September 4, 2001
Not so many years ago, just before the PPP/PNC gained us our liberty, we were mostly poor, but we always seemed to have enough to be able to eat, rent premises and to keep ourselves 'decent.' We could go to work, leave our bicycles outside - unlocked - and find them still there when it was time to go home; we could forget a parcel or bag of shopping, go running back to where we had left it and find it still there. When we made a purchase, even say of a few ounces of nails, it would be carefully wrapped into a neat package and handed to us, with both hands, by a smiling assistant; we said "please" and were told "thank you" as appropriate; we courted happily and safely on the sea wall; we greeted the occupants with a "good morning" or "good afternoon" whenever we got into a cab or onto a bus; we would never dare (or even think of) trying to bribe a policeman or government official, because we knew that they were totally uncorruptible; sure we had a few rumsuckers - usually quite amiable characters - but junkies and drug pushers were unheard of; we had a beautiful capital city which was the envy of the whole Caribbean and in which we could walk without fear of molestation; we paid our hard-earned `bob' to the pension fund confident of a comfortable retirement with no cash worries when the time came; and what is more, we treated one another as friends. We generally trusted and loved our neighbours; we behaved with dignity and were treated with respect; we lived in a beautiful country and a glorious future shone ahead.
So what happened?