Decoding Crime in T&T

By Dr. Kwame Nantambu
February 12, 2014

Dr. Kwame NantambuOne of the apparently unknown realities of crime in T&T is the fact that neither the current People’s Partnership (PP) government, a People’s National Movement (PNM) government nor an Independent Liberal Party (ILP) government can solve/prevent certain crimes in this

For example, if as occurred quite recently, an aggrieved ex-husband decides to kill his ex-wife, then, there is absolutely nothing any of the afore-mentioned or the Commissioner of Police can do to prevent/stop this familial crime.

If relatives have a heated dispute over a piece of land (as occurs frequently in T&T) and one of them decides to adjudicate the matter by the other relative, then, there is absolutely nothing the afore-mentioned or the Commissioner of Police can do to stop/prevent this familial crime.

In addition, if a jilted man (as in got horned) internalizes his hurt by shooting and killing his former, lover , common law wife, then, the same holds very true.

The fact of the matter is that crimes of passion are beyond the reach of policing and governmental authorities, period. And that’s the nature of the beast call crime in T&T today. Indeed, the record reveals that no government has ever formulated policies to deal
effectively with prevalence of domestic violence in this country, period.

On the flip side, this writer must hasten to state that the root cause crime in T&T is two-fold, namely, the foreign, as in United States subliminal influence and the supreme propensity for crass materialism/material values.

In other words, crime in T&T is foreign-driven and material value-related. By way of elucidation, it is an accepted national truism that Trinbagonians love foreign, preferably the negative aspects. That’s a fact.

Ergo, one finds that today young Trinbagonian men walk around with their pants down to their knees, albeit proudly exposing their underwear, a la criminals in prison in the United States. And they walk with an attitude. Trinbagonians love to mimic things foreign,

The other salient aspect of things foreign is culinary crime which is directly correlated/associated with the plethora and proliferation of American fast food outlets in every nook and cranny in T&T.

And of course, the latest crazy craze in T&T is the intractable phenomenon of bullying in school by both male and female students (with their school uniform on). Now, the automatic Afri-centric question that comes to the fore is: where is the locus of origin of this behaviour?— it is certainly not Laventille, Nelson Street or San Juan, period. This juvenile chupidness is another valid example of Tinbagonians mimicking the most negative aspects and anti-social behaviour of a foreign country.

The correlative aspect of crime is the issue of values. Indeed, it is an accepted national truism in T&T today that one is judged by how one looks and not by who one is. That’s the intrinsic modus vivendi in this country today.

Ergo, if a young person does not possess the necessary educational qualifications to get a quality paying, then, crime becomes the option of last resort to acquire those material things— looks mean everything in T&T today, period. And young people are determined to acquire material things, as in bling/bling, “by any and all means necessary” a la insane “5o cents philosophy” — “total madness.”

A corollary variable is the advent of gangs in T&T. Now, where is the locus of origin of this chupid phenomenon? It is certainly not Laventille, Nelson Street or San Juan. Bottom-line: Trinbagonians love to mimic things foreign. And one does not need a Ph.D. In Applied Econometrics to figure that out.

On the other hand, older Trinbagonians both male and female who crave “nice things” but don’t want, albeit totally refuse, to work for them now elect to travel the crime route. This is overtly reflected in the incidents involving well-known and respected entertainment personalities such as Shadow, the Baron and Denyse Plummer. Crime in T&T is not gender-based, period.

Truth Be Told: In order to deal with the ever exponential increase/spike in crime in T&T, the PP government must advocate/formulate policies so that young Trinbagonians would look inward to emulate local role models and exemplars instead of mimicking foreign things and people 24-7-365.

The fact of the matter is that the issuance of more guns to police as a crime fighting strategy/policy is not the solution because the salient reality is that the criminals are already miles ahead of law enforcement officers in terms of quality/effective ammunition. Such a policy represents the problem with crime in T&T.

In the final analysis, the crime situation in T&T brings to the fore the stark reality that criminals do not put a very high premium /value on human life. Criminals have absolutely no respect for the law and law enforcement authorities. However, this writer is
totally convinced that the only person criminals will respect is the hang man, period.

Shem Hotep (“I go in Peace”).

Dr. Kwame Nantambu is a part-time lecturer at Cipriani College of Labour and Co-operative Studies.

