Corrupting the Minds of the Young

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
September 08, 2010

Jack WarnerI was in Italy when the scandal about the cheating of the Pakistani cricketers broke. When I got back to England last Monday, it was the only thing one read about in the English newspaper; the major story one heard on television. One would have thought that the Pakistanis had violated English honor and brought the gentleman’s game into absolute disrepute. It was not so much that the Parkistanis had cheated on the outcome of the game. They were accused on cheating of discrete aspects of the game such as bowling one or two deliberate no-balls which we are told resulted in the loss or gain of hundreds to thousand of dollars to criminal elements.

In spite of the fact that Pakistan was crippled by some of the worst floods in its history Pakistan’s Cricket Board Chairman Ejaz Butt flew to England to interview the players to find out the truth or falsity of the matter. The Pakistani High Commissioner in London and the Scotland Yard immediately intervened to determine whether a case could have been made against some of the players although one player asserted that the 150,000 British pounds found in his hotel room was to be used to shop for his sister’s wedding.

What a wonderful brother!

The results of the inquiry were quick, methodical and resolute. According to the Financial Times England and Wales Cricket Board “believes that the rest of the tour would lack credibility if any of the Pakistan cricketers connected to the controversy were selected to play in further games.” Three players were suspended and the tour continued under a cloud of suspicion.

As I read the story I thought of C. L.R. James who talked about cricket and its influence on the formative minds of the young and how the morals inherent in the game shaped the lives of so many of us in our younger days. In 1985, he wrote: “An artistic, a social event does not reflect the age. It is the age. Cricket, I want to say most clearly, is not an addition or a decoration or some specific unit that one adds to what really constitutes the history of a period. Cricket is as much part of the history as books written are part of the history.”

Perhaps the English officials were trying to preserve that essential Englishness of the game which made them act so swiftly. A way of life was at stake. One had to act with alacrity. That is what the game means to the country.

On July 1, 2010, Richard Baker and Nick McKenzie made the following allegations in the Sydney Morning News. “When it comes to the world of sports politics, Jack Warner may be the most scandal-tainted man with whom Kevin Richard [an Australian sport official] has ever posed. In the last decade, the FIFA vice president and Trinidad and Tobago football boss had repeatedly been accused of abusing his position as an international football official to enrich himself and his family. The scandals include acquiring lucrative sports broadcast rights for a pittance and allegedly stealing sponsorship funds from his home nation’s soccer team…Warner of course is a man Australia is assiduously courting with a firm eye on the future. 2022 to be exact.”

These were only allegations. Andrew Jennings also devoted a significant part of his book Foul! to Jack’s alleged misdeeds and went after Jack in a vicious manner. It was almost as though Jennings had a mandate from heaven (or is it hell) to bring down Jack and make him pay for whatever his alleged sins might be.

The question arises: How important are these charges and do they have any consequences for law and morality in our twin-island republic?

While all of this is happening Jack keeps on thundering about the desirability of bringing back the death penalty as a choice weapon to solve our murder problem. Although Jack’s concern is well placed one is not too sure that his method (and that of the People’s Partnership) is the most propitious way to solve a problem they swore they would remedy within one hundred and twenty days in office.

It is not so much that one wishes to lay the responsibility of the crime problem at the feet of the People’s Partnership–if the numbers keep climbing we would have to do so–but crime and the rising murder rate have much more to do with the signals that are given at the home and from our social and political institutions. Moreover our low levels of social, educational and cultural education do not help much. Every time we proclaim our material munificence we seem to ignore our declining social capital.

What, then, are the qualities our leaders must possess and what signals do we send when we place the leadership of the country into the hands of persons accused of improper behavior? What consequences does it have on the minds and morals of our young people?

I have nothing but the highest regard for Mr. Warner but when charges of such magnitude are made–and are constantly made–are we doing the best thing by letting them hang in the air pretending they do not matter and are of no consequence?

I go back to the English cricketing example. The English took the bowling of no balls and the fixing of a match as if London Bridge had fallen or the House of Parliament was being bombed again by the Germans. However, their swift action demonstrates that sports are not just sport and the behavior of players and officials matter in a civilized society.

Those of us who have the responsibility of being exemplars of our young people must be more than circumspect in how we conduct our affairs and the messages we send to them. They are begging to see honorable role models, something which money cannot buy.

I do not know how we will attend to the Jack effect in Trinidad and Tobago. However I think we play a disingenuous game when we call so vehemently for the return of the hangman’s noose and the cat-o-nine tails of slavery day when we send so many mixed messages to the younger ones in our society.

My mother used to say “Actions speak louder than words.” The moral inherent in this maxim is still relevant in an age of the internet and cell phones.

5 thoughts on “Corrupting the Minds of the Young”

  1. “Moreover our low levels of social, educational and cultural education do not help much.”
    “I do not know how we will attend to the Jack effect in Trinidad and Tobago.”

    The answer to the latter concern lies in the former statement. Our schools have become primarily factories for producing examination passes and certificates. The aspects of education that shape, nurture and prepare for good citizenship are now virtually absent from the schooling experience.

    We need radical curriculum reform with a corresponding reform of teacher education and training, not piece-meal tinkering with band-aid initiatives. We are fiddling with formal education ignoring its potency for making or breaking the society, while the society itself is being set ablaze with mindless indiscipline and amoral behavior.

