Trini Shark, Pleased To Make Your Acquaintance.

...Listening To Our People

Today, I discovered an interesting channel on YouTube. It is called ActivismTT. I started viewing some of the videos and I was drawn to the Trini Shark series of commentaries because I took an instant liking to the shark. Well that was the hook that got my attention.

"Trini Shark on Communication" is one of my favourites. Embedding is disabled so I don't have the pleasure of displaying it here but do go to ActivismTT's channel and have a look. I have provided below a transcript of this particular comment by Trini Shark:

Trini Shark: "Hi folks!
Trini Shark wants to know when will the government of Trinidad and Tobago and everybody involved in the leadership realise that communication involves a two-way exchange. We have Kamla, UNC. We have PNM, etc. tweeting, Facebook, all ONE-WAY. No opportunity to dialogue, to discuss. Trini Shark not like that. You talk to me, I listen. And remember, beware, there are lots of sharks out there.
Bye for now."

This is a subject that is close to my heart and I have written about it under Operation Mindstrap. For me, it is not enough to hear promises that the government is going to listen. I want to see steps being taken to operationalise that promise to "listen" and I do not mean interception of citizens' communications.

How is our government listening, and to whom? Is it noting only what is reported and analysed by the media? Is it collecting the comments made by online readers? Is it studying what the MP's hear by chance in their communities? Is it paying attention mainly to its support base? Is it going along with opinions and directives from interfering and not necessarily benign external parties and/or their internal agents?

What mechanisms are in place for soliciting and acting upon feedback [complaints, concerns, ideas] from the population? I always remember that famous conclusion last year gleaned from "cottage meeting" polls à la Tesheira that the property tax was supported by "the majority of the population." For me that was just more evidence of a government that was pretending to be listening. And when Roodal Moonilal said in parliament, after the appointment of the foreign CoP was approved earlier this year:
"the average man in the street did not care whether the person appointed was local or foreign.

“Whether it is a local or foreigner, they do not care if it is Dwayne Gibbs, Lance Gibbs or Andy Gibbs, let us move on to the next challenge..." SOURCE
how exactly had he had come by this information? Granted, the persons taking the time to comment online may not have been comprised only of "average" men in the street but I got the distinct impression from the debates, that those for and against had equal weight.

I understand that it is easier for a government to just make it up as it goes along to convince us that the homework has been done and that the best decisions have been made. But if it could get just this one promise right - the promise to listen and deliberate upon and act upon what is heard, it would be the foundation upon which all other deliverables could be achieved.

The people, our people, live in all the corners of this nation and all across the globe. They know what the problems are and they are the government's best scouts. If they know that it wants to hear, they will talk. If they understand that it is really listening, they will help this government to get it right. Why shouldn't any government want to get it right?

Trini Shark, really pleased to make your acquaintance.
"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!