29 Responses to “Decoding Crime in T&T”

  • This Dr.Nantambu should be embarrassed by the publication of this shallow, superficial and unscholarly attempt to analyze the crime problem in T&T.
    Shem Hotep.

    • I thought you would have shown where Dr. Nantambu’s analysis was superficial. One more thing, I wasn’t aware that analyzing crime in Trinbago was a scholarly undertaking. That’s one thing with too many people, they attend university and throw away or forget common sense, which is what is needed to deal with crime in Trinbago.

  • Jerry Colin Hussain

    Yes you are quite right in your analysis. But where is the way forward out of all of this. I agree with all you have said and I believe we the people must now rise up in protest for they are killing us out both physically and mentally. A mental jail is just as bad as a physical jailing. In both cases we are trapped into surrendering to their demands. Lets now start the solution process by defining the enemy amongst us. Those that come in our midst that are not of us. Those that plan to keep us trapped and speechless. I believe all good things come from God. Anything that is not good comes from man and his free will to experiment. We need to start with a certain mindset so that we could recognize the enemy amongst us. I believe we need to protect our family..the little ones and so make a path for them in our country. We need to take back our country as we become mindful of the experiences in Africa, India and China as well as in the Middle East. Lets all show them that we are reading them.

  • I think anyone can and should submit an opinion regarding crime in Trinidad and Tobago and the author of this article is no different. Crime is a multi-faceted phenomenon in which policing alone cannot be left to resolve. It is a reflection of quite a number factors which make our social fabric which over the course of decades have eroded our sense of self, neighbor and country. Our behavior exhibits the ills of what society accepts, condones, rejects, tolerates and foster as good for ourselves so we can get by and at the same time objects what others see as good for them also. In other words, there are no standards. One of our politicians has famously declared that “politics has a morality of it’s own” – meaning anything is anything, as long as it results in the desired effect. The politicians are the very worst offender of the practice of fighting or correcting crime because they in many cases are in fact purveyors of the habits that increase crime. Professor Nantambu offered that crimes of passion cannot be stopped and that is only true in part and not exclusively so. Even in passion we exercise judgement, the judgement we exercise albeit short and momentary is what are our chances of being punished? Our society has shown many instances in which they purveyor of crimes are allowed to get away free. Getting a good and expensive lawyer might be a way out. Pleading insanity might be another, ignorance might be yet another, a significant one might be having the “law” work for you as is the now infamous case of ‘Ish and Steve’. Many of these methods lack morality, ethics and public good. But they do the bidding of the accused who might be rich and powerful, well known and connected or just downright bad and bully. This is where our organizational structures of the past have shown little or no leadership in today’s living. Case in point – the killing of the Pennywise heiress. Our good friend and sometimes called religious head Sat Maharaj in consoling the family of the victim offered that the illegals from Jamaica is responsible for most of such deaths! A rather stunning and offbeat way to console the family of someone who was just killed by her ex-husband. Respect should not just be expected when one holds titles and organizational positions, respect should be earned, warranted in the values we exhibit and promulgate in our exhortations of our positions we deem essential for healthy living and communal cohesiveness. Ou advice to loved ones, parishioners and followers should nurture that valued sense of truth and concern and betterment for the society. It should not be false and empty because people would see through such indemnification, it’s like being with carrying the Phd label but with justifications of a fifth standard qualification. There are many false promulgators holding important positions in our society and they bestow upon us guidance through which we are expected to follow for good and happy living. In other words, we are a society replete with fraudsters guiding us through our daily lives and we know who they are instinctively. The Police is supposed to be our protector and confidant. But, do we trust them? Can we confide in them? Can we honestly accept their ethical and logical place in society? Can we with naivety conclude that they hold true to their profession? Can we trust them to make the right choices? These and others values weigh heavily on whether a crime is committed or not. The leaders of religion is another story. I am not a Catholic but because of his standing in society when he was alive Archbishop Pantin was revered by many in the population because he exuded the pontification of what he preached. Today we are loaded with pastors, priests, preachers, leaders, bishops and archbishops but we are less persuaded by the preaching of their convictions. Yes, crime emanates from the values we are taught, learned and accept from those who have authority over us in whatever segment of the population they find themselves.

