All ah we dead

By Raffique Shah
April 29, 2016

Raffique ShahI had planned not to address crime in my columns, to waste valuable newspaper space on an issue that, while it grows grimmer by the day, is seemingly intractable.

When last I tackled it, I admitted to have become inured to the barbarism into which the nation has descended. Decapitation, mutilation, suffocation and now on-the-spot cremation no longer shock me.

In fact, I suspect that most people are bored with crime to the extent that it’s no longer front-page news, the only thing of significance being the body-count-box that’s ticking along at one-point-five a day.

I have returned to the scene not because there aren’t more important national issues, but because of a few recent developments that I found particularly unsettling.

One was the video-clip posted on the Internet last week that showed several young men wildly firing sub-machine guns and pistols as if they were in a war theatre, except that this was set in a housing estate, a theatre of the absurd, complete with wildly cheering female fans.

It turns out that this “event” took place last December, Old Year’s Night to be specific, somewhere in Maloney, and the police knew nothing about it until the video surfaced.

Now, the police can claim, with justification, that because almost everyone across the country was engaged in an orgy of explosive merriment at that specific time, they could not distinguish gunfire from fireworks or “scratch bombs”.

But those firearms and the seemingly inexhaustible supply of ammunition would have been at that location well before the firepower-display. In fact, the criminals may have exhibited a fraction of their armaments. And that Maloney gang is just one of a nation-wide network of gangsters that probably number in the thousands, all armed with automatic guns.

Over the past few years, the police have boasted about how many hundreds of firearms and ammunition they have seized. Yet, we can easily deduce that huge supplies remain in the hands of criminals, hence the nightly gunning-down of victim after victim, the perpetrators using a magazine or two per “kill”, which suggest they have unlimited supplies of ammunition.

A trained soldier exercises disciplined firepower…every round counts.

A criminal with a gun and much ammo will be reckless…squeezing the trigger of an automatic weapon until the magazine is empty-dangerous.

Before I offer my diagnosis of where this society has reached in lawlessness, I tender exhibit number two-yet another video posted on the Internet, this one capturing a few schoolgirls in uniform roundly and loudly cussing a police officer who was also in uniform.

It seemed that the policeman attempted to quell a disturbance in a public place when the girls pounced on him like hyenas in the jungle, to use a description coined by Prime Minister Keith Rowley, for which he was roundly condemned.

The common threads in the two incidents referenced are they involved young people between ages 15 and 25, male and female, who showed utter contempt for the law and disregard for officers of the law, and both sets of miscreants enjoyed vocal and visual support from their peers and families.

In other words, there is a general breakdown of law and order across the country, with criminals engaging in what I would describe as an insurgency, which is loosely described as a rebellion against authority.

My colleague Martin Daly goes beyond that: it’s a coup d’etat, he posits, in which the State has ceded large areas of the country, including the nation’s prisons, to criminal elements.

When a police officer cannot arrest, handcuff and cart away teenage girls who commit several offences, either because he is afraid of them or of hypocritical public outrage, we reach!

When the security forces-Coast Guard, army, Air Guard and police-over several decades, fail to stem the free flow of arms and ammunition into the country (we don’t manufacture guns and ammo here) to the extent that anyone who wants an illegal firearm can easily acquire it, we are perilously close to being a failed state.

And when murderers, bandits and sundry criminals find safe havens in homes and communities, when families and neighbourhoods celebrate their deadly firepower, morality has collapsed and common decency has dissipated in the fog of war.

What is more frightening, in such anarchy where might is right, it is law-abiding citizens who come under attack from both police and thief.

Because the police are afraid to tackle the criminals, they pounce on easy targets-minor traffic offenders, marijuana smokers, protesting workers, and so on.

Besides targets of their internecine wars that they must dispense with to survive, gunmen find “soft targets” in ordinary citizens whom they rob with impunity, and kill as a sideline.

