Abdicating One’s Responsibility

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
January 30, 2018

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeI am a bit stunned—ashamed is a better word—that the prime minister admits his inability to combat the most existential problem that faces our country. The prime minister declares: “I have noted the number of murders taking place and being reported in the newspaper daily…. I am being held responsible when it is the police service that has the power and authority to go after the criminals.”

He lamented: “This morning I’m looking at the papers and I am seeing we’re averaging two murders a day on these islands. We are at 48 murders and I said to my wife that is a hell of a thing that I have a job where I am held responsible for the things that I have absolutely no involvement in or control over”(Express, January 25).

On the same day our prime minister was evading his responsibility, Lou Anna K. Simon, the president of Michigan State University resigned her presidency over how she responded to Dr. Lawrence Nassar’s sexual abuse of females under his care. Dr. Nassar, a physician at her university, was sentenced up to 175 years and another 60 years for child pornography.

President Simon became president of Michigan State in 2004. She may not have known what transpired between Dr. Nassar and these females but once it landed in the public sphere, she knew what she had to do although the board of trustees pushed her along. In her resignation letter she noted: “To the survivors, I can never say enough that I am sorry that a trusted, renowned physician was really such an evil, evil person who inflicted such harm under the guise of medical treatment” (New York Times, January 25).

There were no excuses, no equivocation, no verbal gymnastics.

A horrible crime occurred under her watch. Even though she didn’t want to leave she had to go.

Brian Breslin, the chairman of the board of trustees, offered a terse comment on the president’s departure: “It is now time for change.”

Lindsey Lemke, a victim of Dr. Nassar’s crime, described Dr. Simon’s evasion of her responsibility: “I feel she’s trying to manipulate us, make us feel that she’s not responsible when she is responsible, 100 percent, as president of the university.”

The same rationale holds for our prime minister. Not only is he evading his responsibility, he does not seem to have an inkling of what his responsibilities are, which makes his moral culpability greater.

Forty eight people killed in 24 days. 730 people are likely to be killed in 2018 if we follow this trajectory. Yet, our prime minister tells us: “I am held responsible for the things I have absolutely no involvement in or control over” (my italics).

If the prime minister is not responsible, then who is? It can’t be Kamla.

At the same time our prime minister utters his inanities, world leaders are gathering at the World Economic Forum at Davos to tackle—at least speak about—some of the challenges that people of the world face. In 2015, Professor Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman, inaugurated the forum with an article declaring a “new era of talentism—where human imagination and innovation are the driving forces behind economies as opposed to capital or natural resources” (Financial Times, January 25, 2018).

Professor Schwab was trying to tell us that throwing up our hands in disgust is not how to solve our problems.

There is another way out—one of action and the assumption of responsibility around which we can mobilize the energies of our citizens.

What if the prime minister declared 2018 “The Year Against Crime,” scrapped the plan to spend $400 million to build a highway to Manzanilla that is destroying our natural habitat and, over the next two years, devoted that money to combat crime? Could we involve the entire population in this effort, recruit more police officers, educate the population about how to combat this plague, utilize the army and the police; and involve the old as well as the young. We must alert our citizens of their civic responsibility and ask them to save themselves from themselves?

We may need to appoint a hard-working czar to lead this initiative. I suggest Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj. Give him the power to recruit lawyers, prosecute wrongdoers, particularly deviant cops, fast forward the trials of those accused of crimes, make the possession of a gun a crime and enforce it, and construct facilities to house those who are arrested. Some of these measures may be in place already. They should be included into a comprehensive package.

It will take more than $400 million and a year to accomplish such goals. But our citizenry feels helpless over forces over which they have no control. Doing nothing is not an option.

The experts will tell us that the highway monies cannot be diverted to the end I propose. But what is more important—a highway where funds go into the pockets of a few while the majority of the population face physical and psychological dismemberment?

And yes Dr. Rowley, solving and/or slowing the carnage that takes place in our society is absolutely your responsibility. You evade it at your and the nation’s peril. The buck, they say, stops at your office.

14 Responses to “Abdicating One’s Responsibility”


  • This current PNM administration is the worst in terms of administrating the affairs of the nation. Instead of looking for solutions they have exited the realm of reality and engaged in the blame game, not taking responsibility and floundering on all fronts.

