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Tewarie: Crime affecting us all

http://www.guardian.co.tt/news1.html

UWI principal Dr Bhoe Tewarie has called on the Indo Trinidadian community to take "their blinkers off" and realise that no one group has been spared the brutality of crime in T&T.

Tewarie was at the time delivering the feature address at the opening of the 19th annual Divali Nagar in Chaguanas on Sunday night.

Noting that crime affects every national and was not just plaguing the local Indian community, Tewarie told a huge gathering: "Just as Indian businessmen are under attack, so too are young African boys who are being used as pawns in a deadly power struggle for control of turf by drug barons, none of whom are black."

He added: "We cannot fight for the safety of some while dismissing the deaths of the scores of young people in the ghettos by hoping that eventually, all the murders will solve the problems."

Tewarie said that as the crime rate escalates, many citizens are faced with the difficult task of having to weigh their love for T&T against their personal safety.

"If you leave what do you go to? If the middle and business class leave what becomes of the country? This is the time to make a stand. Fight poverty by investing in education and sporting programmes in your community," he said.

"What this beast of crime is doing to us is further fragmenting the fabric of our society. Whereas in days gone by the entire village used to be a community, nowadays many of us donít even know our neighbours."

Tewarie also praised the Keith Noel 136 Committee, led by Stephen Cadiz, for its thrust to unite the community in the fight against crime.

"What that group is doing is demonstrating the power of ordinary individuals. It has long been my view that in order for a country to function efficiently, equitable community based organisations must play a role."

He also pleaded with nationals not to surrender to fundamentalist ideologies or give in to fanaticism, adding the country must not facilitate the rise of ethnic nationalism from any quarter.

"I know how we feel when someone you know is robbed, murdered or kidnapped but this is the time when we must summon inner strength and the greatest self discipline," he said.

Tewarie said citizens should have every right to be disturbed whenever they see the seeds of fundamentalism and fanaticism being set. He said when the forces of ethnic nationalism begin to rise, it undermines progress in society.

This, he said, does not mean that natio-nals should desist from speaking about injustice and should insist on fairness.

"Ethnic nationalist tensions may involve perceived differences in race, religion or both. We cannot allow this to happen in beloved T&T," Tewarie said.

He said the ideologies that drive the fanatics and fundamentalists, inevitably come to incorporate violence because the pushers of such beliefs are myopic and are intolerant of diversity, hostile to difference, enemies of individuality and stifled to imaginative possibilities.

In Hinduism, he said, there is no room for fanaticism because the faith teaches that each must choose his own path.

"Hinduism acknowledges that there are indeed several pathways to god and not a single exclusive way.

"In true Hinduism, there is no ethnic nationalism because every human being is a soul encased in a body and each soul is connected to the divine." (With reporting by Adrian Boodan)

Trinidad and Tobago News

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