  • Speaking of decoding of the crime situation in Trinidad, I read with amazement of the subtlety with which crimes are viewed from ethnic perspectives. One of the other major newspapers that encourages blogging is loaded with posts that suggest
    “crime is only in the PNM constituencies”. It is also easy to conclude that they perceive “crime” only as bodily assaults of all kinds. In the world today, wherever sectors of the population is predominated by the poor and helpless bodily assaults will be most common. The reasons for crime have less to do with poverty than helplessness and lack of opportunities. A similar view can be ascertained that “where lack of opportunity is less, the predominance of crime escalates”. This theory can also be stretched to include government spending. In the communities where government spends most of its money there is likelihood that crime (bodily) will be less feared. The mistakes those who cherish the PNM-crime-constituency-view are making is to dissociate crime-empowerment from crime opportunity. Let me, for the purpose of demonstration explain. Crime opportunity means if a would-be thief sees an an un-supervised bicycle that can easily bring him $80.00, he would grab at the opportunity to do so. Crime-empowerment is staffed by a different kind of individual, one who might not necessarily be poor, resident or have interest in community building. He is the opportunist who sees the impoverished neighborhood as the ideal place to sell his guns, ammunitions, drugs and illicit goods. He profits by the impoverishes of the community. Such criminal is more dangerous than the lone thief because his actions creates a larger geography and more opportunity for the common criminal to operate. In order to “reduce” criminal behavior and opportunities, crime fighting must employ the eradication of these Mr. bigs or the influence they carry in these communities.
    If crime fighting leaves these individuals unscathed by the crime fighting mechanisms then, we are “spinning top in mud”. What is popular in the blogging of the crime phenomenon is the blame game, from a standpoint of political affiliation – meaning “my community is better than yours”. In a little island like Trinidad that means nothing, it is really an empty boast because anyone can fall victim to any kind of crime no matter where we call “home”. The claim to resident of a better neighborhood is really foolish and unimportant, when one decries the political affiliation of crime victims and tries to establish superiority of residence.

  • Jerry Colin Hussain

    We need to rid ourselves of our Colonial past which dwelt on enslaving some to the benefit of others (the kings and queens who punish the rest for their benefit and survival). We need to stop the hypocrisy and start looking each other in the eyes honestly discussing our best way forward. 70 murders in 45 days speak volumes about the hole we are now in. A pool party in panorama to raise finds is a sham, not just a shame. We got to stop fooling ourselves for the young will pelt stones at us later on. Pan is our national instrument and must be respected. Money is not the issue here. The issue is Management of money. Stop the fooling. Opportunists are at work here …those who care nothing for pan development for they are just on a hustle. We need to find the truths amongst us and not live the lies of North America and the like nations who continue to erode our culture in every which way. It is amazing how they celebrate the efforts of Nelson Mandela one day and forget about him after that. We as a nation got to come into our own with our own solutions. We need to forget about all the “foreign used” of the world from cars to food etc. We need to bring to the fore our standards. We need to stop the foreign permits that go towards draining our nation of its resources both natural and human. As I say we need to start by weeding out the enemies from us

    • I agree. I would submit that there has been a recognized assimilation of culture in T&T that outsiders have long acknowledged, but people at home in T&T have somehow developed some sort of amnesia in regard to how to socially conduct ones self.
      It all starts with family values and the and like minded families saying no to this negative influx of cultural assimilation from the toilet of the United States. It doesn’t matter if your Indian, African, European, East Asian, etc…, because we can all say that we value life, prosperity, peace, and communal growth.
      Education is the key, and it seems that in this nations internal competition that education has failed the public. Our sons aren’t being taught to be men and that’s a real problem.

      • Jerry Colin Hussain

        You say education is the key but my three daughters are well educated and no better off. Its a greed problem we have…this problem is seen in persons that are filthy rich and control all our resources. Until death do us part seems to be their motto. They control their own wealth from behind closed doors pushing all the knobs. They have no ethics, no standards, no morals, nothing good comes from them. Its pure money only from profits. They are arrogant, usually highly over sexual in nature and normally inclined to forcing the young ones to suck up to them. Its a complete sicko attitude by them. They run the elections, commands the government, works us to a complete stop, wrecks our families, controls our earnings etc. Governments come and go and are controlled by them and are a huge waste of time. We need a different system where everyone, from President, Prime Minister, Chief Justice to the man or woman on ground zero must be held accountable at all times. We need to get equitable on salaries and cost of living. We need to stop the low quality foreign used goods and services coming to our country that are of no value to anybody having poor quality. We have become a dumping ground for the G8s. And the mark ups that come with these low quality goods and services is simply unjust and unethical to the middle and lower classes in the society. We need to get serious about these enemies amongst us. They are bent on destroying us forever.

