Hypocrisy towards violence in T&T

By Dr. Kwame Nantambu
April 26, 2014

Dr. Kwame NantambuOne of the most ridiculous and hypocritical political statements ever made in the history of public policy-making in this country is the remark by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar that her Government “will look at legislation that can offer protection to children in their homes”.

What the Prime Minister seems to be forgetting either by accident or design is the fact that she was the minister of education in the UNC government who failed to offer protection to children in schools.

The fact of the matter is that no government can legislate morality. And it is quite obvious that Trinidad and Tobago has degenerated into an immoral society as evidenced by the public behaviour of mature adult ministers and young girls.

The real organic root cause for the current exponential increase in school violence and immorality seems to have been overlooked in this national debate.

The salient truism is that the seeds of this national violent-prone behavioural tsunami were deliberately sown in February 2001 when the then UNC minister of education decided to abolish corporal punishment in public schools.

And, of course, when one adds to this equation the complete breakdown of the family structure, decadent moral values as evidenced by the gyrating vulgarity flaunted by Trinbagonians on Carnival days, coterminous with the hopelessness of youths, gang violence and the potent, magnetic, subliminal demonstration effect of American television, then it should be crystal clear to the casual observer that the fruits have not fallen too far from the February 2001 decision.

In defence of the government’s decision, the then Minister of Education argued: “If we fail at the school level, we will continue to face it at the social level. Research carried out in North America and Europe suggests that children who are constantly beaten see physical violence as the only way to resolve differences between themselves and others.”

Again, this represents classical, typical Euro-centric thinking and analysis to the extent that the colonised has automatically assumed, and quite wrongly so, that what is good for the coloniser is also good for the colonised. And this mindset has been the blatant, fundamental, neo-colonial mistake that has been made, maintained and perpetuated with regard to public policy-making by successive governments since 1956. The Euro-centric tradition continues in this country although the colonised kicked out the British governor in 1962.

The fact of the matter is that what successive governments have not and may never realise is that what works for the coloniser is neither necessarily good nor may work for the colonised.

However, as a result of the Euro-centric education to which policymakers have been exposed, they automatically assume that policies of the coloniser can and will work for the colonised. And this is the crucial problem of governance in this country.

On the one hand, it is an accepted truism that Trinbagonians exhibit a great propensity for conspicuous consumption of things foreign (as in American) while on the other hand, successive governments have continued to draw from this foreign policy-making paradigm. So for example, in T&T there exist Adam Smith Square, Columbus Square, Woodford Square, Victoria Square, Lord Harris Square, Abercromby Street, etc. The poignant question to ask is: Didn’t we kick out these Euro-colonials and their divisive mindset in August in 1962?

The salient national reality is that since 2001 pupils feel that they can do anything and get away with it. Today, pupils have absolutely no respect for themselves, teachers, adults in authority and for their school uniforms.

It seems very ironic that today the UNC-led People’s Partnership Government under Kamla Persad-Bissessar, an educator and Senior Counsel, is determined to go to the hangman to deal with the runaway spate of crime in the country but is very obdurate and reluctant to re-introduce the “rod-man”, as in “cut dey tail”, to deal specifically with school violence. The “rod-man” would beat martial arts any day, any time.

Madam Prime Minister, what’s the difference between violence in school perpetrated by boys and girls in school uniform and violence in the public domain perpetrated by young men with guns and wearing police and/or military attire?

School is no longer a building for children to “go to school and learn well”. It has been transformed into an uncontrollable battle zone for uniformed boys and girls to fight among themselves.

In the final analysis, the Partnership Government can neither deal with nor successfully solve the intractable, thorny problem of violence in this nation’s schools because, as the assassinated African-American nationalist Malcolm X once retorted: “The chickens have come home to roost” ten-plus years after the Euro-centric banning of corporal punishment from schools.