    (1) Economically, 2016-17 was the worst year in 30 years for TNT economy.” The Summary Economic Indicators that Hilaire and Deputy Governor Sandra Sookram released yesterday showed a -8 per cent contraction of the economy in the second quarter of 2016, the worst ever quarterly contraction in the country’s ­history.
    It is clear that, towards the end of 2017, T&T is coming off its deepest decline in 30 years, with the Central Statistical Office confirming the economy contracted by -6 per cent last year. ”

    The economic decline plays an important in criminal enterprise, thousands getting laid off, the impulse to rob just increases.

    (2) There is the judiciary. There is a sitting CJ who is allegedly involved in activities unbecoming of such a high office holder. The law associated indicated their disgust by voting against a few motions they raised. At that point it would have been appropriate for him to step down. But further evidence emerge of trips with a lover possibly millions of dollars in travelling expense covering his paranormal activities. Not a word from the Prime Minister.

    (3) In 2018 the month of January will be the bloodiest month recorded in TNT history.

    (4) Last year 2017 recorded the highest ever flood level in the history of Trinidad. Water flooded into homes that was never flooded before. Water courses remain uncleared and rivers not being dredge. There are solutions such as powerful pumps that can move thousands of gallons of water but no movement on that front.

    (5) Trinidad for the first time in history recorded the highest borrowing ever, $20 billion in just two years. The debt level has climbed astronomically high. The borrowing was to service recurrent expenditure….scary. For the past four months regional coperations have not receive funding, millions owe to contractors, not paid. Staff has been laid off and the nation is heading towards bankruptcy. The PNM funded 3 projects at Petrotrin valued at over $15,000,000,000. All three failed. To fund these projects they sold two sets of bonds on the Euro market set to mature this year and next year. This was done when oil prices was very high.

    (6) Taxation and unemployment has reach record levels. People are simply throwing money into sink holes with no real return.

    (7) No new investments except the ones negotiated by the PP. Juniper and Angelin comes to mind.

    Where is this nation going? From the second wealthiest in the Caribbean to a rapid slide to the bottom of the abyss in just a few short years. Presently no one is rioting so things okay for now!

  • The resignation of Dr. Simon’s presidency from a University in the first world was inevitable but the hesitancy in doing so is indicative of the ‘soul’ within us. Indeed, imagination is the eye of the soul coupled with innovation is the driving force that propels our economies. In our case prices in the gas and oil commodities market was our instrument of materialism and not talent. Now, let’s compare this to a leader of an organization in a third world setting and we would immediately see that the trappings of power curtails the accommodation of such thought of resigning much less resigning itself. In T&T we have numerous examples of such instances that goes back to the 50s e.g., Dr.Patrick Solomon.

    It is my belief from experience harnessed over the years in international settings we believe once we have acquired the necessary qualifications to function in a positional setting locally we hesitate to uplift, upgrade, enlighten ourselves in developments in our respective fields of endeavour e.g., many medical practitioners.

    No disrespect to the individual Ramesh Maharaj and his legal conquests, I would hesitate to refer to him as a czar on the basis of the less publicised wrong doings on his part associated with the quick despatch to exterminate Dole Chadee and the gang.

  • Learned Doctah, you seem to have the answer to every problem. Why don’t you go back to sweet T&T and help the black parentless youths that are killing themselves.The problem is a lack of parenting and no parenting at all. As one learned black professor from a DC college recently stated there is no solution.We cannot reverse single parenting or no parenting. God help those parents{2- a man and a woman} that are trying to do the right thing.

    • Don’t go too hard on the doc, he is addressing some of the issues in a broader context.

      The whole issue of black parenting or none parenting is a major contributor to criminality. This issue in the interest of a better more progressive nation requires addressing now. Because we live in a communal setting and we rise and fall together.

      Kamla sought to address some of those problems, with Lifesport, the Aqua center, the cycling velodrome, the Tagarigua tennis center. The PP understood that youths must be given opportunities other than education to succeed in life. What this administration is doing is not racing ahead with these programs but stopping and stalling. Thankfully the Aquatic Center is gaining a reputation as an international hub.

      The former Prime Minister also provided $500 for mothers living within the low income bracket (under $3,000) with a stipend to help provide nutrition to a child to ensure the mental capacity of the child does not suffer. That was cut off by this administration.

    • Kennedy, you should take time to research before you come here and spew that SIMPLE ssssssstuf.