  • The Professor’s report was going to be damnable, until he got to his last line. There is no correctional, sociological, legal or even Obea-type solutions for crime down there. Ditto for the corruption, and ditto for consecutive governments.
    One solution that solves at least two problems is to hang criminals as a matter of policy; to succeed in this, there needs be a limit on how much make-work lawyers are allowed to well, make work.
    While am at it, would some one get up the comparative ratios of
    Lawyers/per capita in TT, the US, and for good measure Japan?!
    Ole Reginald.

  • For a nation that easily and readily identifies with every and anything, somehow has lost its identity. What happened to being proper and shaming wrongdoers? What happened to accountability and feeling disgraced for not being a gentleman with the capability to take care of one self responsibly not only to himself, but to his community? Has the United States cultural influx removed all of the strong independent men of Trinidad and replaced them with small brained punks who can only destroy what they cannot build?
    Teach the youth how to be men and you will have a society that is much, much more idea. Until we can be realistic about our communal goals in the way that we expect to unify and move forward, there will continue to be a lack of real men.
    The United States has its criminals and problems, but it is well known that when living in a community that if you don’t hear, you will feel. If you make your bed rough, then you will lay in it. As bad as some things seem, a person can still seek a decent existence. That’s the sort of thing that needs to be mimicked from the U.S., not the thug image portrayed in entertainment.

  • “On the flip side, this writer must hasten to state that the root cause crime in T&T is two-fold, namely, the foreign, as in United States subliminal influence and the supreme propensity for crass materialism/material values.

    In other words, crime in T&T is foreign-driven and material value-related. By way of elucidation, it is an accepted national truism that Trinbagonians love foreign, preferably the negative aspects. That’s a fact.”

    American ghetto culture along with materialism is the prime reason for criminality in TnT. Boys out of work wanting “brand name” so they “put down ah wuk”. Then the drug trade is the primary reason for crime. All the drugs find its way to American shores. The gun culture- American love for guns and the production of these weapons finds its way from Venezuela into the hands of criminals. This made in America product is in high demand and responsible for thousands of deaths.

    The American ghetto culture where gangsta rap and other morally corrupting songs with explicit language form the diet of young impressionable minds. I listen to some of it and promptly change station. Yet hours and hours of this is absorbed into the minds of our children.

    Then there are these games that glorify war and extreme violence. Desensitizing youths to violence. I remember playing one of these games and my first set of “kill” made me sick and I stopped. A few weeks later I tried again and this time I actually felt sick in the stomach. Yet children spend hours on these things.

    The American fast food industry has created a generation of obese kids. The soft drink is loaded with sugar and food genetically modified… Trinis are psychologically controlled by American brand names and materialism.

    Don’t talk about the American porn industry on the internet

  • For all it’s ills by the importation of negative culture, fashions, games, lifestyles, fast foods, porn and entertainment there are no structures set up by our dearly beloved government, non-governmental agencies, religious fraternities and cultural organizations to save our youths. We must forever look to the youths for future leadership, so how their minds are shaped is important to our survival as a nation. Trinidad is a small country but its history speak volumes, in terms of how much we have contributed to international values and the conscientiousness aroused both materially and intellectually. What we are witnessing by the behavior of our youths, is a surrender of that history. Because of the urgency of “now”, there is no desire to build on the acclamation of the past, so there is a rush to “import” whatever is “hot” elsewhere. The urge to inculcate ourselves with these importations drives us “backward” not forward. That backwardness can easily be noticed by the analysis of those who seek to enlighten us of our present calamities. We expect analysts to shine lights on how behaviors affect societal mores and customs. The media which should operate as the “fourth estate” by way of consciousness actually are deft only in enhancing corporate profits from their commercial undertakings rather than providing the best minds to enlighten us. There are many young minds that the media can promote. Names like Kirk Meighoo, Winford James, Selwyn Cudjoe, Clarence Rhambarat and yes, Raffique Shah come to mind as level-headed and conscientious observers of our behavior, instead the media continues to shower us with relics like Sat Maharaj, Lennox Grant, Selwyn Ryan and Andy Johnson whose thoughts are “still” and non-informative. We are a nation that gave the world the steel band, calypso, limbo, a scientist that had original insights on the law of gravity in the person of Dr. Rudranath Capildeo, a world renowned historian to remind us where we came from in the person of Dr. Eric Williams, a Pulitzer prize laureate as V.S. Naipaul, policy writers as CLR James and novelist Earl Lovelace. Yes, there are lots from where we can draw our resources to advance good policies and shape our culture for the good of all. Carnival has moved from the wisdom of George Bailey and Peter Minshall to the likes of scantly dressed wining women who participation is mainly for pleasure. We must stop the downward slide of our behavior and accentuate that which is good within us. We can only do so if we have and cultivate a responsive media to account and reminds us of how we are doing in the process.