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

14 thoughts on “Hypocrisy towards violence in T&T”

  1. What is this good doctor Saying? Let me read it again for the fifth time and decode.
    RIGHT! I have read it again.
    He is hotly chastising the Prime Minister for stopping children getting licks in school for wrong doing AND wanting to CONSIDER making laws to PROTECT children in the home getting licks from extremists (don’t know when to stop)crazy sadist parents.
    Then he is saying that in doing that it is foolish because that is following European standards and shows that we are STILL colonized in our thinking.

    Then he says the complete opposite. That they should get licks both home and in school.

    Is he so intoxicated AGAINST all Governments that he does not KNOW that he is contradicting himself? A next Government had the CHANCE to reintroduce Corporal punishment in Schools yet they did not.

    Which side is he on?

    Banning Corporal in Schools? I did not agree with that. But even though is has some negatives it has at least one positve which is PREVENTING the Teacher from GETTING SHOT FROM A GANG MEMBER STUDENT. And some Scholders do not KNOW when to STOP!

  2. There are no civilized societies which permit corporal punishment in schools. There are no civilized societies left which do not have controls in place to monitor violence in the home. Usually, government institutions intervene and take the necessary actions to protect children.
    It is a sad day when you have a so-called, educated doctor calling for corporal punishment in schools. There is absolutely no evidence or research to prove that corporal punishment improves behavior or learning. It is also a sad day when you have a society which supports the type of savage verbal and physical abuse which the Point Fortin mother delivered to her child.
    This so-called doctor comes across as an idiot with his call to perpetuate violence in schools. Does he not realize that violence breeds violence, and the present crime wave in T&T is directly attributable to licks in school and licks at home.
    The problem is not the banning of the strap, but the failure of the governments to provide the required range of support services in schools to deal with deviant behavior and also learning differences.
    Dr Kwame, I suggest that you “get an education”.

  3. “.the seeds of this national violent-prone behavioural tsunami were deliberately sown in February 2001 when the then UNC minister of education decided to abolish corporal punishment in public schools.”
    Are you really saying this with a straight face Professor?

    “The fact of the matter is that no government can legislate morality.”Yuppie , and what breaking news , which translated in this case means, a woman decision to beat her 12 year old child ,into submission 63 times with a leather belt, in a profanity laced rant, along with ugly public beratings , and in the process, plant same ,across Social Media , for the benefit of over a billion global views , is a matter of mere “morality, “not savage ,criminally abusive action, that should require prosecution to the full extent of the law, correct Doc?
    American TV , is the cause of T&T violence,and so is neo imperial, Euro centrist mindset, of our leaders?
    Can it get any worse people?In 1994,Under the watchful eyes of UN troops, and full knowledge of the Security Council ,800,000 Rwandans were murdered, in the space of one month , during inter-ethnic clashes, and the only folks who get blamed were evil Belgians Colonials. When does it end? Touch one Jews , and the world goes bunkers, kill a 200 million Africans in Congo , and Sudan , via similar genocides , and the world goes to sleep, led by the AU, and socially comatose,clueless , Global African Middle class, awaiting their sky gods intervention.
    I wonder what the good Professor would say ,if a few of the numerous Chinese that made Trinidad and Tobago their new home , decided , to indulge in ‘foot binding’ here,as practiced decades ago, in their homeland?
    The Kenyan Kikuru Nationalist hero , Jomo Kenyatta, used similar arguments, when defending his thesis , in Europe, as a student.
    Barbaric ,Genital mutilation, as traditionally practiced by his people , then , and now , is wonderful.
    Since , quite recently ,the glorified ,and useless AU, supported this activity, I am certain that the good Doc ,won’t have a problem, if our fast expanding East African, and Middle East population ,were to engage in this activity the watchful eyes of our tolerant society, will he?
    While we are at it I wish to see some Indian Bride burners , Nigerian , Somalian, and Pakistani pro Sharia law , stone throwing , as punishment , proponents, appointed as Senators,right here in my T&T, and how about you Doc?
    Hypocrisy huh Doc? While we are on the subject of lofty traditions, as advocated by the Doc , I wish he will tell Commissioner of Police Williams, to stop his boys from interfering with my fellow Trini males ,Spanish language lessons, as taught by the hundreds of erotically appealing ,Latino women , chiefly from Columbia, DR, and Venezuela,who seek work ,across our sex starved country, si?
    Ain’t this something people , when educated Africans , in 2014, all across T&T ,are making apologies, for fellow Africans , who choose to behave live savages, and who could have predicted this?
    Today,Auntie Penny, is less concern with her gun running siblings, or quite recently,with creating jobs for Tobabonians , but wish to end sex tourism.