The real horror is that things won’t get worse before they get better: they will degenerate from worse to worst, by which time “all ah we dead”!

6 Responses to “All ah we dead”


  • Crime has been and will always be there. What uncle Shah is saying it is only getting worst. That is true when it is only April and 200 dead with no end in sight. It is a known fact that criminality increases whenever the PNM takes charge of the nation. The reason for that being the criminal elements become embolden because of the PNM soft approach to crime. They feel sorry for the criminal rather than the victim. This is evident when Panday left office it was a high of 95 murders but in came Manning and the record skyrocketed to over 500 murders in one year.

    This year we will see another record broken and each soul that fell under a bullet should cause us to pause and reflect as to where this nation is going. It is certain not going in a progressive direction.

    The Bajans said it clearly that their solve ratio for crime is 95% while TnT solve ratio is less than 10%. The point is if you don’t arrest, charge and jail the murders fast enough they will continue their career in criminality. Yes folks it is small band of lawless gun runners holding the nation at hostage. The lastest trend is to hire a killer for a few thousand dollars and knock off your spouse or the neighbour you don’t like, no questions asked. It is news for a few days then everyone forgets and go about their business.

    Mr. Manning had several meetings with the criminal elements gave them contracts under the URP program but that only increase the body bag count. He even turned them into “community leaders” an idea adopted under the U.S. inner city ghetto scheme. Today there are some 500 gangs engage in a war of attrition design to exterminate each other some doing so with a level of brutality not seen in some time. Burning a man alive is ultimate sign of the worst form of human depravity.

    So where do we begin? Start in the home and begin the process of rebuilding families and communities. Strong families produce future leaders, weak families produce the next generation of criminals. In the U.S. there is 1 million black men in jail and about 72% cohabitating instead of marrying. That is terrible sign of monumental proportions because those homes are producing the next generation of killers. In TnT no figures available but we can only guess. Now in case you wondering if this is in the DNA of black folks to live like this I strongly beg to differ. I have friends from Africa and it always amaze me to see the man, woman and child together. They are strong culturally and stay together to raise the next generation. We must encourage the youths to get married instead of producing children outside such a holy boundary.

    There has been several reports and studies done. Most are gathering dust on shelves. Anyone wanting to change the direction of the ship must be willing to learn how to operate from the manual. The human manual that show sin and sinful tendencies if uncheck can cause untold destruction….. Yes we do have to build back the restraints to human depravity or we all perish by the few…

    • Yes Moomoo, criminals are really political opportunists!
      They survive best when PNM is in power and as such fear the wrath of Lucifer’s wife and and agent, when she is the prime minister! Get off your “better than thou” bull…t!. You chided Jerry as lacking in foresight and character as a blogger, but you use news and people’s failings to augment you stupid points. Facts, the way you use them, can be used to support any situation, anywhere one chooses to make them relevant. You “facts”, if one may call them that, are almost NEVER SUPPORTED by policy or national will. It is obvious that you write, not so much to inform but rather to massage your own ego. It makes you feel good to say the things that you surmise is deleterious to black people, because your brahmin mentality has to be massaged with that kind of information so you feel better about yourself as a so-called brahmin and a member of the superior class. Your brahmin mentality that suggests dark skinned people are inferior must be constantly fed negative stereotype of them so that you can justify what you perceive as your intelligence. I feel very sorry for you. May God look upon that evil caste mind of yours and cleanse it!

