Chief Secretary Orville London donned his school teacher’s hat and engaged in an interactive rap session with 100 Standard Two pupils of the Barataria Anglican School, who were on a one-day outing to learn about the governance of Tobago and to visit some of its historic sites.
During the 45-minute exchange on Thursday the pupils asked a variety of question ranging from what does being a Chief Secretary entail to how did he become Chief Secretary.
When asked by Lennise Sealey, which does he prefer – being a teacher or Chief Secretary, Mr London responded: “In both cases both as a teacher and as a Chief Secretary I found myself in a position where I could assist and help people and work with people because I like people. But I think as a Chief Secretary you are in a position to help more people and to help more people in more different ways.
Mr London revealed to the children that while he enjoyed being a teacher and was able to influence the lives of hundreds of people including two of their own teachers, he derived greater satisfaction as a Chief Secretary although it was more challenging and he received more criticism. Adding on a lighter note, “I enjoyed both of them but what I can tell you is that being a teacher was to me easier than being a Chief Secretary. Have you heard the word criticism …or have you heard the word “cuss” or curse? Well as a teacher I got less curse that I am getting as Chief Secretary.
Mr London said he became involved in politics after much prodding from his friends who would often hear him express his displeasure about the state of affairs in Tobago at that time. He told the pupils that being Chief Secretary is a demanding seven-day a week multifaceted job which brings you into contact with ordinary people and people in prestigious positions. He said: “It’s not an easy job and sometimes you do get frustrated, but in the main you feel good about being in a position to help so many people…It takes up all of your time and all of your waking hours because if you are not actually doing something you are thinking about what you have to do.
Another bright pupil asked how he sees Tobago developing in ten years. At the top of the Chief Secretary’s wish-list for Tobago within the next decade was internal self-government and self-sufficiency. Adding that he can spend the whole day answering the question, Mr London said: “It’s really about ensuring that our finances are in order, our governance is in order and of course our people are prepared and have the right frame of mind in order to take care of whatsoever challenges they face.”
He told the children “As you get older you will not necessarily want to live in your father’s house or your mother’s house. You wouldn’t even want to live in the same house as your brother and your sister; you will want to go out on your own and become what you call independent. In other words you will want to do things on your own. Now Tobago doesn’t want to become independent of Trinidad, it’s a situation where Tobago wants to do more things for itself.”
When asked what he thinks of the Chief Secretary one youngster said: “I think that the Chief Secretary is a hardworking man, to which 8 year old Abiel Joseph added: “I think that he is a very important person who works hard to serve his country and I think that he is doing a good job.”