut down the forests and planted the sugar cane. You name it we built it and were denied the opportunity for bank loans, because the system was and still is, stacked against us. 

Chief Servant Tubal Uriah Buzz Butler, Pee Gee George Weekes, Bro. Makandal Daaga, and many others, - may their souls find peace amongst the ancestors - placed their lives on the line in the struggle for change. Yet they are still being denied their recognition as productive and constructive contributors who built this country from ground zero. Robbed of the land and money and mules (in the US) promised as part payment for our contributions. We are still squatters on the land our foreparents worked through blood, sweat and tears. 

Those who got some lands were robbed and are still being robbed of them. Check out the lands at Chaguaramas and the robbery that is still taking place, unabated, as we speak. Even the Steelband movement was robbed of lands at Williams Bay, given to them by the late Dr. Eric Williams: lands for which they were paying water rates up to a few years ago. 

Who can we turn to, for the protection of our interest? Not the politicians! Deception is the order of the day. We are being referred to as the working poor, who have to listen to the same mantra chanted by the politicians year after year: “There is a shortfall this year, but things are looking promising down the road. All you have to do is put your shoulders to the wheel and work harder.” 

Yet, those dishonest politicians who cream the fat off the top continue to live the good life with their friends and families, making a mockery of the democracy and we keep asking why crime keeps skyrocketing out of control. 

“You can no longer rely on the government to provide the basics”, is an added line to the mantra. WHAT? The same people we voted into office? Those who came begging for the job, saying that they can make it better for us? If we can’t turn to them, then who? Rudder knew what he was saying when he sang “this is not a fete in here, this is madness.” 

They pushing this thing too far. But, politicians are master gamblers. They take chances and get through every time. Slowly, the people are coming to terms with what’s going on and wondering, when will be our time? When will we be able to enjoy a brighter day? The cost of goods and services continue to rise, and at no time within the last fifty years was there a season of high productivity, so prices could be frozen or reduced to ease the burden of the working poor. 

The working poor are always accused of not producing enough and need to improve on their performance for things to get better. When will this betterment come? As far back as I could recall, is one set of people planting the corn, and another set raiding the barn. It is said that these people have a carnival mentality, but even carnival brings significant revenue to the country with no real benefits to the producers. 

The working poor operate as an abused wife who is made to believe that she is at fault, and always trying to improve to no end. And the politicians, who are the abusers, continue to put them through the guilt trip, by accusing them of not giving all their blood. This mindset is changing and the abused are coming to their senses, deciding enough is enough. We will take no more. 

Given the kind of privileges the members of Parliament enjoy, they should all be receiving minimum wages. If their nature is not of service to mankind, they should find another job. Until then, the saga continues. But, politicians must bear in mind that pigmy want his manhood money. He wants his place in the sun and no amount of fancy speech and robber talk will suffice. They are answerable to no one for their rape of our treasury and their many acts of corruption. But, as the old people would say, long rope for maga dog! We must be given land, as everyone else, for peace to reign in this country. The pledge that was made after the abolition of shackle slavery must be fulfilled. 
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