It Doesn’t Feel Like Christmas this Year

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By Dr Neil Gosine

IT doesn’t really feel like Christmas this year, the joys and festivities of the season are nowhere to be found.

Crime as per usual is at an all time high, with news cycles overwhelmed by the reporting of another gruesome shooting day in and day out. Alas, this is our country’s new normal, our new reality. 

With safety at the forefront of everyone’s minds, citizens have been cautious with regard to venturing out and partaking in all the shopping that usually takes place at this time of year, resulting in various businesses and organisations lamenting about slow sales in comparison to previous years.

Last ditch attempts by the Downtown Owners and Merchants Association (DOMA) to entice customers to Port of Spain, with the promise of improved security by way of increased police patrols in the business district were unsuccessful.

With said promise of safety, being severely hindered by disorderly conditions, particularly on Charlotte Street and sections of Independence Square. All good intentions, but the fear of being victims to whatever crimes may occur on any given day has loomed over citizens like a dark cloud that shows no signs of disappearing. It is indeed sad to see what our beloved country has become.

And if the increased levels of crime wasn’t enough, the reality of additional expenses come January 2024 i.e. property tax, has the country as a collective silently murmuring, “I may have bought this item or that item but come January…” Our people are weary, is it any wonder the Christmas spirit is missing in action this year?

What is there to look forward to in 2024? Property tax, increased water and electricity rates all while the average citizen’s salary remains the same, and if you don’t pay up, not only will you be charged interest but there’s also the threat of your home being seized. So what exactly are we to be celebrating? Absolutely nothing! The government has become the Grinch that stole Christmas. 

However it’s always best to look on the bright side of things, to quote the Grinch in the 2018 adaptation of Dr Seuss’ beloved children’s storybook, by Benedict Cumberbatch, -“It came without ribbons, it came without tags. It came without packages, boxes, or bags. Maybe Christmas (he thought) doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more.”

Yes, the year ahead looks bleak but let us try and find that Christmas spirit again. Hopefully change will shed light into this hopelessness soon. “Now you listen to me, young lady! Even if we’re horribly mangled, there’ll be no sad faces on Christmas.”  — The Grinch

As another year ends, I gift to you hope that we see a light at the end of this gloomy tunnel and these lyrics from the song Christmas Lights by Coldplay;

Those Christmas lights

Light up the street
Down where the sea and city meet
May all your troubles soon be gone
Oh, Christmas lights, keep shining on…. 

Neil Gosine is an insurance executive. He is also the treasurer of the UNC and a former chairman of the National Petroleum Marketing Company of Trinidad and Tobago. He holds a Doctorate in Business Administration, a Master’s in Business Administration MBA, BSC in Mathematics and a BA in Administrative Studies. The views and comments expressed in this column are not necessarily those of AZP News, a Division of Complete Image Limited.

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