Back To Basics [Song]

Uploaded by edward spencer

By Trinidad Rio

Spoken: Merry New Year, ladies and gentlemen. Once again this is straight, diehard, genuine, authentic calypso and this is how the story goes:-

I went to Public Utilities and tell them,
"Disconnect them facilities 'cause me ent want them."
I try to contact the Ombudsman but never in office
I going to file me an injunction on the Public Service
'Cause every time a heavy rain fall, by me doh have no current at all
They spoil mih TV, they spoil mih fridge, they nearly kill me with low voltage
Now, before they make me a lunatic [I going back to basic]
I going and get a flambeau and lamp with wick. [I going back to basic]

I call my fans and I call my friends to let them know
That if they have a message to send, tell Tempo
And if they come home and they ent see me, tell my neighbour
Or get a pen and a writing pad and write a letter
'Cause TSTT does make me weep, gone are the days when ole talk was cheap
I make a phone call to Talparo and I get a phone bill to Mexico
Oh mih lord, before they kill me and kill me quick [I going back to basic]
A piece ah maling and two KLIM pan wouldn't do the trick. [I going back to basic]

I went and buy me a motor car for my own comfort
Because I can't take no more torture waiting on transport
But all them potholes and all them bump, mih car ent able
Until they invent a car to jump, well I go travel
I beg the Lord to please put a hand, touch the heart of the spare parts man
I used to have a raise in the bank, now every cent gone in my gas tank
Now, I prefer roll a roller with piece ah stick [I going back to basic]
Or buy a three-speed bike going jic-jic-jic. [I going back to basic]

Now the only competent source that really working
Is when you can't pay your bills on time, they come cutting
Incompetence and disregard ent no humour
'Cause the situation is sad for the poor consumer
The word WASA does give me gripe, I ask for water, them give me pipe
I can't even get mih clothes to wash, my toilet full and can't even flush
Now they make me condemn mih toilet bowl [I going back to basic]
And now I digging a latrine hole. [I going back to basic]

Yesterday, I went to the store to buy a cooler
Then get my Indian partner next door to make a chulha
I buy a donkey cart from Ramdeen to make a stagecoach
Then put some Severin in mih latrine to kill the cockroach
I buy a posey made in Hong Kong, the only silver posey in town
Well, if you see the latrine I build, girl, is the cleanest one on the hill
All down inside the hole and around the walls, I always Flitting... You know why?
To make sure cockroach ent bite my -----.

Long time, me, Gypsy and Cro Cro, back in the earlies
We used to go down town after show, pick up the ladies
Window shop, take them along, buy them a roti
Then find the cheapest hotel in town and make a pacoti
But time changes and so do we, so put that down in kaiso history
'Cause if you should do the same today, is like a game of Russian Roulette
So now, before one of them get me sick [I going back to basic]
I prefer sit down in a corner and ----------- [I going back to basic]

Source: The lyrics posted on this blog are often transcribed directly from performances. Although it is my intention to faithfully transcribe I do not get all the words and I have a knack for hearing the wrong thing. Please feel free to correct me or to fill in the words that I miss by dropping me a message via e-mail. I'd be forever grateful. Thanks in advance

A Note From The Gull

Thank you, Trinidad Rio! Not to make light of budget related woes and other hardships, but if we really think about it, we do need to go back to basics, not just to save money but to improve the quality of our lives. Funny eh?  To live better we have to step back and slow down.

As always, my mind goes immediately to agriculture and food production. I don't know about you but in hard times, I could do without shelter, clothes, etc. If I were given the choice of one necessity of life, I'd choose food. We all really need food and water to survive. I read the section in the budget that applies to agriculture and food security and I crossed my fingers and hoped that this time we are being serious. For a society that is constantly referring to the importance of food and the pervasiveness of the soul selling "eat ah food" mentality, I would have expected agriculture to to be listed first among the initiatives outlined for diversifying the economy. Instead, six others:- financial services, tourism, information and communication technology, downstream energy industries are discussed before eventually turning to agriculture.
Mr Speaker, the seventh area of focus is agriculture. We propose to reduce our food import bill by 50.0 per cent or just over $2.0 billion per year by 2015. Achieving food security is our top priority. We all recall the global food price shocks in the period 2006–2010 when domestic inflation reached an annual average level of 9.1 per cent compared with an annual average of 4.8 per cent in the period 2001–2005. The increased levels of inflation stemming from our increasingly imported food requirements have had a harmful impact on our citizens, particularly our most vulnerable, as they sought to manage the business of their everyday lives. Consequently it is proposed on a temporary basis that Value Added Tax would be removed from all food items except luxury items and alcoholic beverages.