    Notice how in her rush for power, the person who wish in her dream to replace the country first female PM , is now silent as a mouse , ,over this monstrosity, because she ain’t wish to antagonize potential voters, who might throw their support for her new arch nemeses, or heavens forbid, the present PP party.
    Not to be out done , ever grateful,present day, pro PP,’Afro Eat a Fooder ,’in Hazel Brown , and I am certain ,so called Feminist educator , such as UWI Merle Hodge, would jump off the Financial Complex naked ,to protest, if anyone dared ,lay a finger on any of their gay friends, or heavens forbid , more Trini Males , such as Pundit Sharma,decided to publicly beat down their female companions , or kids .
    Notice how the former is now doing back flips , in terms of female protection , because the victim is a kid, and the animal , a female , who so happens to look like her?
    As for Merle, yep silent as a UWI manicou, ummm mouse,but tough, on Cuz Glen , or Pundit Sharma, and the ever expanding cadre of Trini male abusers.
    Go figure!
    Let me for the record state , that I am not surprise at the reactions of say a Dana Sethahal,aka the Trini legal Carpetbagger in Chief, as she hides behind legalistic jargon , while essentially saying nothing.
    I am however surprise at the misplaced empathy as displayed by Afro Trini educated , more civilize middle class folks , led by the likes of our good Doctor.
    Yes guys , we know all of the socio- economic , Sociological ,and neo Freudian reasons, that can be brought the forefront to explain away,the Mamas actions, and we should deal with them in due process, but this ain’t the time – especially with her lack of remorse.
    In the words of this crazy mom ,and I paraphrase:- ‘I myself ,was repeatedly beaten , a kid,and forced to kneel in a corner ,on graters , with two big stones in my hands , which I had to hold up over my head, and look how wonderful I turned out?’
    My daughter tried to shame me on Facebook , and I taught her , and hopefully all Trini youths ,a lesson of love.
    Your call, Uncle Rowley, aka , the PM in waiting .
    I wish you well, as you try to navigate navigate this political goldmine , laden with hypocrites , apologists, self serving Bengal tigers, and Scorpions.
    Just save us , and our good Professor the typical hypocrisy, towards violence.Translation -Children of ‘Kinky head Nation,’fighting in Toco, and Mucurapo are viewed as caged animals.Ministers of Brown Triumphalist Nation, caught assaulting females ,on our national airlines , and Grand Bazaar, are depicted as out of control bums, or sex fiends,that deserving of the nation ‘s wrath, and or ,appropriate prosecution.
    But as for this woman, kid gloves.
    We don’t roll like that , as civilize people-and no , we don’t need Europeans , or other tribes ,to tell us what is decent.

  4. Those who as a matter of policy are against spanking children might be divided between abuse and correction. There is every evidence by way of her action that the mother used spanking as a corrective measure and not a vicious violent spurt of temper to abuse the child. Most right thinking people would be against the abuse of children where the whip is the only recourse. In first world countries today, it is common for young girls and boys to exhibit their bodies in the hope that such behavior will bring attention unto themselves. They believe (and wrongly so) that it is cool and it will make them more acceptable to mates whom they might have their eyes on. This is a very false sense of getting attention (and respect) and because this is so common in America, naturally our youths adopt the behavior as pre-teen and teen way of attracting the opposite sex to them. There is too much of a wholesale acceptance of everything American or British and by so doing we and our children are selling ourselves short on morality and commonsense. This new psychology that suggests that ‘beating’ a child is wrong – not matter what! This kind of psychology should be challenged because there are children you might be able to speak and reason with and there are those that might need the rod or correction to straighten them out. If spanking does all this nasty things to children brains, then by now I would have been not just a problem child but also a non-productive adult because keeping as many children as my father had straight there must have been something that we fear – and that was the whip. It is not good for all circumstances but should be a last resort if all else fails. It is not that people are commending the mother for ‘beating’ the child but most parents understands that she did it because she wanted to uphold her dignity, pride and respect as a responsible parent.

