One doesn’t have to look too hard to realise that Trinidad and Tobago pre-independence and the same country post-independence are two different countries. The conversion has been fast and frenetic and it’s all because the authorities have allowed ‘the horse to bolt the stable’ and that continues today almost unabated. Various administrations have proved incapable of getting a handle on things.
So today we have become a lawless, wicked and unloving society—‘eating the bread the devil kneaded’. We all agreed to get out from under the grip of our colonial masters and for a while everything went well, but because of inept and incompetent leadership, we have run aground. Instead of growing as a nation full of love, caring and understanding, and economic development, we now have a society that is cowering with fear and as calypsonian Penguin once put it “we livin’ in jail”.
What with so many heinous crimes taking place, it’s like we have lost all of our humanity. A woman is murdered, face burnt, feet and legs cut off; another mother strangled while in a bedroom with her sleeping children; bodies of murdered men and women in various stages of decomposition found in strange places; reprisal killings; killings just for so; robberies and home invasions, and most recently a 15-year-old schoolboy shot and burnt in a car. Can we consider ourselves a loving society? Do we believe ourselves as working to become a better and more God-fearing society? Obviously not.
Let us rewind and we will see where it all began. We agree, and statistics reveal that Trinidad and Tobago has a very high incidence of teenage pregnancies. Because of this, there are fathers who never look back and their offspring grow up without a father figure around or who look towards the gang leaders for direction and financial help. If there is an absence of proper parenting, then what do you expect? You cannot plant peas and expect to reap corn.
We turn to the other side of the criminal coin. Recently a man was held with 12 guns and more than 2,200 rounds of ammunition, and another individual with three guns and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition.
These men seemed to be preparing for a war, bearing in mind we do not manufacture guns and ammunition in this country. But apart from the discovery, we have heard very little about the incidents. Are the authorities concerned or worried about this trend? It seems not, because there has been a total blackout on any follow up. But 20 shots can be fired at a PH driver killing him and one of his schoolboy passengers.
In a knee-jerk reaction, we see an emergency meeting hastily called of all law-enforcement agencies. But will it end the same way many such meetings end? Or will we hear about some plan by the authorities to arrest the spate of murders that has greeted the New Year (22 killings in just eight days). Somehow, we cannot allow our parliamentarians to get off the hook so easily. Something has to be done.
There is on old saying which goes “God put a hand and if you can’t, then come yourself”. If the authorities cannot stop the carnage, then as Christians, if we were praying, then we need to increase our prayers so that Trinidad and Tobago can return to the old days when we lived in a real paradise—loving one another, caring for each other, charitable to many and employing the age-old concept that it takes a village to rear a child.
Let us pray hard for this country, that we will return to the society we once knew and so desperately need.