Previous Articles 1
Previous Articles 2
Biography - F.A. Baron
Freedom to be Greedy
Farewell & Welcome
DA Response to Grenada
And, We were Misled
Local vs Privy Council
Thank You Dame Eugenia
Big Bad John
Travels and Travails
Trade Gap - USA & DA
In Case You Missed It
".. Your Love to Town"
Mad Men not to be trusted
Politics of Lies & Deception
Wide, Deep Transparency
Petrocaribe $ Bird Island
Nations Shall War No more
My Feeling of Insecurity
China, Admiration & Envy
Capitalism: Wounded ...
© Gordon Moreau
TRAVEL AND TRAVAIL
Miami, October 2, 2005 - There was a time long ago when status was ascribed on the basis of race, inheritance, and what-have-you. Bad habits do not evaporate overnight; but today, by and large, one is expected to achieve one's own status. Now, it seems to me, the bundle of intangibles that is called "HOME" must also achieve its status.
Home is no longer called "sweet home" simply because those two words have been used in apposition for hundreds of years. The status of sweet is no longer ascribed.
It struck me forcefully when I landed at Melville Hall recently, and a Dominican business associate said: "Whenever I return home, I feel depressed." Consider a very valid complaint.
For plenty people, the first site to be visited on landing is the toilet. For many others, the last site is the same place; and not by choice. It follows, if not for the tourist but for ourselves, the toilet should earn the title of "facility". At all times it should be kept clean and in a state of good repair. If we cannot afford that, we cannot afford to run a country. This is a good time to congratulate brand new Tourism Minister Mr. Ivor Nassief. I wish him the very best.
Let us also mention the heat. There is a limit to what ordinary mortals can bear, even in the midst of major improvements in progress. And above all, home is not that sweet if all who are able to do so assemble at some port in the effort to run away from home.
Meanwhile, I go about my business at the Customs and someone asks me to complain that officers are neglected by the authorities. I go to the Traffic Division to report a road accident and someone else declares that I am well placed to note their poor office conditions despite the material contribution they make to collect national revenues.
A long-time friend since school days says I am silent these days; this is subject to sundry interpretations. And a fourth acquaintance advises me to address wrong doings of the late Dame Eugenia.
All those folks are capable people who can pen their concerns at least as well as I. Even if it were desirable, it is impossible for me to drink bush tea for everybody's fever. I am reminded that I am not helping if I do for you what you can do for yourself.
Here is at least one reminder. As a professional I still live and travail in this micro state. My clientele occasionally includes the government. Consequently, I am not the right person to write on every subject of public interest. Readers should insert this caveat in their expectations of me, and if they have no such limitations they should do a little writing themselves. They should allow me to write as I wish from my personal experiences.
At the Trinidad Hilton, September 23, 2005, I drew it to the attention of an employee that I came from Dominica; not from the Dominican Republic as the invoice indicated. I was shocked by her response: that Dominica was not included in their computer/information system. So every time Dominica was input as a place of residence, the system automatically printed Dominican Republic.
"DON'T BOAST," I said. "Even before we were CARICOM partners we were federal buddies. Why cannot the Trinidad Hilton bring this anomaly to the notice of Hilton International and cause it to be corrected?"
And I observed something else at Hilton: the service is excellent, but the food at La Boucan restaurant is outrageously expensive.
I see that some political leaders are not allowed to go without controversy. It was published recently that Dame Eugenia had by letter expressed her wish to be cremated if she died abroad. She died in Martinique; ultimately, what ever the reason, that wish was not observed.
Dr. Eric Williams, Prime Minister of Trinidad/Tobago for about a quarter century, died in 1981. By his will he wanted a private funeral and no lying in state. But the thousands of PNM party faithfuls declared "no face, no vote." Eventually, there was a compromise among the living: many thousands were allowed to file pass his body prior to the very private funeral attended only by his few remaining family members.
Recently, something forced Dr. Williams back to my memory. It is not the fact that I worked for two (2) years at the National Cultural Council of Trinidad/Tobago which was under his portfolio. It is this. At some big national gathering Dr. Williams addressed the school children of the nation. At the end of that speech he told them that they carried the future of Trinidad and Tobago in their school bags.
Legend has it that one boy looked into his school bag and remarked: "All I see is my books, my pencil, and a tulum."
A tulum is kin to what Dominicans called a "tablet." It is simply grated coconut mixed with molasses, confectionary for ordinary people made by ordinary people. Last month I saw that the lowly tulum had graduated to find its place among many other dishes on display at a buffet lunch at the Trinidad Hilton.
It told me that managers have become sensitive to the contributions of local cuisine to international culinary arts.
And if I have criticized the Hilton let me also admit I felt secure there. As a guest I could open the elevator. But without the key to my room I could not command it any further. I was impressed, even if a fortnight before I had stayed at Marriotts in New York and in Florida.
In summary, in my travels and travails, it is more beneficial to help HILTON INTERNATIONAL correct its omission of Dominica than to voice complaints which can best be done by the aggrieved persons themselves.