    1. “It is not that people are commending the mother for ‘beating’ the child but most parents understands that she did it because she wanted to uphold her dignity, pride and respect as a responsible parent” ( KIAN).

      The primary objective of disciplining a child for wrongdoing is NOT to uphold the dignity, respect and pride of the parent in the community, but to correct the misbehaviour of the child in an attempt to prevent the deviance in the future. Corporal punishment is the least effective way to accomplish this goal. There are many more legal and psychological effective methods
      of discipline.
      A society which supports this type of barbaric, premeditated and violent beating needs to take a serious look at its dysfunctional self and understand why it has become so violent itself.

      1. Well I don’t like using sophisticated terms like ‘corporal punishment’, I understand all the psychological meanings attached to the simple act of physical correction by way of a good beating. First world peoples call it abuse no matter what the reason, we in the Caribbean know that there are times when ‘the rod of correction’ need to be used to drive home some disciplinary points. I got beaten like hell from my Dad and no psychologist will ever be able to connect my behavior with anything barbaric. Let me emphasize TMan, I am not saying this this is a preferred method. All I’m saying is when all else fails, and the whip is the last option then use it, don’t spare the rod to spoil the child. Not everything coming out of psychiatry is law that we should apply as a third world country. We must be vigilant in how we apply first world attitudes.

  5. As I suspected ,and yes , the long delay for a response to this simple issue , by some of our seemingly intelligent ,progressive ,cyber colleagues, is now more than obvious. Thanks T-Man, for some well informed views, on this subject, with long term implications , for us all.
    I therefore, as President of T-GPHSS – ‘T&T chapter, of the ‘Global Progressive Humanist -Security Society,’hereby elevate you to the position , as VP of Operations, and simultaneously, with the power invested in me , have no choice, but to relegate , Cuz Kain, to to a one month ,cyber time out, where he will sit on a grater , with the rest of our numerous ,uncivilized barbarians , until he comes to his senses?
    While I am unleashing this punishment T-Man, please remind me to check his ‘Patriotic horns.’This guy is sounding more like some Congolese , Pro Child, soldier Commander, than a Trini.
    I was getting a bit suspicious , re that subject already, but excused some of his recent,cyber jousting follies, to excessive consumption of Easter Vinos, and Las Lomas Babash.
    Are you really serious Kian,about defending this monstrosity?
    There you are once more , joining the naive , misguided ,neo apologist ,rat pack ,and blaming America, for Trinidad problems.
    In case you did not already know ,your leaders right here ,in all capacity, business, political, civic, philanthropic, and otherwise, don’t comply with rules, and you want our kids to?
    Trinis are the most lawless people in the world , when at home -yet , most compliant abroad, even with limited prompting- and you think our observant kids ,are going to be different, because some one just whack them a few times?
    What does America , or social media,have to do with that my friend?
    What do you know. In a population of some 1.3 plus million-more than half of which , I am certain,are under age of 21-and you Kian , choose to use yourself , as a yardstick , to judge the merits of corporal punishment, in 2014.
    Missing from the debate ,its the absent Policeman father, and are certain it was really licks that kept you , and your 20 other siblings in check, and not a stable home, where love and respect were key ingredients?

    Just how would this country progress people , when middle class folks , behave like they’ve never set foot into a school,much less achieve some level of higher education, or even travel , beyond Toco, or Las Cuavas, or Icacas?

