Thursday, 10 November 2011

Trinidad & Tobago…a developed nation?

Courtesy Call
Arthur Snell &
Winston Dookeran
I promised myself, that I won't write about things that will overwhelm any one. You know the heavy stuff. No, there are lots of blogs dedicated to people moaning and groaning about everything beneath the sun. But this one has been nagging me, because feedback from the average person left me scratching my head. Wanna know why? Keep reading..
It's day 3 and counting since the curfew has been lifted and I am still baffled, not by this tiny bout of 'freedom' that Trinidadians are celebrating over (oblivious to the true meaning of a State of Emergency-SoE), but with what I read on October 31, 2011 in the Newsday. Just to recap for those of you who may still be unaware of a feat many large nations are still trying to accomplished! The British High Commissioner for Trinidad and Tobago, Mr. Arthur Snell (yes, Oxford-educated and all) also published on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office blogthat this country's dream of working towards and becoming a "developed country" came to fruition in the month of October. This realization and Mr. Snell reason for making such an assumption statement was because, T&T was removed from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) DAC list of developing countries; in that said month. Snell further stated that, "The premier international organization that makes a judgement on such matters considers T&T to be a developed country than Argentina, Chile and Costa Rica, countries that remain on the list."
I think this non-appearance on the OECD's DAC list seem to get a bit confusing for some people here; whose interpretation and mentality is, "we reach…we have arrived…we is a First World Nation." But let's not get beside ourselves people. In actuality and from my understanding, T&T has not been declared a developed country per se…despite all those fancy high-rise buildings in the nation's capital (had to mention that) and no, I am not trying to be a cynic or pessimistic in the slightest manner. Far from it, for I recognized that the country have made notable strides by increasing literacy rates and improving education (GATE), improving health care and reducing infant mortality rates. We have been steadily climbing with those positive indicators and more. And while we are a small nation, we must not forget that we were also able to use our resources to achieve great things too. But the theory of 'developed' speaks directly to a Eurocentric idea of what it means to be really advanced. Seriously people, think about it. How can a nation be 'undeveloped' one day and then a report makes it 'developed' the next day? Even the most narrow-minded person should be wagging their tongues with questions. But the truth is, our society usually takes things at face-value and run with it. Somehow, we never seem to stop and question any thing. The fact that some people actually think "we have arrive" says a lot..."third world thinking."  
Perhaps, to add to this misinterpretation is the United Nations (UN) Human Development Index (HDI) report for 2011, which puts Trinidad and Tobago at 62 out of 187 nations in ranking. What this means, is that we are part of the top third of countries in terms of HDI. This HDI, together with our macroeconomics stats, seems to indicate that while we may be far from the poverty of sub-Saharan Africa, we are indeed also, no where close to the peaceful and flourishing Norway…which ranked first in the HDI report. 
That said, it now sorta kinda feels like a welcome respite, that perhaps we are no longer a "third world." Somehow that always seemed a debasing description whenever I travel. As if they (First World) were mocking us. Have you experienced that typecasting of T&T being a poor and primitive country…on your travels? Yes, where we are still climbing trees and all? The nerve of some Americans 1st world people…yet we look to them for everything as if they were our God!?! But that is for another post.
Skyline (2010)
So readers, send me your thoughts on this new development. But keep in mind though, that the above info is just statistics! As the wise saying goes, "take it with a grain of salt". Because the fact of the matter is that these reports are just stats and do not speak of the reality happening on the ground (as I type this), and do not diminish the fact that we still have much more work to do to truly make our society equal and fair.


Bob Saget said...

This amounts to the samething as giving a Trinidadian a degree. They get a piece of paper and all of sudden they think know something and they are all that.
As far as I concerned, nothing has changed. Most Trinis are still delusional, arrogant and ignorant. When Trinis finally realize that all their chocolate dreams of being educated and civilized are really just dog shit delusions of stupidity, then I'll consider that advancement.

Marlene said...

As it relates to your article, there are so many levels that one can comment on...

One comment: We keep benchmarking ourselves, behaviours and expectations with low-level performers (countries), people and lifestyles. Let us lift our aspirations and ambitions...

Anonymous said...


Are we a develop nation? YES and NO. The tall building sugest that we are. Our industries also sugest that we are But is our mind set of that of a develop nation the answer is NO!!!!!, we have nelegeted the lesser foutunate, the sick, the victims of violent crimes, the environment and most of all our moral and spiritual values. may be one day we will change our mind set, may be not in my life time, but some day.

Wens-Notebook said...

Well said (sic) guys. I see your point Bob and that is "third world thinking."
That is a great point true. It's as if we're not good enough to 'play' with the greats! So yes the bottom line is definitely changing our mindset...mentality.

Serjio said...

Im glad to see there is more than one trini out there who can see that we are not a developed nation. When I heard it the first time I began to take another look at my country and I did see a change ... a change in the mental state of our leaders. Wendy girl, I dont think we have anyone sane in government or politics here.

Ne said...

We may have developed educationally, economically and financially but certainly our minds have not developed. Could you imagine being in your home, the one place of comfort and someone comes in and take everything you've worked hard for and then take your life along with it. "Is that development?" What about children being raped and killed "Is that development?"
Babies die daily at Mt. Hope "Is that development?" People have to sleep on the ground in hospitals "Is that development?" People go to the hospital for treatment and come back out dead "Is that development?" What is even more disgusting is that no one is ever held accountable!
Developed I guess not!

Jillian said... looks delightful as u make your purchase and wonder which many ways should you enjoy this wonderful meal.....u season it well, it smells great in the bowl as it marinates.... u place it in your warm skillet and as the heat renders through the carcass of this creature, u wonder, how could i have not realised?......a fish rots from the head!!!Developed Nation? BULLSHIT!