The recent Tobago House of Assembly election was a stark reminder of the many differences between Trinidad and Tobago. Tobagonians are fiercely proud of their heritage and the election result – a resounding victory for the PNM – was further proof that Gonians will resist any attempt of perceived Trinidadian dominance. Tobago culture is an enigma to Trinidadians. To understand it, you have to be one of them.
Let me stake my claim to being half-Gonian thanks to a Patience Hill born-and-raised father. Despite spending most of my childhood in Trinidad, I didn’t gain Trinbagonian citizenship until adulthood. I entered the world in England, Mother is a Bajan, and no-one in my family was born in Trinidad. So you see I’m really not a Trini at all. I’m a fake.
Having said that, I’m more Trini than Gonian and with typical Trini arrogance here’s my take on what defines the Tobago native. Use the Trinbago Dictionary if you need translations!
You Is a Gonian If…
…You eat crab and dumplings at least once a week
…You race your pet goat
…You can dance the Heel and Toe
…You believe Trinis are always in a hurry
…Six of your relatives share the same name
…You use words like ninyam “Meh put ninyam pon table” and pickney “Where mih pickney an’ dem?”
…You love a good Bongo Night
…You think all Trinis need to humble themselves
…You grew up chasing crabs on the beach
…You not-so-secretly want Tobago to secede from Trinidad
…Your uncle has a fishing boat
…You look forward to Great Fete Weekend
…You never miss a village harvest
…You know nothing about cricket but would never admit this
…Half of your family works for the Tobago House of Assembly. The rest are in the hospitality industry
…Going to church is a social event
…When talking to two or more Gonians, Trinis can’t understand you
…You have 100,000 extended family members. 80,000 of them live in Tobago; 40,000 live in the USA, and one lives in Trinidad
…You exist in a different time universe to other nationalities. One Tobago minute = One hour elsewhere
…You can make a cook anytime, anywhere, with anything
…You know where to get pacro water and bois bande
…You dislike Trini politicians…in fact, anything Trini…
…You consider turtles to be unofficial wild meat
…You’re related to me!