  • The youth must be taught better. The best that America has to offer came from somewhere else including Trinidad and Tobago. There is no reason that our youth should be paying attention to the American Ghetto and idolizing it as a quality place to spend time. Trinidad has its own ghettos and ghetto stories. The plan should be seeking a better existence for tomorrow rather than reveling in the destruction of the today.
    Like I have said, someone has to teach these boys to be independent and responsible men.
    What is this nonsense? Saga boys want to be Yankee thugs? It doesn’t work for our society. It doesn’t work for our people with our own history and pride.

  • Let us examine the history of education in T&T. There is a total misconception which we have perpetuated for decades and that is that the system of education is highly successful. We continue to point at successful Trinis of old and relish in their achievements. We brag about scholarships and sadly publish lists of winners and exam results. It was the foreign experience in foreign universities which made these people very educated and successful. An examination of the statistics will show that schools in T&T have been failing for decades, even the so-called elite schools.
    In the late sixties ,only 20% of our students successfully completed elementary school. Five percent successfully completed secondary school and one percent went on to post secondary education. These percentages increased during the next four decades but are still alarmingly low. The increase in post secondary education can be attributed to free education at UWI and a multitude of online and correspondence schools, resulting in a lowering of standards everywhere.
    The system of education in T&T has not changed and is based on the model in Britain conceived during the Industrial Revolution. It is unfortunate that many people in T&T still believe that we have an excellent system. It is a FAILING system, outdated and inappropriate, resulting in student “remnants” everywhere in the country. Learning and teaching conditions are deplorable and devoid of progressive practice and philosophy.
    When we continue to fail to recognize that any country with a failing education system will eventually fail itself, then we end up with levels of dissatisfaction, crime, corruption, violence and ignorance.
    What’s very sad in all of this is that we think we are the greatest.

    • Jerry Colin Hussain

      You really understand what you are saying. I do not think so or you just do not know the real story. What do you say to this…..several years ago I did a project management diploma on my own , part time. When I completed the course run by a recognized USA University, as a project leader in my workplace managing millions of USD projects in the oil and gas sector…my boss told me the first week back on the job that the PM course is impressionable but do not bring any of it on the job. I can also tell you countless stories of scholars coming back to T&T some with masters , doctorates etc. gaining supposed meaningful employment but their superiors either sees them as a threat, do not want change, or simply feel useless when they are around…and I am talking about senior managers, permanent secretaries, directors etc. Our system has failed us …we never moved on from our colonial masters…we simply learnt well from them.

  • Jerry Colin Hussain

    I am not so sure the educational system is failing us. I believe what is failing us are the cheap industrial products, services and goods we offer to the world that is failing us. Business persons in Trinidad are in it for the huge profits and exploitation that are allowed unchecked by poor governance. Read the stories in your dailies and what stands out is the political capital at work each day. Persons want power that they cannot use effectively and the entire nation suffers from the needs that are required and left uncommitted to. Meanwhile the billion dollar expenditures by government can never be justified. In short, there is nothing in T&T for bright young scholars to look up to. This is what is failing us. KPI number one is 74 murders in less than 50 days for 2014. Who wants to live in a country like this after spending quality time in the educational system especially when they are offered a job for less than $10,000 TT monthly. Of course it may change things if they get a key Ministerial posting for over $50,000 per month.

