Equal Opportunity for all is the solution for crime in T&T

Is crime in T&T going to be confined to Sea Lots, Beetham and Enterprise? I doubt very much. As we become self-centered and focused on our rights and not our responsibilities, crime has become a run-away horse in this country.

Equal Opportunity for all is the solution for crime in T&T
Photo : Dool Hanomansingh

Crime is killing us. We already have 308 murders for the year and as many as 16 murders in 24 hours! This is madness! Where have we gone wrong as a nation?

Hollywoood/Bollywood style execution has now become part of the plot. Imagine boats and engines were captured in the Gulf of Paria for use in an execution in Las Cuevas! More intriguing was the entrance to Sandman fortress, the burning of the getaway vehicles and employment of a waiting pirogue to escape. That is movie material but in T&T it is real. If Hollywood needs good stories I think they need to come to Trinidad! We have made it! We are big in the dance!

The innocent fishermen of Orange Valley became casualties in a plot to take out a big fish. Sandman was no fry dry. He is reputed to be a gang leader plying his nefarious trade with a number of people in his pay role.

Is crime in T&T going to be confined to Sea Lots, Beetham and Enterprise? I doubt very much. As we become self-centered and focused on our rights and not our responsibilities, crime has become a run-away horse in this country.

Since our independence we have focused on correcting historical wrongs, but not by providing equal opportunities for all. Instead, we chose to pamper some. Work was never a priority… “Just arrive on the job site and hang around for a few hours and then you can leave. No need to work hard. Massa brought us here against our will; massa owe us. We have a right to demand reparations…billions of dollars for the sufferings we underwent.”

The ghettos remain museums of black oppression. These areas are left to strive in their chaos. They are there to disrupt the roadways when they please. Should the police intervene to make an arrest, they are met with resistance from the community. Only good people live in Sea Lots! All the bad people live in Orange Valley!

It is time we review our value system. Much emphasis is paid to rights and very little to duty and responsibility.  To demand rights is similar to harvesting fruits from a tree without any contribution toward caring for the tree. On the other hand, responsibility is like caring for the tree and the fruits would be a natural result. The latter is like the famer and the former is like the bandit, taking what is not yours.

It is time for us as individuals to speak less of our achievements-cars, houses, incomes, children and more of our obligations or duties. How good we do our job for which we are paid should be of paramount importance. Arriving late for work, high absenteeism and non-performance   of tasks have destroyed our institutions in the long run.

Lord Rama went into exile to fulfil the promise of his father. His father, the King, had made a promise and it was imperative that a king fulfil his promise. If not, the king would lose respect in the eyes of his subjects; no one would believe his word.

Throughout his life on earth Rama sacrificed his individual wellbeing for the social good. He assisted his friend Soogreeva to retrieve his kingdom. After defeating Ravana, Rama crowned Vibhishana King of Lanka. Sita went into exile so that the social laws and norms of society would be upheld. The social good was always greater than individual wellbeing.

Our culture of entitlement has this nation where we it is today. Our social obligations to family, friends, community and nations are pushed aside for self-preservation. Many friends are abandoned when they fall sick. All sorts of spurious excuses are made apart from not having the time. We find time to travel the world but little time to visit a friend in need.

Our elders are cared for because of state grant or pension. To fall ill or to be in need with no savings or income is to be sentenced to death. Many of the working poor who are in need but not yet 65 years are left to live a miserable life. In the youthful years they toiled as self-employed laborers only to be abandoned when they are unable to work by their adult children.

Is the average Trinidadian better that members of criminal gang in the country? I doubt very much. I agree that we need correctional facilities to punish those who have breached the law. Nevertheless, it is my fervent view that the individual learn by what others do-a case of monkey see, monkey do. Our so-called descent and upright citizens are not as exemplary as they should. While many of our youths from depressed communities have to toil to put food on the table, we are witnessing companies and individuals being given hefty handouts from the State. A case in point is the increases in pension that were approved by the parliament for retired judges, prime ministers, presidents and members of parliament. Even the priests, imams, pastors and pandits live it up! Where are our Sadhus?

Get rich at all cost! That is the green light given to youth! Without a big car and house you are a loser! You don’t want a decent man for your son-in-law but one who earns big income…a drug lord or pimp.

The killing is going to continue unabated so long as we put our personal interest first. If the government members can demand increased pension, then by all means the youth in Sea Lots and Beetham are within their rights to secure their PERSONAL welfare, even if it means murdering others to do so. It’s the law of the jungle…self-preservation is the highest dharma in T&T.