    Education for democratic citizenship should be the overarching aim of the curriculum from early childhood to tertiary. Character development should be infused with the the teaching and learning of academic subjects. Teachers’ professional education should prepare them for service in schools and classrooms that operate on the principles of democracy, and fundamental values.

  2. “However I think we play a disingenuous game when we call so vehemently for the return of the hangman’s noose and the cat-o-nine tails”

    I always find it amusing the aruguments for not bringing back the hangman. It is timely and well tested argument for all those who need a platform of civility.

    Today in Trinidad there has been over 383 “executions” in public. The blood of these people cry out for justice, it continues to flow without any end in sight. Just like Abel’s blood crying out for justice. Yet the victims are ignored in the continuing commentaries to stop hangings in T&T.

    Does anyone really care about the victims in T&T. The writer believes that it is a disingenous game to demand the death penalty. Has he ever taken the time to sit down with some children whose father was executed in the streets of T&T. Probably not.

    Most of these third world writers today have a mental disconnect with people of T&T and are forever promoting their own fears and ideas on the public. They are living in mars and far away from earth.

    The child who wakes up in the night crying for his dead father, the wife who sells her body to support her children because of a dead huband, the children who experience post traumatic stress syndrome for years well into adulthood, the warm embrace of a husband missed, the reassurance of a father’s love gone forever. These are the true victims of crime. They suffer silently and many times without councilling, support or financial aid. They are suppose to forgive the butcher who took his knife pull the head of a father back and slit his throat like an animal. They are suppose to bear their grief in silence, society does not accommodate THEIR suffering.

    It is easy to sit in an office, isolated from the rest of the world and write as though you are speaking for all. When in fact all you are doing is speaking for yourself. I am yet to find an article that chronicles the suffering of the victims, that present some kind of advocacy for their pain. That seeks to understand their anxieties.
    Or do they simply don’t matter anymore!!!

  3. “However I think we play a disingenuous game when we call so vehemently for the return of the hangman’s noose and the cat-o-nine tails”

    The person most guilty of “playing a disingenous game” here is the professor himself, the persistent Dr. Cudjoe.His personal and financial interest are vested in the future of the PNM.Once more he spins a story to emphasize one of his predominant themes:the future of the PNM and its cronies.
    He summons up a relatively remote story on the international scene, concerning wrongdoing in cricket, with (of course) a Pakistani backdrop.He some how links this story of cricket criminality with Jack Warner and accuses Triniboganians of placing the leadership of the country in Jack’s hands.I thought Kamla was the PM.The obligation to deal with Jack Warner is in the hands of FIFA. These stories have been floating around for a long time. Let FIFA be brave enough to do its work.Previous investigations have cleared Warner.
    Cudjoe is allowing his proclivity for story telling and his tendency to demonize people attached to the PP to once more shape his narrative.
    To use the issue of Capital punishment to once more express his dissatisfaction with the political events in T&T is really what is disingenuous here.
    To ascribe moral superiority to the British is also ironic, especially from someone like the famous Dr. Cudjoe.

    1. Cudjoe is allowing his proclivity for story telling and his tendency to demonize people attached to the PP to once more shape his narrative.
      The technique employed by the Prof. Slowly chip away at the image that the PP created for itself. Paint Warner and his FIFA connections as corrupt. Make the Prime Minister look as though she does not know what she is doing. Make African people in T&T as victims of the PP policies. Make Winston look like he is a member of Bajrang Dal.

      Gobbels was sucessful in being Hitler’s chief propaganda man because he kept repeating the same message over and over and over again. It is the same with the African American Prof. Formulate an image and keep sharing that image with the world.

  4. “I thought Kamla was the PM.” Yea T-Man , and I too thought Barrack Obama was a Black man ,until he ,and his crazy wife Michelle,threw Rev Wright -his lifetime mentor -under the bus, in efforts to appease , and or allay the fears of mainly white, racial power conscious Euro Americans, that he was indeed , no threat to them.
    Tell me T-Man , does the good Doctor’s grateful allegiance to his PNM, make his opinions less useful, than yours because you are also a lifetime ULF, Club 88, COP/ UNC/PP serving member, and party hack?
    What exactly has the doctor said that you and similar others find so revolting? 1.The Pakistan and Indian have always been elitist cricketing crooks, who occasionally are given a slight rap on their neo British hands for such corruption predilections when it suites the interest of dem conniving , ghastly ,Colonial crooks themselves.
    2.Jack should be the last person on earth pushing to get the hang man noose on mainly kinky head criminals , when if in reality corruption should be a capital punishable offense like some Islamic countries , he would have seen his creator since he had his first job as a lowly Trini Football executive, and teacher.
    Now for you more honest/rational folks, that choose to occasionally traverse this here Information Highway, don’t you guys ever wonder why this combination party -that new Education Minister Dr Goopesing ,High Priest Justice guru Volney,and Ramy ,our astute pro Christian AG built-were not advocating for the death penalty- principally practiced by other barbarian nations- as a matter of policy, when they were languishing in the political wilderness out of power?
    Oh yes , I forgot , but T-Man would remind me, during dem time , with the help of a useless corrupt bunch of racially motivated, genocidal , out of control ,Police Officers , this pre May 24th pro African government was in power , embarked on a crusade to destroy every innocent national in our country that had no link to the Virgin Continent , yes?

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