  • Jerry Colin Hussain

    When you examine the other side of the equation here is what is the reality. In North America which is our choice place to live other than T&T. Cities like in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa are now the top most livable cities this side of the world. So let us examine things as they are….a good lunch meal in a typical mall in North America is $8-10 USD….in T&T this converts to TT$55-60 TT which is about the same arguably given the exchange rate but is the quality assured (hell no). In TT a good foreign used vehicle (2-3 yrs old) is $80,000 – 100,000 TT; same in North America is $10,000 USD (cheaper in US but at a better quality). Housing but let us not go there; transportation if you cannot afford a vehicle…let us not go there. Clothes let us not go there for I will start a riot in T&T. But what about the other side of the equation…the earning power. A good salary for a recent university graduate in North America given all the perks one needs is $3000 USD monthly…this equates to about $21000 TT. Are they getting this much; no, no, no my friend. Our beloved government says to keep inflation down this must not be more than $10,000 TT monthly in T&T. Now this has nothing to do with UNC, COP, PP, PNM, ILP. This has to do with the haves versus the havenots in T&T. Those with the power deals the hand we have to play by. Is this slavery, colonialism, capitalism, or plain I am better than you and can pull any string I want, you can’t… or I am plain Mr. Big and for you to live and enjoy you must suck up to me. Take your pick! When your earning power is suppressed in your country for long periods of time you end up like Egypt or Syria or like now the Ukraine. God is not a Trini; it is just our turn ain’t reach yet. Natural justice is God’s justice and the truth one day as to who these devils are will be revealed and they will pay their pence….so we must endure and keep the faith as JC did right up to the cross and his crucifixion.

    • “Those with the power deals the hand we have to play by. “…JCH…………
      There is a lot of truism in your statement which emanates from our instilled colonial mentality and is compounded by the rebuttal one faces when you feel the need to expose it.
      If your complaint does not find favor with those in support of the statisco then you belong to (political) party X, or Y, or Z. The view is to blunt your argument so that it does not fall on the heads of those in control. In other words, “what those in power says is always right”, “they are the government so whatever they do is in my best interest”, or “because they won the last election they can do anything they want”. These are the sentiments we face on a daily basis which almost never answers pertinent questions about the conditions which we face on a daily basis. For example, driving around Port Of Spain and its environs is a nightmare, why? There are too many cars on the limited amount of roads we drive. In the year 2010, the rapid rail project was very close to becoming reality, which meant that commuters from the East-West corridor would have been able to exercise a choice to use the private cars, Maxis or Rail. Whilst the inclusion of rail as a transportation solution have fulfilled all our needs, it certainly would have provided the commuter with a welcome choice between the headache of driving to work and a comfortable ride to work – headache free. As a citizen my desire is to travel from point A to point B with the minimum of interruptions, available medical care when the need arises, a proper judicial system that addresses all the needs of litigants and victims alike, an education system that teach us how to function in a modern world, an EPA that understand that the air we breathe must be clean, as well as the water and with proper drainage. We must also have a free, no-holds-barred democratic process whereby by all voices are heard and we pay specific attention to the best and brightest ideas. Regardless of one’s political persuasion there is merit in adhering to these principles. So, when an elected administration thinks that by virtue of winning an election it is their best to debunk something simply because they did not propose it, is absolute stupidity. When our border patrol is fitted with modern marine safeguards and you de3bunk it, that’s absurdity. When an professional and informed security unit is disbanded because you don’t like it, it puts my personal safety at risk for your political gains. This and many more is what is wrong with what is being used for governance and as such can only be a breading place for crime, drugs, porous border patrol and corruption to the highest order which can only lead to us being a failed state. When a state is unable to govern it can only lead to chaos, corruption and crime. Are we knocking on the doors of a “failed” state?

      • Correction …… “Whilst the inclusion of rail as a transportation solution have fulfilled all our needs, it certainly would have provided the commuter with a welcome choice ”

        Should be …..”Whilst the inclusion of rail as a transportation solution would NOT have fulfilled all our needs, it certainly would have provided the commuter with relief and a welcome choice”

        • Jerry Colin Hussain

          You really want to know how much this rail effort was going to cost the taxpayer. You should stop dreaming and wake up to reality.

          • How much are we loosing in wastage now?

          • Jerry Colin Hussain

            not for that kinda money and not to mention the criminal activity problems both white and blue collar aspects …that we cannot solve that comes with attainable goals that…perhaps if we put our scholars to correct work we can reap a return here but we not ready for that…then there is the greedy leadership amongst us. We have a very serious management problem as well.

