Saturday, January 14, 2006

Since I am not Prime Minister of TT

... and neither are you (unless Patrick Manning is reading this), I have adjusted the original question (asked by a reader) so that it can be answered in a more realistic way.

What steps will I/you/we put in place to deal with issues affecting our island?
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(The new idea swirls in and around interviewer/interviewee: Elspeth Duncan)
What is the first step?
The first step for me is my current willingness to go with the flow and proceed with a very simple idea that the original question stirred up in me. This idea is not yet fully "formed" and I won't limit it by saying what it 'must' or 'will' be at this stage. It will evolve naturally, finding form and greater meaning through the different 'steps' that will come into place over time.
Once these 'steps' are put in place, will issues affecting our island be dealt with?
Even if certain steps are put in place, issues will not be dealt with unless there is individual and collective willingness (to contribute to a necessary process of positive transformation), commitment (to this process through the means each step can provide), support (for each step/each other) and belief (in ourselves, each other and a Higher Power).
What are the issues affecting our island?
Every single one of us in TT is "an issue affecting our island".
On the most basic level, when we project negative thoughts or feelings or give in to frustration, fear, lack of respect, ignorance, laziness, carelessness, hopelessness, greed, envy, excess (and so on) ... we are 'affecting our island'.
How can we deal with these 'issues'?
By realising that each one of us is an answer and acting upon that realisation.
How are you an answer?
I have chosen to live my life as an artist, to use my 'tools' (concepts, words, music, photography and video) to stimulate awareness, provoke thought, shift perspectives, inspire, empower and uplift (both myself and others) whenever and however I can.
What is the next step?
To begin.
(Stay tuned for the upcoming steps -
starting officially on Monday 16 January, 2006)


Anonymous theglasshermitage said...

Poco a poco…Elspeth, don’t let them rush you. Take your time and examine your heart before you answer. I am looking forward with great excitement to your presentation of the steps. People have become so used to instant fixes and pronouncements pulled from thin air and that is precisely why we are in this mess now. Now, we are praying that somewhere there must be a giant bottle of Febreze that we can use to soak down T&T to cover the stink. Somewhere there must be some more money or empty promises to pacify the hordes. Somewhere there must be a twelve-step plan already tried and perfected and preferably very expensive, that we can buy from some foreign consultant or local gangsters masquerading as concerned citizens. In my experience, instant replies are usually the canned, clichéd, trite ones or outright lies. Already you have said something so radical and it is the thing that people do not want to accept. You are acknowledging that we are all “issues” and we are all part of the problem and we are all part of the answer. You understand the debilitating power of our negativity. You are saying simply, “To begin, you have to begin.” This did not happen to us overnight and it will not be solved overnight. We’ve known the steps all along and if we review the past with honesty, we will see exactly where we made our decisions to ignore them.

9:59 PM  
Anonymous theglasshermitage said...

Dear Elspeth,
Just dug up a poem I wrote in 2001 about the situation in my beautiful country. It recognizes the role that "good" and "bad" play in the outcome which should never be a surprise to those who can reflect with honesty.


No nation decides as its plan
To mass produce the criminal man
It happens slowly that we go astray
It doesn't happen in a day.

One by one, small trusts are broken
Minute by minute, hearts split in two
In home after home, nightmares are awakened
Till the repercussions are felt by YOU.

You, who always did the “right” things
Who never unkind words would say,
But while all around the world was hurting
Walked your narrow path and looked away.


10:18 PM  
Blogger Elspeth said...

Thank you for sharing your poem and comment of understanding.

6:47 AM  
Anonymous Joanne Johnson said...

It is easy to be estoeric and didactic with 'big' questions. It is valid to say "If I were the PM I would.." and simply, putting one's self in the actual role of PM; (no loner artist, ad exec, journalist etc) imaginen life and work from those shoes - the practical exercise of managing ministries, our nation's place in world affairs and keeping a pulse on the people, serving their needs with sincerity whether or not they 'get' it or 'buy' it.

Any small experience in which we are called/ or step up to manage and lead someone other than ourselves or a group will elimate the presumed power such questions "If I were..." imply and offer a mature understaning of what can and can't be employed at one time or another, accepting the limitations gracefully imposed by the Divine gift of free will -

A parent manaing/ leading a child; a teacher managing/ leading a classroom; a producer/ director managing/ leading a cast and crew; a small business owner working to not only manage and lead employees but the very business and his or her own life to financial freedom.

These examples all speak of my own growing self discipline and experience in self government, and mature my understanding and criticism of others in management/ ledaership roles.

The artist's role is to inspire. The PM's role is to lead through example yes and practical management. (not all mutually exclusive roles but separated here for clarity of intent). A leader is at times inspiring but if he depends only on being in the good books and how he makes others FEEL he is not fulfilling his role.

I am no PNM / UNC advocate- I express this with the hope of encouraging conversation and demonstration of specific and practical realities inherent in the question.

The artist learns throgh trial and error that too much water washes away the paint, the paper buckles and he or she may decide it is a 'happy' accident or simply discard the page and try again.

A PUBLIC leader, especially a political one, works within less forgiving parameters.HIs or her strengths and weaknesses will be amplified 1.2 million times - at least.

The truth is he or she is borne of us - physically and pscyhologically and is an elected representative (whether you exercised your civic duty and voted or not) of a greater part of our collective selves -whether we like that part or not.

It is good for us to come face to face with our corruption, our violence , our pride - This time of governement and weak leadership may teach and inspire the individual to ask humbly:
How am I like that? Where in my life have I been so ineffective? Is there some way I am still contributing to the very issues I complain about?
For the imagining to be meaningful we must be wholly honest as to our qualifications for the job?How is the nation of ME going? If I were a country and an entire people - what would that look like? It is likely the answer is all around us right here in T&T....

having squarely confronted (even if not solved) each of these personal problems, we may then have experience and compassion and 'advice' enough to offer a step for others towards Good Orderly Direction.

I look forward to hearing from you and others on this topic...keep me posted!

7:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for coming by my site and leaving that great comment. It is truly appreciated. You are very talented.

1:06 PM  

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