People and economist are saying that Trinidad and Tobago is living beyond its means and that is contributing to the drain on foreign exchange in the country. This was no doubt made worse in the short term by the flood of back-pay to public servants. Also, our spending habits such as buying too many cars and flooding “skyboxes” with goodies all year round is no doubt a big drain but I can say from observation that the forex drain from buying imported cars far outweigh the purchases via individuals’ skyboxes.
But the real cause of this drain is too much disposal income due to heavily subsidized basic needs such as water, electricity, prescription medicine, gasoline, laptops, GATE and canned foods. If we were to pay a less subsidized portion of these items then there would be less money to make the unimaginative big time importers of everything even less imaginative and innovative. The motto of these companies seems to be “just bring it down and it will sell.”
Everyday you see oil prices sliding downhill worse than Jack Warner’s reputation. Everyday you see countless ads urging us to buy in order to be happy. Banks, a big beneficiary of the big disposable incomes due to big government subsidies, are all too willing to make it happen with a loan of your choice. The Minister of Finance hinted that they are concerned with how the reduction in government subsidies will affect the most vulnerable. The most vulnerable has always been the politicians’ pet and best friend so it is always in political parties interest to have as many most-vulnerable as they can create as democracy is one man one vote.
I am anxious for the elections to be over with and I do not envy the next party in power as something drastic will have to be done quickly to prevent our thin-walled economic bubble from bursting. Sink or swim, Kamla or Rowley, I want this thing called General Elections to be over so we can pay attention to the more serious things in life like the economy and how much de Government goe give we.
Clever Packaging of Fast Food
Trinidad and Tobago is a frustrating country to live in not only because the police service can be selectively incompetent so as to intentionally start unrest but the population gets constant mixed signals from the authorities. On one hand foreign fast food franchises are government-encouraged and causing traffic all over the place while on the other the Minister of Health accuses citizens of being too fat and unhealthy from fast foods thus becoming a drain on the treasury. Not a big drain as kickbacks paid over the years to politicians and their friends but a drain on the public purse by the public is always looked upon with the highest disgust by holders of high office.
Hot cross bun
Yes, we as a country need food and jobs but it seems we are doing this at the expense of our health and foreign exchange. We are a bad food society and the lines of people buying fried food and chips at locations nationwide will always vastly outnumber the amount of people lining up to greet any former political hero on his or her way to buy something down town. I can sympathize with the Minister of Health’s frustration as citizens always complain about the level of health care available while lounging on a couch, enjoying KFC and a massive Pepsi backed up with a current roll without raisins.
Despite high taxes on cigarettes and alcohol, these companies are immensely profitable due to the addictive nature of their products and the foolish people who buy them. It is no different with fried food with salt. High taxes are never a deterrent with addictions and taxing bad food to pay for dialysis seems as foolish as giving crooks access to the treasury and depending on integrity laws to keep them honest.
We need to take our lives in our own hands and fight the attraction of these toxic substances being sold for high profit and packed in cleverly designed fast food boxes and brown paper bags. Saying no to bad food will benefit the economy and the happiness index of the country. The turning of our collective backs on bad foods will start a good food revolution and also force doctors into more productive and humanitarian professions such as farming and engineering. It will be a win win situation.
The Government’s newly launched Colour Me Orange crime and poverty reduction project has a good chance of turning into something called Colour Me Bloody Orange crime escalation and poverty reduction by forced population elimination scheme as there is now every indication this has the makings of a war – first the big stones in the car park then the guns in the streets. What might appear to be a simple weeding job to the casual observer may end up being a weeding out exercise, with the principle being dead men don’t work, though some do get paid. It is true the PP Government is trying to reduce the amount of gold chain snatching and muggings taking place for the season of good will and joy but Colour Me Orange seems like throwing gasoline in the fire where crime is concerned.
The Opposition’s greatest fear is the Project will buy the Government support while that is the Government’s greatest wish. I suppose Government’s policy is to manage gangs rather than eliminate the need for them. Maybe Government has seen the benefits of being in a gang and want to become the leader of the Orange gang, the most feared and ruthless gang since the last Government gang. But every cloud has a silver lining so I decided, in the interest of my economy, to become a community leader and will be accepting members into my gang. All members must be willing to fear me while looking menacing to the general public. Once we, the aka_lol Gang, are deemed to be both a threat to national security and a lost cause we too will qualify for some Orange. it is either that or we continue to perish in traffic and continue our careers as lowly, unappreciated, completely-ignored -until-we-miss-a-tax-payment taxpayers.