      • I have friends of all ethnicity and as I said I have friends from Africa. I am attempting to expose a problem that exist. 40% of Jamaican teens are victims of sexual coercion or rape. That cannot be dealt with unless exposed and discussed in the public domain…. Yes I have seen with my own eyes young Africana girls who live in the hood get pregnant at age 17, 18 because they grew up with granny or mammy. Surely there is a better way…

  • Shah perhaps a number of things is leading us to the present situation. 1. A distinct low attendance in certain churches particularly on the weekends indicates or some would say rather tends to indicate a loss of believe or faith in the one true God. Hence things like morals, standards, discipline, attitude, ethics etc. are at an all time low in the wider society. It was once said that there are 10% leaders versus 90% followers that make up the world (one could argue no; its more like 20% to 80% – no big difference). I also see along with this effect of no religion as shown to be in young lives today, there is a lack of proper supervision and wrong example practiced by most parents. Perhaps they are working too many jobs. In fact parents are so busy chasing high salaries and endless material things in life the children have been falling by the wayside over 30 years or more now. 2. Governments have failed to encourage the proper growth of young talents in the school system. Literally the last education minister watched the system fall apart for 2010-2015 especially in certain areas largely because he and his family and friends were well placed in the society over the years since 1956. He has God to contend with now. The PNM tried to improve the system but because of the false papers among their leaders they lost their way badly over the years. What had been saving us since the 1970s were the anglican/catholic/hindu run schools . However nepotism crept in and of course money and education became one. If you came from a poor family especially as you reached form 4,5, or 6 you tend to fall by the wayside as teachers had to cope with inflation and extra lessons helped them balance their budgets. The poor suffered in those years. And of course before GATE it was difficult for the poor to obtain tertiary education. And then false papers became the order of the day as networking or as we know it… string pulling became our first method of hiring and of course this became applied to every transaction. I remember when you wanted a brand new vehicle you had to pull a string to get one. I also remember the times of foreign exchange controls. 3. Most middle class parents started moving their children out of Trinidad and Tobago and then families too, began going to foreign countries like UK, USA, Canada etc. in the late 60s and 70s as their budgets suited that trend (in the 70s only then salaries were in line with living costs until Mr Prevatt changed all that). The government just did not care then. I remember in one year alone, mid 70s, houses and cars skyrocked more than ten times. In fact they felt it was the way to go as they wanted a military/police controlled state to manage and dictate to the poor and like Angola their bourge 5% would have most of the wealth and hold power for years. This was the PNM design for us. When Panday came into power with Robbie they looked foward to an inside accommodation between them on major political players. Huge wealth income from the oil and gas industry were projected for T&T then. In 1988 UNC was formed and Panday sought an opportunity to do the same as the PNM had done that worked for the PNM and he brought in Carlos John and Clico. That failed as Ramesh, Ralph and company decided that the UNC was no going this way. I remember each party had approx. 200,000 fixed voters with 300,000 voters floating in the system. Hence COP was formed in 2002. So from 2002 to 2015 there was this divide. Even the COP with duck and run could not mend the accommodation. In the 2007 general election the COP spoilt Panday last chance of behind the scenes accommodation. Perhaps it was God’s way of breaking the hold by the government to lock down the lower or poorer class of people. By this time the middle class was almost nowhere to be sen in T&T. You must also understand by this time all scholars would refuse to come back home to work for a lower wage and report to the real “idiots” with false papers as their superiors. I recalled when empowering of employees became a norm in the foreign places to T&T. T&T dictators did not want that in T&T. Wherever the expertise was required they brought in a foreigner with false papers, paid him/her a bundle of money and we watched them get hoodwinked. All they ever wanted was a grease hand or a hand out and we spent trillions in falsified contracts. 3. With the development of Amoco/BP our main source of income was mismanaged terribly. We had no diversification in our economy as preached endlessly. All major plans disappeared by Ministries. In these years we tried desperately to build our own oil and gas industry with local persons not having the correct education/experience. Instead the decision makers were all from political picks (still so today and having no performance/ achievement records). When you read their resumes you see no achievements at all even when they worked for recognized institutions/international renowned companies for several years. You ask yourself “what has these persons achieved?”