Ryan report on Laventille crime: Dagger aimed at POS’ belly

By Richard Lord – March 23, 2013

Selwyn RyanGovernment is being warned to do “whatever is necessary” to silence the guns in the hands of the criminal element in Laventille. If those carrying the guns are allowed to run rampant, they could eventually train those guns on the capital city itself.

This was one of the recommendations of the Cabinet-appointed Youth At Risk Committee, which was chaired by Dr Selwyn Ryan, professor emeritus of political science at the University of the West Indies’ St Augustine campus.

Other members of the committee were lecturer in international relations, Department of Behavioural Sciences Dr Indira Rampersad; professor of gender and cultural Studies Patricia Mohammed; former dean of the arts and general studies at UWI Dr Marjorie Thorpe; and Independent Senator Dr Lennox Bernard.

The report has also recommended the establishment of a national service scheme “in the shortest possible time.” It said the service should consist of “compulsory community-based project/service learning for secondary school students (for a minimum of 40 contact hours).”

The 436-page report, titled: No Time to Quit: Engaging Youth At Risk, was laid in the House of Representatives by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar yesterday. She said the report recommended the use of sport to deal with the problem of crime.

Persad-Bissessar said her Government fully endorsed recommendations for an investment in sport as a deterrent to juvenile crime, and this was proven by the immense success of the Hoop for Life community basketball tournament for teams in depressed communities across the country.

Dealing with crime, the report said: “Greater Laventille has made a distinctive contribution to the national culture and must be rehabilitated and helped to rise again.”

The report also listed another “compelling” reason to resuscitate East Port-of-Spain, which the Ryan Committee said it has to do with the “strategic location” of the community.

“Laventille, one is warned, is like the ‘dagger’ pointed at the ‘soft underbelly’ of the capital city, and it would be irresponsible and negligent for those responsible for strategic planning to ignore the possibility that Laventille could in time be the weak link in the urban chain,” the committee wrote.

“One thus (therefore) has to do whatever is necessary to ‘silence the guns’ of Dorata Street, Laventille, Beverly Hills and John John amongst others,” the report recommended.

The report indicated that the young African males in urban hot spots such as Laventille were more at risk of being directly caught in the criminal world of drugs, guns and deadly violent crime if something was not done immediately to stem the problem.

Nevertheless, according to the document: “The problem is that Laventille and its diaspora is now more a matter of class than one of race.”

It said the National Security Minister must also go after the “big ones” who imported guns and illicit drugs into Laventille.

And the report also recommended changes to the Teaching Service Commission, saying it should be restructured and renamed the Educational Service Commission.

The report said this ESC should be responsible for recruiting, selecting and reviewing personnel at higher levels of the education service—principals and vice principals—and should be relieved of interviewing, which could be done by the Education Ministry.

On education:

The report also recommended new attention should be given to raising the quality of the teaching profession, which must become a national policy.

• All teachers should be certified and licensed by a regulatory body of teachers and other educational specialists called the National Council for Professional Standards in Teaching (NCPST).

• The NCPST licence should be awarded for two periods of five years each with an initial application after a year of internship.

• Teachers should be able to renew their licences for a second five-year period, after which they would become tenured.

Other recommendations:

• The Youth Training Centre in Arouca “should not be staffed by prison officers but individuals specially trained in youth development and sensitive to the objectives of the YTC.”

• A card calling system should be instituted at correctional institutions to reduce the illegal use of mobile phones.

• Drug treatment courts should be established in the shortest possible time.

For parents:

• Industrial law should allow parents to visit the child’s school to consult with the teacher for one or two hours a month.

• National Parent/Teacher Association should re-examine its role in education of children and give credence to its efficacy and advocacy based on strong pedagogical principles.


3 thoughts on “Ryan report on Laventille crime: Dagger aimed at POS’ belly”

  1. Ryan’s report on Education in particular can be perceived as an attack on the Teaching profession. His emphasis on evaluation and tenure of teachers implies that there is a certain degree of incompetence within the profession. Although this may be true, attacking the teaching profession serves no useful purpose. One cannot launch an attack on teachers without considering the context in which they work.
    They are confined within an archaic system of education, actually perpetuated by Ryan himself, probably because of his success within that very system.
    The 2011 Census provided some very valuable data on student success which is being ignored by all. The question is why are so many students failing at all educational levels?
    Teachers and parents cannot shoulder all of the blame for these dismal results. Who’s left? The students? They also cannot accept full blame for their high failure rate.
    The system, beginning with the dreaded, entrance exams to secondary schools, needs to be totally revolutionized.
    Research in multiple jurisdictions have shown exactly what Ryan concludes “ that low academic achievers were at risk of being “disruptive, dropping out of school, becoming unemployable, being uninterested in any form of meaningful learning and engaging in deviant behaviors.”
    Ryan’s solution for this problem is inadequate. He recommends the improvement of teacher quality. He should be recommending a system which provides resources for the early identification of at risk students, programs to cater to and treat the learning problems of disabled and disadvantaged learners and in service training of teachers to deliver the necessary instruction.

  2. Terrible report Ryan failed to impress in this report.Personally I think he lack dept. The report simply highlighted what everyone already knew. What I can say is that it was a good effort. Reports are intended to stimulate discussion not stifle ideas that may seem slanted in a particlar direction. The gang culture is an established trend in family structures and must now be regarded as part of the family makeup in Trinidad. This did not arise suddenly but through the absent father syndrome.

    Ryan report should have presented a pathway towards ending the single parenting structure or creating a family support fraternity that targets single parenting. The root causes cannot be addressed at the barrel of a gun.