If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man ~ Mark Twain
Pleasure Unleashed at $1,000 a pop in Trinidad and Tobago
The old saying was “Carnival is colour and colour is Kodak” but all that has changed. Now, the new saying in Trinidad and Tobago is “Carnival is pleasure and pleasure is expensive.” Yes, pleasure has a price and sometimes it’s $1,000 per person in Maraval. To be fair, it is an all inclusive event meaning it’s all you can eat, all you can drink and all you can wine between the hours of 2 and 9. But the question is how much can one man or woman eat, drink and wine without getting sick or creating a bad impression in the minds of the ones who did not get too drunk to forget. Yesterday was the first time I had the opportunity to actually see expensive Carnival fete tickets so I had to take a photo and blog for the world to see. At these prices I was expecting the tickets to be the size of on iPad but unfortunately they were regulation size tickets or even smaller, probably in an attempt so as to maximize profits. I wonder if fete promoters pay taxes or if the police will be waiting for those fete-intoxicated drivers? On the positive side, these fetes do bring in foreign exchange as these two tickets were bought with a foreign credit card by a foreigner as I am sure many tickets to Carnival fetes were.
The mood of a country
The culture of a country is not only found in the country’s song, dance and shark and bake but also in the full-page ads in the newspapers. In studying the culture of a country most anthropologists and space aliens listen to the drums but miss the real beat drummed out by ad agencies via full-page ads. Some say the newspaper headlines tell the story of a country but as this task of headline creation is usually given to the accountant or janitor at most daily newspapers, headlines can be misleading. Since the cost of one full-page color ad is almost equal to or more than the yearly salary of many workers and public servants in Trinidad and Tobago, it must never be taken lightly. These ads sometimes show, in a subtle way, who are the real power brokers in a country thus who are pulling the strings.
Since there is much to learn from full-page ads this blog decided to take some photos of some of these ads appearing in the daily newspapers over the last few days to document the Carnival season for 2011 and by extension, the mindset of our happy country.
RBTT lies to customers
RBTT, or is it RBC, is what most customers call the new Public Service and in Trinidad and Tobago this says a lot. By that I mean it is not an organization that cares about its customers. This is why RBTT decided to shut down its electronic banking system over a weekend and as if it wanted to make the public service look good, the disrespectful bank also lied to customers. When I say lie I mean put out an ad saying it was shutting its electronic banking service and in bold say ONLY AT WITHDRAWALS WILL BE AVAILABLE AT THIS TIME. That was and is a lie. Most customers were unable to access cash from ANY AMB since Saturday evening and this was still so on Sunday morning. Maybe somebody high up at RBTT is being fed bullshit by the incompetent RBTT IT people just as the AG was fed crap by his investigators. I again say, somebody at RBTT has to be fired for this continuing indifference to customers.
Proof of RBTT's flair for lies
Maybe people were fired the last time a huge fiasco occurred but the public needs to know that the bank is getting rid of its incompetence. To correct this continuing incompetence and indifference by RBTT to customers, people need to show the bank who has the power. Money talks but money also walks.
A Trinidad and Tobago Spy Helicopter?
Everybody suspected there was big time spying going on in this tiny country of Trinidad and Tobago but what is even more shocking is that the Prophetess couldn’t see what was going on without all the high-tech equipment. Maybe the intelligence work was not for political gain alone but also sold to those gunrunners, drug dealers and kidnappers who people always thought was a big part of the old, voted-out partnership. All those helicopters buzzing about and the Blimp peeping into people’s bedrooms with nice, flashy cameras was not just to satisfy the erotic fantasies of the Master and his Mistress but also for profit. I suspect the people involved in these state-funded, illegal operations have hundreds of millions of ill-gotten US dollars stashed in bank accounts and mattresses around the world and in local financial institutions except CL Financial. Was Duprey and Monteil on the list of those spied on? If so, was Tesheira privy to such privileged information? Seeing how ethical a person she is, I won’t be surprised. Something smells very rotten in Trinidad and Tobago and I believe he made a statement on the issue at a press conference today. Talk about a bold face liar who will obviously spend the rest of his days in Golden Grove. The people can’t wait.
Trinidad and Tobago Weather
UPDATE: 31th October 2010 @ 12:52 p.m – Tobago and Grenada remains under a Tropical Storm Warning
FROM The Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Services
Date: Sunday 31st of October 2010
FLOOD POSSIBILITY EXISTS FOR TOBAGO AND NORTHERN
AND EASTERN TRINIDAD.
Over the past twelve (12) hours, Tobago and
specifically Northern and Eastern parts of
Trinidad, experienced prolonged periods of
rainfall, some of which were heavy and
accompanied by gusty winds.