    Is this how you plan to influence the desperate, struggling masses,like this obviously derange female , stuck in squalor , at the lower echelons of society? 63 lashes,during a profanity laced tyraid, that was filmed by fellow low lives, then plastered all across social media , and this Kian is babbling on about parental dignity. Well I’ll be!
    Tell you what , if these kids aren’t quickly removed from this woman, and she keeps up her crazy parental skills, one of three things would occur. The kid in search o f love would run away to find it.She will become impregnated , by another uneducated , exploitative low life. She would react violent , and sink a knife into the ribs of her mom , when same is asleep.
    Violence breeds violence!
    Chief of Police Victims Support Unit , Samsome Brown ,ain’t this abuse? Oops , you like Kian, and a similar others , lack empathy for our young , non voting kids, si?

    1. Neal, I hear you and I will go on my gut feelings on this one. The way you and TMan put it (Corporal Punishment) it connotates much more in scope than my experience and commonsense allows me to. If that means allowing someone other than a parent to spank a child then I’m not for it. But I have no qualms about parents using spanking as a means to discipline a child.

      1. I believe that the “spanking” of which you speak is very different from the abuse handed out by the woman.

  6. Well I live in the “#1 first world country”. Yes they don’t they children, but they all over the place when it come to deciding the proper way to discipline their children. I got my fair share of licks or blows. My children did not get 1% person of what I got. So I guess I may have done a “good” job. But you know, a parents job is really never over. Even when your children big, you may still be meddling with them. At this time they could listen to you or turn their backs. But in this “1st world country I live in ” which preach spare the rod, has the biggest prison population in the world. If you all have dicretionary income, you could invest in the prison industry. It is lucrative.

  7. http://www.trinidadexpress.com/news/More-powers-for-FIU-to-catch-crooks-258713901.html?m=y&smobile=y&clmob=y&c=n

    Yes Cuz Prakash, and since it is four days , and the killers of her sister ,aren’t caught as yet, your government should thus take Commissioner Williams, plus his entire Police executive , and place them in a leaky vessel, earmark to politically turbulent Venezuela, in hope , that none comes back alive?
    Once this is done , ‘you alzes,’can introduce that PP, grand security initiative.
    Therein, to create ,the Trinidad Homeland Security Network, with Crime fighting ace ,Susan Francois , at the helm.
    Sometimes , I am not certain ,if to laugh , or cry, at the follies of these folks, with absolutely no conception ,of what authentic ,Political Stewardship entails.
    So what is the problem people?Is it, non visionary leadership , an over saturation of greedy , diabolical ,fat cat business cronies, and financial supporting thugs , demanding their symbolic ‘pound of flesh ,two inches, from the heart of ‘Her Majesstrick Queen K,’as she allegedly marks time , to the all powerful not too secret ,cabal drums, ,’or simply rather ,too many self serving , unpatriotic ,policy wonks, and handlers , with no good intent, for their once beautiful country?
    Speaking of violence , and hypocrisy Doc , which is worst,the fact that, as you say ,”the chicken has come home to roost , or rather , that the Trini hen houses, are guarded by corrupt , carnivorous foxes?
    There are those, who cannot help but agree with a socially progressive,friend of the masses, in the St Joseph MP, Mr Terrence Deyalsingh, who in his recent ,Parliamentary debate submission , lamented that T&T ,is on a runaway train to ‘failed statehood.’


    Here ,violence , and hopelessness, is as common as the dirty waters, emanating from Caroni river , or the stagnant , mosquito infested East Dry River .

  8. After a certain age, you should be able to just speak with your children about right and wrong. You have to physically dicipline them while they are young and establish dominance so that they will not question your authority without risk of being lashed by the time they are teenagers. The thing is that you don’t have to maime, cripple, abuse, or kill your children to get them to respect you. Don’t spank them out of personal emotion but only out of right or wrong.

  9. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXm_QQkZdbU&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    There are a host of reasons as to why ensuring compliance , by kids , regular adults,businesses conglomerates, and even political leaders,can be problematic.
    The big stick / coercion ,can work , but not always.
    As our globalist Doc indicated by his excellent examples :-Got to connect with the consumers needs.One must be mindful of the competition. Finally , one must listen.


    Thanks Dr Hosein, and you too Whitney.


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