The name Laventille has become a brand. It is a negative brand. The Laventilles in our country don’t only exist in East Dry River. They have been replicated throughout and there is a kind of lethargy which is immobilizing.

The only way out of this malaise is personal action. Just as the drug addict must take personal responsibility, so too must the unemployed, the gangster and the dispossessed. I accept that there are cases which require institutional support but the vast majority of people have the capacity to improve their lot in life.

As someone who spent the first 19 years of my life in Quarry Street, East Dry River (EDR) my observation is that the persons who were able to improve their lot in life did so by being faithful to the first word in our country’s motto – Discipline. It takes discipline to avoid pregnancy and bringing a child into this world when you are unable to provide physical or emotional support. It takes discipline to ensure that children go to school every day and devote the necessary time to studying. It takes discipline to learn a trade or develop a skill which will prepare you for the labour market. It takes discipline to save enough money to pay the deposit for a government house. It takes discipline to obey the laws of the land.

What I am hearing is a society interested only in quick fixes and a growing tendency to demand that someone else should solve the problems that we created in the first place.

Government has a major responsibility to provide the enabling framework but the responsibility for moving from point A to B lies in the heart of each individual and the sooner we accept that the sooner we will take responsibility for ensuring that sweet T&T is a place of equity.

Here are 20 things we can do to make T&T a better place:

  1. Go to work every day!
  2. Work for 8 hours!
  3. Complete your tasks to the best of your ability!
  4. Use sick leave only when you are sick!
  5. Let your supervisor know if you cannot go to work!
  6. Turn up on time for appointments!
  7. Ensure that your children go to school every day!
  8. Speak the truth!
  9. Ask for permission before you take or use anything that does not belong to you!
  10. Place litter in bins!
  11. Use cross walks or zebra crossings!
  12. Obey the speed limit when driving!
  13. Stop at “stop lights”!
  14. Stop at major roads!
  15. Drive on the correct side of the road!
  16. Overtake on the right only!
  17. Be polite to everyone!
  18. Refuse “bribery” in any form!
  19. Extend a hand to anyone in need!
  20. Implement the laws of Trinidad and Tobago!

This may appear to be basic and corny but they represent a list of “little things” which can make a world of difference in our society

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