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Senator Ramchand Must Come Better
Posted: Saturday, August 14, 2004

By Stephen Kangal

The extreme positions contained within Clevon Raphael’s interview based on the utterances of Independent Senator Ramchand (Sunday Guardian, Aug. 8, p.7) may have bordered on impugning the intelligence of the discriminating Guardian readership. How can you inflict such garbled, paranoid, meaningless verbiage on your paying customers?

Does a senatorial like the current ministerial appointments constitute a passport or a conduit to say anything and everything however unconvincing, exaggerated and erroneous? Where is this "sea wall" which Ramchand wants to walk on? Guyana? He should be charged for admitting to violations of traffic light regulations.

Who gave the impression to Mr. Ramchand that the royal "we" agreed with the violence of the Iraqi invasion? The international community including the United Nations was powerless to do anything to prevent the human carnage in Iraq that took place on both sides. The loss of priceless relics and artifacts of human civilisation is of secondary concern in the face of the catastrophic loss of innocent lives.

I take umbrage on behalf of NGO’s, local Moslem groups and individuals including the writer and several other writers who articulated their opposition via demonstrations and letters to the print media, to Ramchand’s accusation that we all collectively condoned the atrocities visited and being visited on the innocent sisters and brothers of Islam in Iraq. Did Senator Ramchand utter a statement in the Senate or get the GORTT to issue a Statement on the Iraqi situation hitherto? Where is his credibility? Did he himself as an Independent Senator utter a word against the Coalition invasion on the potential catastrophic effects on the impending invasion and now pretends to be holier than thou?

If the criminals had in fact deprived, God forbid the worthy Senator of "his right to life" he would now be deceased. Therefore his claim to the exercise of his liberty (not being in jail without due process of law literally) and enjoyment of his property (no unlawful expropriation) would be immaterial. The Senator must also recognise and take into account the hallowed legal principle of "due process" in a democratic, law-based system of governance especially in his capacity as a lawmaker himself. Who is prepared to give the police carte blanche powers (suspension of human rights) ostensibly to deal with crime when they have clearly demonstrated their pathological inability to protect and serve us. I see COP Paul has invoked Ramchand’s own willingness to surrender his fundamental rights and to deduce that he may be speaking for all of us in this regard.

The current hordes of criminals do not listen to radios while scouting for their next prey. If I am to extend his false deductive spin on cricket imagery then "short-pitched bouncers", ‘savage square cuts", "blades" etc evoke and entrench aggressive conduct and a culture of violence in the spectators. One does not have to possess a Ph. D to appreciate the fallacy of the linkage. One must see the forests and not be diverted by the trees.

I resent the imputation that "we are all looking for the next murder. We are inured to violence…." For us the loss of human life is not a pastime about which we are indifferent. That is not the heart of the T&T that I live in- the hearts of the grieving mothers, families, communities and churches.

To suggest that we Trinbagonians will degenerate into becoming a "brutal people" is gross exaggeration. The vast majority of Trinbagonians will remain civilised, caring and humane in spite of the daily carnage and hemorrhaging within the brutal drug underworld. Less than 10% will be in the lawless fringe and this might well constitute the global average.

This myth being peddled around about loss of liberty, breakdown of family life and of the education system, lack of a "national spirit" must be demonstrated empirically and not invoked in careless, cavalier, off-the-shelf fashion. This is an unfortunate, orchestrated assault on the continuing integrity and deep- seated value systems endemic in our multiculturalism. There may be some shortcomings in the education system but not so widespread or deep to be described as being in a state of collapse. The education system by itself is not generating the genre of deviance and criminality that is responsible for our siege mentality. Evil, insatiable greed, animalism, the "get rich quick syndrome" and unbridled parasitism have fled to some brutish beasts in human form and these men have lost their human compunctions.

The direct nexus of this orchestrated myth with the current crime pandemic being prosecuted, according to Minister Joseph by a few criminal elements, must be clearly established and not be based on senatorial speculation. What are the 10,000 guards doing to say nothing of the bloated private security industry to defend and serve us after dispensing millions of blues? How can the criminals be better organised, better equipped than our security forces? Will the creation of the post of a Deputy COP upgrade our intelligence gathering when Brigadier Joseph’s outfit with a substantial budget and the ace of the Army has failed to deliver from his radical promotion and we are worse off? This is a case when a Deputy is not essential.

I fail to grasp the heavy reliance being placed on this census- proposal- antidote to rampant crime. If you want to know who lives where in T&T access TSTT and T&TEC databases. The ubiquitous criminals however are mobile, car stealing, cellular and police connected and camouflaged with no fixed place of abode in the no-go "hot spots". Are we going to do away with the right to privacy/ a man’s home is his castle and treat us all law-abiding as potential and actual criminals according to the gospel of Ramchand that says that we are all guilty and must prove our innocence.

According to National Security Minster Joseph "… 18 police station districts out of a total of 62 police station districts are responsible for 65% of the crime." He further stated: " We have a small band of people who are giving us hell but we will beat them back." However I disagree that "…when you viciously murder a law enforcement officer in such a cold and callous manner…you have crossed the line…" The criminals crossed the line and are unleashing murder and mayhem incrementally quite some time ago with impunity.

Senator Ramchand then advances a convoluted and foreign-used "county" idea based on a one way entrance/exit network, differentiated county number- plates and the ubiquitous cameras not subject to vandalisation. We are then misled into believing that an operation conducted over a large "county" area is similar to the miniscule Camp Ogden military-style operation. So it works?

How many thousands of vehicles move each hour speedily from County St. George to Caroni County and vice versa via the Butler Highway? Will the Senator close down the Old Southern Main Road, the Golden Grove, Mausica Road etc entrances to Caroni County?

We do not need an exorbitantly priced census to find the ‘Jep nests" if there are "bachac nests". Current crime statistics/police records quoted above and every Tom, Dick and Harrylal can tell you the "hot spots", drug dens etc by the touch of a button. The political and police will to arrest kidnappings must be there.

What is this fixation with a census when we had a revealing expensive one finalized in 2000?

I am certain that the veteran Senator must have felt very disappointed with his own lack-lustre performance while reading it on Sunday morning last. Or did brother Clevon misquote him out of context?

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