. This has been our governments propaganda for the last 60 plus years. The population sees through all of this over the years and trust issues begin to cement in the wider society. When you see governments come and they go and the top positions in NGC, Petrotrin, WASA both on the make up of boards and management and so many now have false papers with no experience. I know of persons in Petrotrin, NGC, etc, companies run by persons without any value to those industries still needing acquire a profit today. In Fedchem, even where I spent for 30 years working to fix things and keep things going there were pockets of discrimination, nepotism in promoting. The present President was chosen for this job when he was still at a University in Canada – his mother at Tate and Lye lobbied and boasted about this back in the 70s. The foreigners do not want any local questioning their authority especially when you are certain they are doing the wrong thing. SK used to send endless invoices for nitrogen consumption when it was known Fedchem was not receiving the nitrogen (the system was complex with no working meters and I was pushed to put a value to the invoices to verify payment and I was sidelined since the 70s by SK and his people as I discovered a huge underground leak in the system). I am told SK is still in control in T&T just like the Syrian. These people along with the french creole own almost everything in our country today and they demand a say in everything government does. We are another Syria in the making. The indo population has a lot of wealth but due to family structural problems and mis management and individual greed among them their wealth mostly do not stay in T&T. When the PNM comes into power they generally ship it out like the traditional Chinese. So the PNM continues to reign among the mess they largely created over the years. I believe the true patriot peoples in T&T are some of the afro community but largely the mixed people with the education. But most of them reside outside Trinidad. 4. Past PNM and UNC governments have pushed to keep inflation capped down in T&T. This has had a very negative impact on salaries for 50 plus years. There were times where inflation worldwide sky rocked. Our inflation was was suppressed via unions and spin whereby their leaders sold out on their membership. The only true Union Leader I knew was George Weeks. As a chemical engineering graduate I worked for $2000 TT per month in the 70s – this was a good salary with $1 TT = $1 US. Now that salary equates to $20000 (high end) per month with $6.33 TT = $1 US. Now a graduate in USA works for $60000 US per month (in TT this is almost $40000 per month). The world has gotten smaller and prices on everything or almost everything given the different foreign exchange multipliers are equal ( a $10 meal in USA is around 60-70$ in T&T ) put there by outside agencies like IMF via world super corporations)but our governments shut down the agricultural sector, refused to develop our people and put huge grocery costs filled with VAT in place from 1986 to now. Other than this basic infrastucture with computers and education cost a fortune in the local stores and now VAT is on internet/communication devices even as the services are not as secure as in the first countries of the world. Hence we in T&T are at a huge disadvantage earning and developing in our T&T society to live above the acceptable living costs. I owned a Townhouse in 1980 in T&T ( cost me $100,000). Last year that same Townhouse with practically no change to it was sold for $2.2 million. Somewhere in 2000 upwards housing pricing skyrocked in T&T. PNM/UNC governments lost their way in the 90s. The price of oil tripled, government boasted and the crime rates more than skyrocked. You got deals everywhere but more than half the population suffered. Subsidies on everything ordered by the IMF are removed. We are earning less than 40% of our counterparts even in places like small Barbados. Our buying power for adequate items with standard world value has diminished terribly over the years. Our governments have failed us miserably over the years to protect us and of course the protective services against crime have also failed us miserably. We are now a failure state but our PNM government has brought back past failures to fail more in far more difficult times. So Shah to your subject “Al ah we dead”. We dead a long time ago. We are only now realising it. The persons who care about T&T now have to show the guts to overcome all the PNM and UNC of yesterday. We do not want any of the crappy persons of yesterday deciding the tomorrows for us. Instead any person we employ in the areas we are choosing to employ them must show on their resumes what they have accomplished in order to tackle the jobs we want them to do. We must employ persons of T&T roots who knows the culture. In project or program management besides knowing the milestones and what is required to achieve the milestones to achieve the timeline you have, the leader, need to have the skill sets to allow every team member to achieve excellence in the works required to achieve the goal/s of the project/program. You cannot now afford to award a contract to person/s who is a party hack or to one of your own for trust purposes. You cannot afford to audit a project long after endless monies were spent. As an Opposition leader you need to focus on the projects that use the expenditure of tax payer monies while you were back there….not now when you are prime minister because you want to stay comfortably in power for years to come. If you do not have the balls take a walk. You are playing us. You just cannot fool us all the time. You were there under Mr. Manning and you know what the problem{s} are. If you do not now have the solution{s} take a long walk. As I read there is no longer hot spots in T&T; crime is all over. The police continue to lose the battles. I firmly believe the wealthy wants it this way. We are heading to a police state like Mr Manning wanted.