      *Father: I did everything to protect my stubborn son

      The grieving father of a teenaged murder victim said yesterday that he relocated his family from Laventille in an attempt to spare them from the gun and gang violence in the community.*

      http://www.guardian.co.tt/news/2018-01-19/father-i-did-everything-protect-my-stubborn-son

      The problem is CORRUPTION in that society… How the hell a contractor accused by the government for ‘Defrauding the State’ can win a State contract of $400M?

      *PM defends decision to award Kallco $400m highway contract

      Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has defended Government’s decision to award Kall Co Ltd (Kallco) a $400 million contract to construct the first segment of the Churchill- Roosevelt Highway extension to Manzanilla. He said nothing is wrong with that decision.*

      read:http://www.guardian.co.tt/news/2018-01-16/pm-defends-decision-award-kallco-400m-highway-contract

      Anyway… My beef today is, since the Professor is an Educator….>

      *Accreditation Council moving to de-register school
      Published on Jan 27, 2018, 9:00 pm AST
      By Asha Javeed

      THE Accreditation Council of Trinidad and Tobago (ACTT) is set to de-register the Chaguanas-based CTS College of Business and Computer Sciences after the school was found to have tampered with an exam.
      On Friday, the school’s owner, Ravi Ragoonath, admitted the incident had happened to the Sunday Express, but said it was isolated to just one instance and affected 30 students.
      The exam was from UK-based ABMA Education to acquire a diploma in Computer and Information System.*

      http://www.trinidadexpress.com/20180127/news/college-of-business-and-computer-sciences

      One has to wonder about these Exam results (in the newspapers)that Dr. Job loves to tell us “Look home many Indians names in the Papers”.

      Are we being Duped?

    • Here, Kennedy, Money helps to hold families….. So why must the Indians and Syrians get all the money..>

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KMFkAuP73QQ

      • RamK,they work hard for money.They educate their children. I could go on and on.

        • That’s great… But we still want our fair share …

          “Here every creed and race find an equal place,
          And may God bless our nation
          Here every creed and race find an equal place,
          And may God bless our nation.”

          Not one, but TWICE…

          Now, go tell A&V oil and Gas that… Stuppes.

          • RamK, you said: “we still want our fair share.” After 56 years of independence,you guys have had 45 years to steal from the treasury. So you’ve had more than your fair share. Just ask Cartey( of “all ah we tief” fame.) Don’t forget Johnny O and others. Now you all want to rob and kill hardworking people.

  • “Here, Kennedy, Money helps to hold families….. So why must the Indians and Syrians get all the money..” Ramk

    Ramk your party has been in power more than any other party and has created the greatest voter bank ever. Bringing in all the islanders to partake of our national patrimony. Free house, jobs, etc in exchange for votes. Indians were not given anything, they had to work hard for it. So what you whining about only some people getting money in the country you blasted racist.

    • Oh Please… Johnny O? Does Johnny O look like me?

      Sorry Bud… It’s not going to go down like that anymore.

      Have a great Weekend.

  • Hey Doc, do think Doctah Rowley should abdicate the throne?(I mean resign.)

  • We all agree that the PNM has failed the country over but the UNC came into power to fix those failings. However, they ended up “thiefing” more than the PNM. Kamla and her gang of 40 thieves bled the treasury over five years more that the PNM did for 50 years. Yes they gave a few scraps to the prople, laptops, foodcards, box drains, hampers, etc. UNC contributed to the bad state of the country today by borrowing and over spending. They bled companies such as NGC, Petrotrin, etc. The Life Sport program it is alleged that a certain minister who always bawled about corruption by PNM people ran away with over $100m dollars, paying a man $37M dollars for not doing one damn thing. All politicians in Trinidad and Tobago are looked upon as crooks and tricksters. Stealing the wealth of the country. We need a new crop of politicians who have the countrys interest at heart. There should not be any career politicians. Two term limits for all politicians. There are politicians in parliment who sit there without giving any new ideas. It is said “doing the same thing over and over with the same result” is madness. We need decent and honest politicians to run the country.

  • Wow, not a word in the T&T newspapers on The Resignation of President of South Africa, Zuma…. AND WHY!
    Is ‘State Capture’ too close for comfort for the print media to report to the people of T&T? Well, this is a new age, Print Media is dying.
    The ANC sacked Zuma because they knew he could not produce a victory (for the ANC) in the upcoming general election in South Africa.
    This has relevance for T&T and this PNM government… CAN DR. ROWLEY PRODUCE A WIN FOR THE PNM IN THE NEXT GE?

    Anyway, I guess scenes from South Africa may have some a little nervous in T&T.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5GutNkh_O48

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