The feeder band into Tomas remains over both
islands and while satellite and radar imagery
show some degree of weakening there are still few
areas of intense convection in the vicinity of
Tobago that can produce additional rainfall.
Grounds are waterlogged in the above mentioned
areas and with surface runoff there is the
possibility of further flooding to those regions
already inundated. There have also been reports
of landslides in eastern parts of Tobago.
Trinidad but more so Tobago will continue to see
some periods of light rain and/or showers and the
isolated thundershower with improvement to more
settled conditions as the day progresses.
October 29th 2010
A vigorous tropical wave is approaching Trinidad and Tobago and it has a 80% chance of turning into a tropical storm in 48 hours. This doesn’t look good for a population that had to put up with extremely bad weather for the rainy season and continues to weather the Clico financial crisis with desperate threats from formerly-rich policyholders. The 6:25 am bulletin from the Met Services states “The leading periphery of the wave should begin affecting Trinidad and Tobago during the late afternoon/evening. Moderate to heavy showers can be expected along with isolated thundershowers capable of producing 1 to 2 inches of rainfall. These downpours can yield moderate to severe street or flash flooding and strong bursts of gusts in excess of 50kmh.
As the wave continues to intensify and move closer to Trinidad and Tobago showery activity can yield 3 to 4 inches and possibly 5 to 6 inches from early Saturday into Sunday. Wind speeds with gusts in excess of 55kmh are likely.”
You can check for updates here: Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Services
When this system turns into a storm it will be called Tropical Storm Tomas
This severe weather may put a damper on Halloween Celebrations this year as the system has a good chance of intensifying into a tropical depression and then storm before the first withch’s mini-skirt is hemmed even shorter.
May the storm veer north even more.
The public has the impression that the Clico Policyholders Group (CPG), comprising a small percentage of the population of Trinidad and Tobago, is trying to flex its hot-air inflated muscle to bully the rest of the citizens of the country to get back all the toys it freely loaned to Clico to play with plus some extra ones. The public also feels the CPG, in its desperation, contracted an unpopular, unloved lawyer to deliver bully-talk to the population. The Group appears to be trying to terrorize billions in lunch money out of the pockets of people who either didn’t have the money or intelligence to give the Clico dice throwers to gamble with. The Group must understand that despite some policy holders falling on hard times because of the fiasco, the unemployed, the sick, the hungry, the over taxed, and the corruption-battered don’t want to be sacrificed to make the policyholders happy during this extended guava season.
I don’t think all is lost for the CPG as some of the most brilliant business minds in the land, who are also policyholders and members of the CPG, have issued press releases which conjure up the image the bailout won’t cost citizens anything “much.” It’s not that the Group will not be bailed out but the Group seems to want its black cake baked with the finest imported, dried fruits and soaked with Angostura Single Barrel Rum, all at the expense of the country whose citizens will have to settle for the crumbs of a stale Kiss cake. That is what the public is seeing.
Kim Kardashian - Presented For Distraction Purposes Only
One way corrupt people manage their guilt is to give some of their ill gotten booty to charity. The corrupt delude themselves into thinking that their God would not only forgive them for stealing if they give some to the poor but he might even bless them with even bigger opportunities to illegally pocket state funds once they give something to the lucky poor and chosen political party rather than squander all on high-rises in Florida, European vacations, big cars, Ten Cane Rum, and outside women. Managing guilt via delusions about God is a major way the corrupt don’t go mad with guilt. There are some corrupt ones, though, who simply don’t give a flying green fig about anything but themselves and they are the ones who we should fear the most. They walk amongst us just that they always wear more expensive shirts.
Save your mind - don't corrupt it!
Being successful in the corruption business requires not only the smarts to avoid being convicted of the crime, but to be able to fall asleep without sleeping tablets or alcohol. The corrupt are a special breed and know how to hide evidence either by shredding documents, setting fire to some in what appears to be an everyday fire, and even by intimidating and ordering hits on whistle blowers. The fear of jail is what drives the corrupt to these extremes and it is this fear that cause them to widen the corruption net by intimidating and bribing their way away from arrest and conviction. This fear usually absorbs the rest of their corrupted lives. Corrupt people become corrupt not because the opportunity to thief presented itself on a well-funded Government platter but because they were unable to see way down the road and how just the allegation of corruption destroys them but mainly how it destroys their family.
The fact that in Trinidad and Tobago there are probably no big time corrupt people in jail proves that corruption will become an embedded way of life for many who think the best way to be happy is with stolen money.
Tropical Storm Bonnie?
Yesterday, Wednesday, it looked like it was about to fizzle. Today, it looks set to hit the oil contaminated Gulf as Hurricane TS Bonnie. I am no expert but Florida looks safe but not the Gulf.