  • To say that we are not going to do anything about our traffic problems is like saying we can’t solve our problems. As a small country of 1.5M people and every household owning an average of three cars and not enough roads to drive them on, thats a bit of lunacy in terms of planning on how best to manage commuters to reach their destinations in reasonable time. An important part of running a government efficiently is the quantification of our needs. Such quantification is necessary in food supply, health, transportation, education, public safety etc. When the needs are determined, then we make provision for the administration of the budgeted sums that will fulfill those needs. If we say it costs too much to do everything then nothing will get done and the matter will only get worse. Transportation is a priority because Trinidad is a place in which production is very low (I don’t know the percentage). Having a burdensome and maxed out system cannot help but hurt. So why not do everything in our power to alleviate the burden? Determining what kind of professional we need is part of the management process of govt. Can we get them? Yes we can but we cannot be efficient in giving such highly technical positions to our “friends” and “family”. It is the equivalent of doing nothing. We need people with authentic CFP and CFA qualifications as well as we need people in governmental administration diplomas.

    • Jerry Colin Hussain

      I am not saying do not do this ever. What I am saying is, there are fundamental problems we need to resolve first before we go back to a rail system …like management of projects of this magnitude, social problems that will escalate with this proposal as seen elsewhere, environmental problems like flooding, land development, routing and all the scams that come with that etc. We need to solve many other issues before we tackle this kind of investment. You are only addressing one side of the equation

  • Whilst transportation can be labeled as one problem it never really is because it affects a multitude of every day activities, viz; commuting, pleasure, ambulatory services, taxi services, goods, heavy duty materials and equipment. If you view each of these services individually you would realize how essentially efficient transportation is to the smooth running of society. Take commuting for example, what come to mind is taking people to and from work, school, business, medical and other essential services. If workers are habitually late for work 15 minutes every day then his or her productivity would be cut by one hour fifteen minutes a week. If this kind of problem affect lets say 5,000 workers a day then for the week the country looses 6,250 man hours per week, multiply by 4 weeks then thats a total of over 25,000 hours of lost work per month. Apply the same for school children and teachers, business people, medical services, ambulatory services where one second can mean the loss of an important life. If you apply this kind of critical thinking to these services you would see how important it is to sum up critical need and not assumptive need. You cannot speak of increasing productivity and neglect how we get to work, how goods are delivered or how we get equipment to function at it’s point of operation. If you are critically sick in St. Joseph and your attending physician has to travel from San Fernando to treat you, would you like to hear that he would be arriving late because of traffic problems? The answer is absolutely NO. So to categorize transportation as non-essential or as an unimportant investment is foolhardy.

  • You certainly know about the problems but you seem blind on what to do about it in realistic “solution” terms.

  • Reaping the fruits of inequity
    November 30, 2003
    By Raffique Shah

    THERE is a perception that the perpetrators of the most heinous crimes in the country are all young Afro-Trinis who live in the slums around the city of Port of Spain. If we make this assessment by the names and numbers of persons who are either victims or perpetrators, or we “zone” crime statistics, we may well find there is much justification for this notion. But there is also ample evidence that shows crime in a different colour, or race, if I am to address in a frank manner the propaganda that’s added to perception to produce a deadly mental cocktail.

    In Thursday’s newspapers, for example, two persons, a man and a woman, were pictured leaving court in handcuffs, each facing a 10-year jail sentence. They were convicted of what the trial judge described as the “cold-hearted” murder of one-time Leader of the Opposition, 78 year-old Roy Richardson. The judge pointed out that the duo, having murdered the man, stole from him, bought soft drinks, and then went to their homes “as if nothing (had) happened.” The culprits, both Indo-Trinis, are aged 22 and 20, and in my view they were lucky to have escaped being sentenced to hang.

    The point here is not to try to show that Indians are as likely to be criminal-minded as Africans or people of any other race (who has murdered more, and the most brutal manner, than the White man?). It is to disabuse the minds of those who are convinced, through their own, self-consuming propaganda, that crime is a race issue

  • Trinis will be more positive and focussed on crime solutions if they accepted the fact that no race has a monopoly on crime and in areas where crime stats are higher there are real and persistent causes related to education and the lack of employment opportunities.

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