Discrimination is costly…to our society

In this perceived sovereign, independent twin island state of Trinidad and Tobago achievement have been defined, or expressed through accomplishments in academic studies, which would or should lead to a high paying job. This means that the individual’s success is equated to his/her success in the work place. This success is then characterized by the individual’s ability, intelligence and motivation. This is what society and persons in powerful positions wants us to believe. They refuse to attribute their success to Conditions; Norms, of this state that continues to give special advantages to some above and beyond others; (the practise of cronyism). Many Trinbagonians face seriously dangerous and persistent forms of discrimination in the social and work place environment, because of their perceived or real affiliation or differences. It is very common to hear, that here, every creed and race find an equal place, irrespective of your political, religious or gender difference. Is there not a law that prevents discrimination? Why do barriers exist to prevent the full and meaningful involvement and participation of “advocates” for the rights and equality for all?

Discrimination in the environment is a tremendously costly problem for our society; discriminatory practices that lead to the underdevelopment of our nation’s youth; like when they postulate and seek to rigorously implement personality development projects in preference to “character development” programmes. However what is even more troubling is the foundation of the facilitators of these already skewed piece-meals, very expensive projects. The character of many of the facilitators is very questionable, while they may possess personality; but have we not seen the ends to many great persons who possessed great personalities? Can our youths be influence to change their behaviours, by change agents who have no character? Character gives you integrity, personality give you skills to become a manipulator, a deceiver, a liar and a thief. Our youths and by extension our social problems cannot be addressed by inappropriate models and skewed projects. In economics terms, this means that valuable tax-payers dollars and foreign grants are being inappropriately invested. Just look at the results of these piece-meal projects (cronyism in practise) that they say are addressing challenges like crime, sexually transmitted infections (HIV), child and elder-abuse; these challenges continue to outwit these educated illiterates.

There methods of addressing these societal-challenges have only facilitated a high level of conflict among civil-society organization and less identification with the spoken goal. As these individuals continue to black-list persons and organizations of competence, they enable the self-serving, whose focus is “protecting me and mine” and perhaps unconsciously fuelling the wasting away of our most precious resource for continuity, our youth population. Can someone tell me, what is the agenda of UNAIDS Trinidad? What is the agenda of the Trinidad and Tobago government? As it relates to societal challenges like HIV, child and elder-abuse, poverty, human development and crime?

The continued proliferation of these societal-challenges highlights that competent civil-society organizations with well structured programmes are twice as likely to civil society organizations (inclusive of international and local administrates entities) to be un-contracted/unemployed. What ah paradigm!

Discrimination exist when organizations trained to do the same job for different geographic areas are dealt with differently; organizations in a specific area, having the competence are bypassed; giving preference to the practise of cronyism.  Discrimination occurs when factors other than merit prevent an individual or organization from being hired, recognized, respected or rewarded through various forms of compensation or increases the individual or organization risk of being unfairly treated. Discrimination occurs when the individual or organization is evaluated on the basis of “corridor talk” rather than competence. In T&T, this process operates as an in-group; out-group dynamic, in which members of the in-group view members of the out-group as, trouble-makers, mad-people, deficient, but most importantly they see the out-group as a threat to their own continued position- to eat ah food; what ah paradigm!

The immature, those that operate on the “Id” principle, establish a normative profile by which they judge. However their judgement of competence is equated with willingness to be manipulated, become a tokenistic representation, be available at a moments notice, questioning nothing, just towing the line. The impact is clear, square pegs in round holes. They import and also create specific kinds of projects and positions that are done only to carry out their lop-sided agendas; specifically to maintain their position and power in their underdeveloped, fixated state of being. Their wish is to continue to influence and make decisions that do not take into consideration the values, beliefs and practices of the competent, the urgent need of principles to take our nation forward.

There is an urgent need for the examination of the way civil society is engaged; practices that create hostility, disrespect and segregation among civil society must be eradicated. We need to look at the consequences of this flawed practise in our society. Discrimination is one expression of societal stagnation. It is a defence mechanism of those immature, fixated leaders in positions of power who try to protect their status and profits by preventing less powerful individuals and organizations from gaining a foothold, and they employ all manner of deceit and deceptions to maintain their stronghold. Rather than treating competence and diversity as factors to improve, enhance the social-functioning and well-being of our citizens, discrimination facilitates its reduction, hence, the present state of our country.

Discrimination, over time has become a great cost, a financial burden to our nation. Discrimination in the delivery of social programmes is associated with lower life satisfaction. For example our youths have learnt to move from one social program to the next, just for the stipend, to survive. However this makes the majority chronically unemployed or underemployed, resulting in the loss of human capital; further there are health problems, HIV, drugs, depression and anxiety. Evidence clearly shows that this expenditure is both exhausting and deeply frustrating.

In concluding, recognizing the focus is on youth development, note this; youth who believes that adult members of this nation are thriving in an environment that respects and value their contributions are more likely to commit to programmes that seeks to enhance their social-functioning and well-being.


Anderson Figaro

Change Agent-postulating Choice, Not Chance, Determines Destiny-a sustainable behavior change programme.

Advisory Council T&T.