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Putting the Cart before the Horse

I am not sure how many of you are familiar with that expression, but I believe that for quite a few it is pretty self explanatory, and any of us with an IQ over 5 would know that to take such a course of action would be counterproductive and get you no way at least if you are in possession a smarter horse. Some of the challenges that faces the young Republic of T&T are so similar to that of the USA, that at times it is extremely difficult to tell the two countries apart except for the fact that one is the sole remaining superpower in the world, is much larger and has been around as an independent nation for over two hundred years .Now to what they have in common. These range from a large immigrant population as diverse people clamor to its shores in hopes of a better life. Crime is rampant throughout and many see links to the economic disparities and unequal distribution of wealth for all its citizens. The matter that stands out significantly however, is the matter of race and ethnicity and the failure by both countries to sit down and fully address the issues in an intelligent manner once and for all. There are think tanks and in-debt analysis on business, empowerment, crime, education, environment, justice, development and whatever the mind can envision, but this matter remains in the closet. Of course we all know why, but it is fun to try and spell it out nevertheless. The US has one fundamental advantage that we lack as a nation; it is called patriotism and an overwhelming love for nation that transcends race, economics or any unfortunate or negative history felt by it millions of citizens. Note carefully that the homeless, poverty stricken, maligned, and neglected, are no less patriotic than Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Oprah, or the Bushes and Clintons- if you catch my drift.

As anyone that is not a citizen from Mars well knows, Trinidad and Tobago is a relatively wealthy country of some 1.3 million people of all races and ethnicity. We are relatively peaceful people that were able to do an excellent job of combining the diverse cultures into our own unique brand, and the result is so wonderful that many across the world are simply taken aback at it results. We are proud of our foods, festivities and national celebrations. It is the latter, that was able in most part to keep a lid on some of the anger, hate and venom among some of our citizens as they are able to suppress some of their personal needs and wants in the quest for national common good even amidst deep pockets of disparities and obvious neglect. The last two decades has seen a drastic increase in crimes of a very violent nature that are threatening to shatter records of much larger and sometimes more complex nations. Unfortunately, the majority of the victims are made of the larger ethnic / racial groups that make up the state. In frustration, there can be seen much finger pointing and blame as to the causes of the crimes, and inability to find useful tangible solutions.

It was on the verge of one of our major historical celebration, Emancipation Day, that a couple of concerned citizens attempted to tackle some of the issues, one of which was gangs. One such organization was The Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with the Crime and Justice Committee. An individual with some responsibility for trying to fully analyze this massive problem was Inspector Randolph Boyce, the head of Gang/ Repeat Offenders Programme. He had an interesting theory as to the major causes of the gang culture that according to our resident eminent criminologist, Professor Ramesh Deosaran, accounted for the introduction of some 95 known gangs in our Republic. You can tell that the good Inspector did his research well in that he cited the usual suspects such as poverty, neglect, low self esteem, high school drop outs, and media glorification of gangsterism, and most importantly exploitation by educated elites -within some in and out of the some of the gang organizations -against those less fortunate members and citizens at the lower realm of the economic and social totem pole.

Now I am not going to go off on a rant here and knock the good Inspector or any of the well intentioned folks that decided to use Emancipation to address this serious problem simply because I believe that it was a veiled attempt to send some subtle message that perhaps 99.9 percent of the gangs and by extension violent crimes are comprised of and committed by citizens of the African decent. The reason is quite simple; you and I know it fully well to be a blatant untruth. After all, the person who drives the getaway car after a robbery is just as culpable for the robbery as the one that held the gun and demand the money. The multimillionaires that financed a major drug deal and use his container to bring the product in for sale at the micro levels by this gang banger is just as culpable. The religious, political and business leaders that encourage, finance, and manipulate desperate juveniles, and ex-cons to do the dirty shenanigans on that fateful day in 1990, as well as today, are just as dangerous as any common street gang and should be condemned in like fashion.

It is however only when real efforts are made to discuss race, ethnicity and historical anomalies and neglect within our country, that other pressing matters such as crimes and gangs can be fully dealt with. We can follow our North American cousins and wish the problem away as we pontificate about IQs, culture, power devoid of historical understanding about the wrongs that were afflicted upon a people, and still are as narrow minded elites from all sides of our racial and ethnic divides continue to mislead and deceive. There must also be fewer attempts aimed at demonizing a particular race for ills that dominate the nation. I want to see follow a redefinition of gangs from only the historically narrow pejorative one to a much wider inclusive parlance , as they can be manifested in all works of life be it business, religion, politics, and any other organization that come together with common identities. In conclusion, be informed however that no matter how skilled a horse may be, its progress can never be assured if it is impeded by the presence of a cart. Those with eyes to see must see, and ears to hear must hear. This I fervently believe.

Trinidad and Tobago News

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