A Decision Maker at RBTT Trinidad and Tobago
The public’s perception of RBTT in Trinidad and Tobago is no different to that of Calder Hart and company and that is why customers feel heads will soon be rolling at this once great bank turned permanent fiasco. I am writing a second blog post about this RBTT disaster because just this morning at the RBTT ABM in St. Augustine, a woman on the verge of tears said she had no idea what she was going to do and was still unable get any of her salary money from RBTT. It was really hard to ignore her plight but the bank seems to be enjoying it. I assume RBTT does, in fact, have the woman’s money but one of the worst IT screw-up in West Indian history has been preventing her and thousands of RBTT customers from accessing their funds at the end of the month. It takes a genius with the brains of a jackass to plan this so-called upgrade for the end of the month. Fire them! Fire them!
I cannot stress this point too much but the public will feel no satisfaction until the culprits at RBTT Trinidad and Tobago who are responsible for this mindless and heartless act are publicly named and humiliated. Save your pointless, generic, full page public-apology ads for your toilets, RBTT. Does RBTT have any idea how much productivity is being lost because workers have to take time off from work to stand in line at RBTT banks for hours to get their money? Does RBTT understand how dangerous it is to walk around with large sums of cash? Does RBTT understand what this is doing to their business and image? Can RBTT put a cost on loss of public confidence? Does RBTT know the stress a customer feels when he or she swipes an RBTT card waiting for the transaction to go through or FAIL! No, RBTT doesn’t know and certainly doesn’t give a flying green fig about anything but profits and big cars for the boys. Greed and ruthless foreigners will always bring you down, RBTT! Sources from the bank said the problem has not even been identified much less resolved after one week. The stability of a society on the verge of collapse is at stake, and it seems that incompetence is greater in the private sector than in the public sector in sweet Trinidad and Tobago. Can we expect the private sector to turn the economy around? Maybe, but please exclude RBTT.
There was an outage last night at Amazon which lasted hours and which is rare. There is still no word if the failure was caused by hackers, the Russians, the Chinese or a truck pulling down some T&TEC lines but when the dust settled my shopping basket was empty – over thirty items gone. To many this is no big thing but I use Amazon’s shopping basket to track prices of mainly photography equipment and some hi-fi stuff so when my shopping basket was somehow emptied in cyberspace, I nearly threw a fit. Maybe later today the basket will be restored but I doubt it. I am not sure if any other customers had their baskets emptied by the Amazon IT people but many who track prices will be annoyed. I am sure some would say I should be using Tracktor.com to track Amazon prices but that can be cumbersome if one is tracking the prices of many things.
Strangely, the Amazon outage coincided with the sloppy IT service RBTT has been providing customers in Trinidad and Tobago with recently as the bank ignore customer service just to provide the new Canadian massas with the control they paid for and now demand. Despite the hollow claims by the bank’s PR people, customers will not benefit from this computer upgrade – none. I doubt there are any customers in Trinidad and Tobago who can say the service at RBTT is better since the acquisition by RBC and in fact most can testify that the service at RBTT is now the sloppiest banking service in the country by far. Their incompetence is now legendary and their staff’s response to customer queries is hopeless and usually idiotic.
I pulled the grainy clip above from the DVD movie, Backlash. The scene shows former Miss Trinidad and Tobago World, Gabrielle Walcott‘s brief and nearly wordless, but yet hot and sexy bikini scene in the 2006 movie, Backlash which was filmed in Trinidad and Tobago. She plays the one minute role of a nameless, Maracas Bay waitress retrieving Carib bottles from a couple who I edited out of the scene for clarity purposes. This movie can be classified as action and because of the string bikini waitress at Maracas Bay, a fantasy.
Yes, Backlash is a very, very, low-budget, B-movie featuring many scenic locations in Trinidad including Maracas Bay, St. James and bikini-clad women in carnival costumes. Naturally, this movie did not get any nominations but it might have been considered for aka_lol’s now infamous Best String Bikini on Maracas Bay Scene. Backlash is available on DVD through Amazon.com and features some good extras such as an interview with Machel Montano – Machel: The Man & His Music and also a Machel Montano music video.
I haven’t seen the whole movie yet and I was just skimming through for those sexy scenes that Trinidad and Tobago is famous for. The movie is exciting for those who are into female cat-fighting as there is some pointless, female breast-grabbing during one of the fight scenes. Backlash is rated R for bikinis, fighting, some fuzzy nudity and yes, the one-second grabbing scene that is now so common in those cheap kung fu flicks struggling to get some attention.