Mr Speaker, another global price shock is on the horizon as drought conditions are devastating commodity crops, in particular corn and maize, in the United States. These higher global prices are already generating price increases in Trinidad and Tobago in particular in the poultry industry. We shall be proactive. The Ministry of Food Production will take the following steps to address the situation:

1. the National Agriculture and Marketing Development Corporation (NAMDEVCO) is establishing a Commodity Stabilisation Fund which will initiate measures to stabilise both the supply and the price of identified produce on the market while at the same time strengthening the agro-processing sector;

2. the Ministry of Food Production through a competitive process, is now actively distributing to the national farming community, standard leases for small and large farms. These farms will occupy 4,111 acres on Caroni lands and 100 acres each on state lands at Tucker Valley. A condition of the leases will be agreed cultivation as quickly as possible;

3. the Ministry of Food Production is continuing to distribute standard agricultural leases for two acre-sized plots to the former employees of Caroni. We have decided to expedite the lease issuance exercise by utilising private attorneys to assist in the preparation of the leases. We expect that within the next two years more than 5,000 such leases will be distributed; and

4. the Ministry of Food Production, with agricultural land becoming less and less available in Trinidad and Tobago, is moving to establish a Food Security Facility with the Government of Guyana. The Facility would commit both Governments to expanding agricultural production in Guyana through the establishment of commercial relationships for funding the establishment of several large agricultural estates in Guyana. Mr Speaker, I wish to emphasise that the agricultural sector enjoys a range of incentives under the existing legislation. I would urge all farmers and other stakeholders to take advantage of these incentives.
Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. BUDGET STATEMENT 2013. Stimulating Growth, Generating Prosperity, OCTOBER 1 2012, pg. 18.
Although Trinidad Rio does not address FOOD in his back to basics move, I believe it to be one of the foundation blocks of a society. The quality of food that we consume has far reaching impacts on every other sector and because everything is interrelated, sometimes the quality of food is affected by what is happening in other sectors. By the way why doesn't the government just bite the bullet and state that we are going organic? If the government would actually consider "legislation to make radio and TV stations introduce more locally produced programmes" why not consider legislation to introduce organic, earth/human friendly food production? Why can't the agriculture and food production industries be put on notice that there will be a move away from the importing and production of tainted plant and animal products? There is an organic agriculture movement already growing in this country and more and more enlightened people will be asking the right questions about the health problems being experienced by the population and the likely correlation between water and environment and food quality degradation and quality of life.

People all over the world are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of natural foods and there are increasing numbers who do not want to consume genetically modified agricultural inputs or products laced with agricultural chemicals/antibiotics/harmful preservatives. It is not pie in the sky to suggest to a forward thinking nation that the production and export of organically produced raw and processed materials would be very profitable.  

Although I fully support cooperation between the Caribbean nations and I'd prefer to import from the Caribbean than outside, I do not think that we should rely too heavily on other countries before we have really given our agricultural sector a chance. We are not yet scorched, barren land, although some would like to be given free rein to make it so, and I will not be convinced that we are running out of land before I can examine how the land that we do have is being utilised - what is being hogged, used inappropriately or just lying idle. Perhaps we need also to be looking at land reform. 

I will say it again and again - Trinbagonians who have access to land, even a small lot of land are in a good position. Those who live in concrete apartment blocks surrounded by concrete pavements have to lobby to get their representatives to secure community gardens. I have witnessed these thriving in two countries. Trinbagonian gardens can grow all year 'round and their owners have access to government farms, government support and advice and information leaflets from government agricultural extension services. Start small. Grow herbs, then go for spinach, beans, peas, corn, root crops. Plant a lime tree, a passion fruit vine, a breadfruit tree, a soursop tree.... plant something! You might have limes, your neighbour might have plantain. You could trade. VAT or no VAT, try as often as you can to leave the imported processed goods on the shelves, and go local. Start creating a demand for local organically produced meat and vegetables. Encourage the organic farmers to produce even more when they see that there is a growing market.

Take the short courses that are provided by the government. Take the courses provided by organisations like Wa Samaki Ecosystems. This year their annual Permaculture Design course will be conducted from November 9th -18th, 2012. So if you can afford the fees [people continue to find the money to pay for Carnival costumes] and if you can get the time off from work, take the plunge. As you get your garden growing, be a change agent and teach your neighbours about Permaculture.

So as mentioned in an earlier post, here are some organisations/iniatives in Trinidad and Tobago which you can approach for information to get started:


TTOAM Trinidad and Tobago Organic Agriculture Movement

Trinidad and Tobago Permaculture Institute [an Association of practicing Permaculture Designers]
6 St. Ann's Avenue, St. Ann's
Phone: 624 1341

Wa Samaki Ecosystems

Plant A Garden!! A garden is a smile on the earth's face. A garden will put a smile on your soul.

"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.

Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.

Mweh ka allay!