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T&T Is Bleeding
It’s a challenging time for the country. Bloodshed can’t seem to be halted. And crime plans have failed as admitted last week by chairman of the Police Service Commission Prof Ramesh Deosaran. Just how does the nation pick itself up and move forward? One woman with a possible solution is Dr Sharon-ann Gopaul-McNicol. She’s passionate about her work and loves her country.
She believes that the Government needs to implement the ground/bottom-up model of governing immediately to correct the social problems plaguing the country. “If we implement a bottom-up model and we correct those social problems, the bleeding we are seeing, the crimes...(she cries) this is so astronomical, but not just simple crimes, it is heinous crimes...
“We have lost our ethical and moral principles.” She held back her tears as she spoke. Gopaul-McNicol was interviewed on Thursday at her home on Petrotrin’s compound, Pointe-a-Pierre.
Change needed urgently
She returned to T&T 11 years ago and on realising the politics and the form of governance were major problems, began to engage in political assessment. “That is when it struck me that the political model of governing in every sense was still the top-down colonised model which we inherited pre-independence and which is the major hindrance to our national development and the impediment to the empowerment of our people,” she said.
She is confident that this comprehensive, culturally-relevant model is the only approach that will bring about a new social order in the region. Gopaul-McNicol said, “The duty of a government is to act as parent where necessary, to nourish, to develop, to stimulate and nurture the dormant qualities in people and to help them to actualise their potential with their support.”
Not daunted that her homeland has rejected her work and years of research, this licensed psychologist, social scientist, professor, former senator and author of 13 books on pyscho-social, educational and political development of the Caribbean is more than happy that another Caribbean nation—Barbados, has shown interest.
The Grace Showan Educational Foundation of Barbados has commissioned Gopaul-McNicol to conduct the first in a series of lectures, training and workshops on How to Create a New Social Order and Rebuild a Nation from the Bottom Up. She is expected to leave next month. Participants will include governmental units, private/business sector, and non-governmental organisations.
“If we could prevent Barbados from getting where we are, then this is good. Then it means we have less islands to worry about.”
Colonial system corrupted
She said colonialism limited the development of nations and for it to have strived, control of a nation’s military, security, legal, agricultural, financial, educational, social and communications units must have occurred. Likewise, she said economic/political oppression of the poor and less educated had to be part and parcel of the existence of a top-down colonial structure.
She said there were 45 differences and critical changes that have to be made in every government ministry should the model be implemented. She is no longer in the political limelight but said she will only support the political parties in the region if they were serious in changing the sordid state of affairs of their countries and were committed to social and political transformation.
“Haven’t you ever wondered why it is a good government that came into power in 2010 could be faced with the kinds of problems that it is faced with now? “It should tell you that it’s not the people...the politicians, it’s not that they are bad. “It’s that the colonial system that we inherited is corrupted by its very nature.”
Barbados is attempting to stop the bleeding
Barbados does not want to become like T&T or Jamaica and now the island is taking necessary measures to guard itself.
Gopaul-McNicol said when she released books on the new psychological models about 20 years ago, Barbados was the first to adopt it and to hold book launches for her. They were followed by Jamaica and the OECS countries, and then T&T. She said she was used to it and even though her heartbeat was and always will be in the land of her birth, she does not limit the definition of herself.
“I see myself as a Caribbean citizen. I’m just as excited and elated to launch this model in Barbados as I would have here in Trinidad and Tobago. “The main issue here is that Barbados is attempting to stop the bleeding in their country. They are clear that they do not want Barbados to come like Trinidad and Jamaica when it comes to crime.
“This is futuristic and progressive leadership.” She reflected on words by Jamaica’s former prime minister Bruce Golding who had said it was just about impossible to bring back Jamaica. She believes Golding was correct because when people have lived with crippling social diseases for 40 years as Jamaica, it gets into the DNA of the island.
At age 27 many years ago, and in possession of a doctorate, she wrote the then T&T government and said if the country continued on the social trajectory there would be a social decay of society in about 15 years. She said, “I pointed out the ten areas that we had to change immediately to prevent this from happening. Would you believe we never changed any of the ten?
“It is the duty of social scientists to alert their leaders to the social trends that are positive or negative. “This is what I attempted to do but no one cared to listen to a 27-year-old?”
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