  • Alyssa, take note of this: ““I have been a victim of discrimination and unfair treatment in the Police Service at a time when officers of East Indian decent were in a very small minority…………” Retired Police Inspector, Harridath Maharaj. This of course is his officially stated reason for challenging the Government’s and Cabinet Policy towards the naming of a new Police Commissioner. And guess who is the Magistrate (Judge) hearing the case – Peter Rajkumar, Who are the Attorneys taking up this challenge? Mr. discrimination himself – Anand Ramlogan. The question I want to ask is this, do these people really want to see a better Trinidad and Tobago?
    Better yet, what is their view of a better Trinidad and Tobago?
    It is obvious by the pursuit of Indian Policy #1, We will get no where better than where we are, until Indians have their way in any and every aspect of life in this country. Their tried and successful cry of RACISM is the trump card that they always play to mash up everything, when we are seeking a way forward from the backwardness that we are in. Just a few days ago, the Archbishop of Port of Spain, Fr. Joseph Harris, appealed for a kinder, milder and concilliatory approach to mending the State’s laws, where the accused in remand yard, should be given an opportunity for a faster trial. His fellow I.R.O member and President came out vehemently opposed to asking for a fairer treatment to those accused in remand yard wanting several years before they can be heard in court.

    Indian Policy #1 – making the country ungovernable, is at work in every sphere of our lives. The Judiciary, the military, the church, medicine, health, community, politics, crime, punishment, entertainment, municipalities, in the cities, in towns, in the suburbs, in the rural and ALL aspects of our lives, there is a challenge to life if it is not seen ‘the Indian way’. What better way to ‘have it there way’, than to go to Indian judges/magistrates to rule on Indian concerns. Make no bones about it, Judicial review will will reveal that Anand Ramlogan chooses his judges/magistrates very carefully – they are always sympathetic to his call of discrimination. WATCH MY WORD!

    • Kian,
      Notice Harridath Maharaj has no qualms about accusing his former comrades of being racist. Notice that He doesn’t refrain from saying these things “for the good of the country”…Notice that in his statement he equates indians being a minority in the Service AS being discrimination??? NOTICE he isn’t afraid or ashamed of “dividing the country” by his false accusations…Notice that his surname is Maharaj…is he a member of the Maha Sabha?? He is reading from the same script as the rest of the UNC…could you
      imagine this man beint privy to state power??? One coukd hazard a guess why Anandsi & Kamla-baba felt so untouchabale & arrogant while in office…The UNCOPP and their supporters are yell bent on trying to shame and bully the African population into placing them en masse in charge of the protective services!!! These Hindus and their presbyterian & indian muslim sidekicks appear to be trying to strongarm a hardcore Maha Sabha member into the police commissioner’s office. Watch them use their control of the media to guolt trip Dr. Rowley into being dumb enough place a Hindu Indian into the commission’s office. They are counting on Dr. ROWLEY to feel guily and facilitate appoint an Indian.Shameless!! Kian, these persons will never stop…they are single minded in their goal…they don’t care If it angers africans…as long as they get what they want…Hindus in charge of EVERYTHING…let us see if Dr. Rowley will allow these UNC to bait him into following THEIR agenda. Ohh and Kian…did Anandsi have the power to determine which Judges contracts were renewed in the industrial court and who were elevated as judges between may 24th 2010-2015.??? If so…what do you think are the implications of this given his vicious obsession with
      race?????

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