Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Squatters and Renters

Only recently, I found that local Trinis are beginning to see how beautiful this country is, before it was just wanton slash and burn. It began to look like this: You would see a piece of land or lush forest teeming with wildlife and birds, and in the next moment it would be gone and you would see a housing development or some sort of quarrying, and or a tower of garbage... and one or two or ten squatters... with chickens and cows.

Squatting goes like this: You see a piece of land, you build a small wooden shack. You expand the said shack and add a second piece. You add two more rooms and buy a washing machine, and a stove and a fridge. Electricity is obtained by stealing a live line. You also get a cell phone. You don't even bother to pay taxes on the land. You buy bricks to add a concrete structure, later. The land owner comes, sees you on their land, and they send the bailiff. During the shack building period, you have your wife/girlfriend/common-law/fiancee pop out 6 - 9 malnourished children, so that the public can pity you, just in case the landowner rightfully comes to 'invest' in their 'investment'. Good. This day is here. While the landowner watches, the chickens flutter and cluck in disapproval, the cows snort and moo, the children cower in fear, teary-eyed, their mother visibly distressed with child number ten, bawling for mercy and the father looking to fight the landowner, his shrill voice cussing in the hot blowing savannah air. You and ten other families watch as the bull dozer floor every single home, memories and documents, trampled in the mud. Reporters document the chaos, the smartly dressed newswoman flips her hair as she interviews you, your teeth some missing and some yellow, lips cracked from bawling at the landowner for claiming what is his. The landowner is then interviewed, his gold rolex with diamonds spark and sparkle. Your children watches him, their small bodies baking in the sun. His veneered teeth and moistened lips emphasizes 'th' and 'lawyer', he gestures your way and points at your children. "What do you expect me to do?" he shrugs. The operation takes about two hours, maybe less, then the landlord leaves in his air-conditioned SUV, while the 'Cat' cleans up the mess. You are now back to square one.


We have to move, it has become inevitable.  No, I am not squatting, I am renting. The landlord has been going into our apartment when we are not there. He is supposed to be repairing the tiled floor, however, he has been giving us problems with regards to parking and a host of other ills. So, unfortunately, its the best we can do. Our privacy has been in question. How do I know? He has been too familiar with us, and very controlling, something I saw before, but tried to deal with. We tried to have civilized discussions with him, but, he responded with insults and statements that are not true. In the end, I felt like he is weird, along with feeling that someone was constantly watching us all the time. So, we are moving. Don't feel sorry for me, I am not sad, just very indifferently pissed!

I am going to get ice cream.


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