The prejudice thing, usually ill-concealed, is more plainly visible because members and ambassadors of the privileged classes persist in making incautious statements as they feel the heat generated by the George Floyd killing in the US.
However, as the soon come general election 2020 is taking over the top news spot, I must move on to the very positive Covid-19 bounce in public opinion, which the Government is currently enjoying
There is one immutable negative, however. It is murder – 200 plus to date. In respect of the vast majority of murders the police still cannot detect the perpetrators, no matter how many media briefings and photo-ops they pile on us
I would like to speculate about Monday September 7, 2020
The president of the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) has said that the Ministry of Education had come to them with an October date on which to hold the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) examination, postponed because of Covid
The SEA is the critical, but cruel and discriminatory examination that determines which secondary schools primary school pupils “pass for”. Replacing the SEA system is the most important structural change required to diminish current inequalities but that is always evaded as “a conversation for another time”
When recently the Minister of Education announced a date for the SEA, it was not an October date. The date fixed is August 20 with the consequential directive that Standard Five pupils return to school on July 20 in order to be prepared for the exam
If TTUTA’s claim that an October date was in the pipeline is true, why did the Government bounce the date backward to August? Maybe the Government wants the exam finished before the general election is held because schools are used as polling stations. Let’s remember that this Government was successful in the last general election, which was held on Monday, September 7, 2015. Is that a lucky 7? My ole pardner Derek would have said “capriche boy”!
Have I made a melancholy conclusion that the exam became subordinate to a preferred election date and a failure to think through alternative SEA arrangements?
Melancholy, as readers know, is a feeling of thoughtful sadness. I borrowed the phrase to be my label this week from a Privy Council decision, which corrected a misguided assessment of a man’s worth because he was unconventional and living in an abandoned shed in Point Fortin
This man was regarded as a “cockroach”, I suppose, since the case arose out of a malicious prosecution and the accused was unable to raise bail, stuck in imprisonment on remand, until acquitted on a no-case-to-answer basis
His lowly status, by whatever derogatory term described, is why when the civil courts in 2007, in our own country, came to assess his damages, the judge awarded him too little and this decision was upheld by the Court of Appeal. In a stunning piece of irony, the colonial era-based Privy Council corrected our learned judges, pointing out: “The appellant may not have been a high ranking member of society. That does not mean that his reputation was of any less significance than that of those who were.”
Back to the Covid bounce. The Government deserves it so far. Its clear demarcation of quarantine, its creation of separate Covid hospitals and its conservative lockdown policy served us well, despite low rates of testing
The Opposition seemed to flip-flop on the extent and release of the lockdown and it did not recognise that qualified support should have been given to the Government’s measures at a time of fear and crisis
Can the Covid bounce be reversed? That depends in part on whether the Government continues its sequence of own goals and alarming displays of authoritarian anger outside of Covid healthcare management
Unfortunately for the Opposition, when it wrote its letter to the US Embassy about the Venezuela issues, it trapped itself in an image of traitor or snitch and thereby made many citizens distrustful of it
Perhaps however, the real bounce is the bounce down we are all going to get if the economy collapses after the general election