Her normal was filled with verbal and physical abuse, struggle for a meal, sleeping on uncomfortable surfaces and living in a community that many look down upon. She now was confronting something new. After being lured into sexual activity at an early age, she was now pregnant for a man in the village that already had two children with other women. She was the youngest of the women, just turning eighteen. A few months later she gave birth to a boy.
Fast forward fourteen years and there is a young boy whose father barely acknowledges him. His mother still struggling with abuse is with the third man he can remember. He, like his mother, struggles with basics like food, shelter, and comfort. Already the other young men are encouraging him to forget school and join them in gang activity. In a few years he will grow into a hopeless soul with no religious and social upbringing. The streets have hardened him to the pains of life and death. To him getting killed is a way out, so killing another does nothing to his conscience.
Society has found a way to deal with people like him, they offer him nothing in way of employment, they look at him with scorn and periodically share their wealth with the community through hampers and visits around election. He in return cannot offer much, his education barely allows him to read. He is unskilled and gets attention by being a bully or by exposing his assets through wearing his pants below his buttocks.
To exist in his community, he requires a cell phone. That single item not only costs over a thousand dollars but must be financed to remain functional. He must find food, find funds to attract the young lady he is attracted to. He must find a way to earn income. He can do the basic and earn money barely above that of the minimum wage or get into criminal activity and perhaps make a bit more. The only risk is death or imprisonment, either way they seem more attractive than living with the struggle for survival. To him the world is a cruel place.
How does a society deal with those caught up in a cycle of poverty and crime? How can the young man described herein be convinced to follow a path that leads to a better life? Can he ever be accepted by the many who are privileged to have an education and live a life free of the clutches of poverty?
Trinidad unlike many other countries that are struggling with similar communities, has the resources and the personnel to make the strategic intervention to shape the lives of our poor and lead them to better tomorrows. What is required is a sincere effort to understand and reach out to the many who lack hope.
It is cruel to exploit the plight of the poor for votes.
God Bless Our Nation.