  3. “..He should be recommending a system which provides resources for the early identification of high risk students?”
    T Man , ‘me think ,’that you have spent too much time in dem Canadian cold weathers, or perhaps is sipping ,an over abundance of their sugar laced , Maple syrup ,which obviously , is now affecting Your mental faculties. What next , mi amigo , you seek recommendations, for a system which would identify potential suicide victims, which occur too frequently within certain , unmentionable enclaves in our T&T?
    The still respected Social Scientist , now Professor Emeritus , in Dr Ryan ,only used up what , maybe 60 years of his life ,teaching , so who should I trust more , him ,you , or your gleeful Education Minister? Give it a rest , and focus on issues you know much more about, eeeh?
    Sorry, but you eradicate high risk student tendencies,by creating level playing fields socio – economic justice, across our nation ,as a whole.
    How about halting the insipid practice of political discrimination , as well as confronting , and or discouraging tribal elites, disguised as religiously motivated ,cultural actions?
    Just think where you would be today if dem Padres, and Nuns in your glorified RC school ,had extended to you , what some think is justified by Sat Maraj and company ,to kids , of Kinky head Nation,’ along with their extremely brave , caring Principal , in in Ms. Sita Gajadharsingh-Nanga,of Tunapuna Hindu School.
    Ain’t this funny , even to a fan like you ,T-Man?
    “Gopeesingh also defended his handling of the situation, reiterating that from the very outset, the Education Ministry did not have a direct role in the matter.”


    Ummmmhummmm , and that Roman bandit ,call Pontius Pilot , ain’t have nada on you , as he too ,washed his hands / absolved his conscience , and as a consequence , placed all the blame on dem Jews ,for crucifying one of their own, huh?
    What this women , and her students ,had to endure over this trying period , she deserves a Nobel prize, or better yet ,some UNited Ntions humanitarian / Human Rights award.
    As a matter of fact , I just might just be tempted to put her name on my short list , and start a petition , towards that end, via my Empowerment Foundation/ Initaitives. Stand by MS Sita, your efforts will be acknowledge , and so we might be able to inveigle other committed folks to step up , and make a difference , in terms of blatant injustice.
    Just think T-Man , our expat elite , where your cross country , much adored ,running champion daughter would be , if she too ,was treated that way by the pro Right wing fraction ,of de Toronto , anti immigrant , Teaching board , and told , no non -Europeans ,allowed.
    Yeah we do , for as my extremely wise , Tobago granny , would often say to her picky head son ,”do so ain’t like so ,” ehhh, T-Man?
    In similar fashion, a political hero’s daughter , finished law school in England on Monday , hopped on a plane on Tuesday, ran for office in Oropuche Trinidad , on Wednesday ,and was swooned in to office as a glorified MP ,on Tursday, as she ,and a grateful papa , swig a drink , in one of the local bars , with eastatic fans , stuck in poverty, on Friday. Oh , by de way ,since you always have de inside Zeppo , on certain domestic affairs, is that ‘magmaminous Clico guy , name Duprey,’ going to end up in the soon to be constructed prison, now that Crarera, is condemned ,T-Man?
    Care to name , one single piece of legislation , or act of worth , the young lady , turned politician ,might have contributed to our society as a whole , since she was the beneficiary of such blatant nepotism?
    However , I digress, papa Ryan , a well respected ,lifetime educator , is out of place , according to you ,to make a comment , or draw any conclusion – erroneous or not- on educational affairs in his country , since he must be a PNM stooge ,who benefit immensly ,from an unfair system, adopted in full , since white Massa departed, and did I get that correct?
    The audacity of you morally unsound folks!
    I luv this land , and have repeatedly said the self serving , cretins ,that can make me do otherswise , ain’t born yet! Your call T- Man, but let me again warn you folks – T&T became a mess, because of us all efforts, be it Afrikans, Indians, Chinese, Europeans , and the excitable ,swing voting hodgepodge ,ethnic, cross tribal/ mixed race ,compilations.
    It would likewise take all hands on deck ,to rectify same. I’ll give your Social Psycologist expert ,turn lifetime Senator ,Dr Ramesh Deosaran views ,as much credence ,as I would , our two astute educators , in the Dr Ryans.
    I love Lovelace’s The Dragon Can’t Dance , Michael Anthony’s A year in SanFernando , to the same degree, as I love to read Mieguel Street, or Samuel Selvon Lonely Londoners.
    Dr Wayne Kablalsingh, is just as important to T&T’s development , because he went to Oxford, London School of Economic , or Sandhurst. as such , he ain’t more of an activist , than some Rasta head , pro Muslim blokes ,from Lavantille , or Beetham – simply because the latter ,has to resort to different tactics, went to a suddenly maligned ,local educational institutions,or still choose to live in neighborhoods, overriden with gangbangers.
    ‘ You Allzs ,’ need to quit lambasting folks ,simply because they did not initially emerge from your own , ancestral lands ,gene pool,T-Man!
    Say after me , since you are now busy learning , god save de Quuen of England ,for your upcomming ,citizenship swearing in ceremony. ‘Every creed , and race , finds an equal place!’It ,ain’t a catch phrase.Thousand died , trying to chase out white Massa from our land, and was fervently behind our FOunding Father Papa Eric Williams , to ensure they go, as we moved on to trying to formulate our concept of a thriving democracy. By the way , in the process of achoeing this , we did not murder millions of indeginious folks ,like folks from certain of your much adored ,unmentionable, European enclaves,Si?
    Ain’t life grand people?

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