Wikipedia states that “Foreign accent syndrome (FAS) is a rare medical condition involving speech production that usually occurs as a side effect of severe brain injury, such as a stroke or a head injury.” In Trinidad and Tobago we are bombarded daily with people suffering from foreign accent syndrome and these brain damaged people are usually employed by desperate radio stations as announcers. For some reason, these people’s brains have all decided to be damaged in such a way that their accents sound American rather than Chinese. But there is a reason why American foreign accents are treasured and employed by radio station owners and that is because in Trinidad and Tobago, anything that is said with a foreign accent has more credibility than the same thing said in a local one. A local might say “Ohgahd! De water done, ah goe smell like ah ram goat now” as compared to the American “There is no water. Now I will smell like a real rat’s ass.” Because we live on a piece of land that is scarcely visible on a world map, many insecure locals feel they need to become like people who live in a bigger piece of land and to do this they try to speak like an American thinking if they sound foreign people will think they are smart but most end up sounding like they are both dotish and brain-dead.
Some say that is our colonial mindset but that was before my time so I am not sure. Weren’t the colonials British? This foreigner-knows-best syndrome has led to the radio stations adopting the foreign accent as the accent of choice. That‘s also why foreign contractors and consultants can run both amock and away with our billions but are still seen by the governments as our saviors and masters. Recently, an Englishman was imported at top dollar to head WASA because a suitable local with an English accent could not be found. The talk is that the government also wants to rid many other State Enterprises of its local accents and are strongly considering the return of the Canadian accent. No wonder Makandal Daaga is throwing a fit. But the only reason the Government will go foreign is to please those locals who refuse to believe in themselves and their country and instead believe an American nasal or a British up-there tone is better than a natural Trinidad one.