Six-year-old Jodal Ramnath, who was gunned down on New Year’s Day in the Beetham Gardens, was possibly a young thug-in-training and a future scourge of Trinidad and Tobago’s society.
Or maybe Jodal would have grown up to be the next Calypso Monarch champion and serenade a sitting Prime Minister like Sugar Aloes. Or a beloved professional wrestler and actor like Mr T.
Or modelled himself after Bertille St Clair, who is the first coach to ever take Trinidad and Tobago to a FIFA World Cup. Or emulated Port of Spain mayor Raymond Tim Kee…
Well, three out of four positive gold-addicts isn’t bad.
What we can be sure about is how deeply uncomfortable John Public is about young black men—and especially those from depressed areas—showing a taste for something as ostentatious as gold jewellery. And when you feel unsettled enough by a photograph of a six-year-old child to wish harm on him, then maybe the problem is not the child.
Of course it is not exactly wise to show off trappings of wealth these days. And the fashion sense of the Ramnath household might not be everyone’s cup of tea—bearing in mind that, according to Jodal’s mother, the criticised photographs were the sum total of all the jewellery the boy could find in the house.
But surely a few silly photographs of a child—which should never have made it on to the social media—are insufficient evidence to judge Kedesha Ramnath’s suitability as a parent. Just like, for instance, a photo of you wining to the ground at a fete on a school night while Tanty babysits your own popos.
But then criticising parenting is never unfashionable.
Take Opposition Senator Wayne Sturge’s concern about the funding of Christian Garcia’s education.
Young Garcia, according to Sturge, was the recipient of over US$20,000 in wire transfers from PACE Construction owner Junior Joseph around the time that his father and current Udecott chairman Noel Garcia was head of the National Housing Authority (NHA) between 2002 and 2005.
PACE Construction, Sturge further alleged, was handpicked for various NHA projects during that same time frame.
“I don’t know what documentary evidence he has but I can say without fear of contradiction,” the senior Garcia told the Trinidad Guardian, “I called my wife and as far as we are aware I sacrificed, in fact both me and my wife sacrificed, to put both of our children through school.”
So, as far as Garcia is aware, contractors were not secretly paying for his son’s education. If ever there was a man on top of his household’s affairs, surely the Udecott boss is that man.
Basdeo Panday and Jack Warner, two former politicians who also had problems keeping up with their children’s going-ons and/or tuition bills, would surely sympathise.
But what about Sturge’s claim that he also had documentary evidence that Garcia allegedly gave Joseph instructions to put through a foreign wire transfer to his son?
“Does it have my signature?” Garcia asked. “I don’t recall that correspondence. I am not aware of me, Noel Garcia, issuing such instructions.
“I just find this thing to be utterly ridiculous.”
These are ridiculous times, Mr Garcia. Let he who can be certain that a contractor did not pay US$20,000 towards his child’s education—or that he did not specifically ask the contractor to do so—cast the first stone.
Mr Live Wire did not think so.
Besides, everyone knows how absent-minded Garcia can be. He even forgot to pop his head in at the Las Alturas enquiry, despite being HDC general manager at the time of the scandalous TT$26 million project.
Clearly the ability to remember one’s own possible role in scandalous and immoral transactions is not a prerequisite for State office. As it was, so shall it be, we suppose.
Something funny happened at Sturge’s press conference. His cell phone went off and the ring tone was not Machel Montano’s “Party Done” or even Cloud 5’s “No Behaviour.”
It was Bounty Killer’s “Lodge.”
Mr Live Wire remembers the song well: “My gun don’t join lodge and it don’t join church/ Disrespect me somebody must lie down (in the) dirt/Give we no talk, to kill is Junglist work…”
It turned out to be a great ice breaker at Sturge’s press conference and there were giggles all around. TV6 played the clip in its “Say What” segment.
It probably would not have been so funny if that was Kedesha Ramnath’s ring tone though. But then when it comes to residents in depressed areas, many a local citizen becomes as cold and ruthless as Ferguson police officers.
There will be no street protest against the inadequate security afforded to residents in areas like Beetham, which might have contributed to Jodal’s untimely passing. But then it is not as if he got turned away from Aria on a Friday night.
If only Trinidad and Tobago could export convenient forgetfulness and hypocrisy. We would finally be free from our dependency on oil and gas.
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Thank you Charmaine!
Why can’t e see that for what it maybe….a kid in jest putting on all the gold his parents have and having a pic taken
His last sentence says it all
R.I.P MY CONDOLENCES TO THE FAMILLY I AM A MOTHER SO I FEEL PAIN LETS PRAY FOR PEACE.
Live wire you couldn’t be more precise, you are bang on target here
Awesome article. That’s without doubt the final word on the issue. Congrats
Pictures says a thousand words .
Children lives what learn .
I am trying to understand what the issue is here. A child was shot and killed! What he wears in a photo that probably shouldn’t have been used is null and void. He was a child. So what if the photo was in poor taste? He is not holding a gun is he? This is a young life that was snuffed out. That should be the issue. The unnecessary violence.
Well done. Well written. I have nothing more to add. It says it all. Thanks
When you go after people children you would have broken all human rules. I have no brief for Garcia, but the man family. That is wrong. Nothing is wright about that. 5 years latter. sad.
Wouldn’t expect you to force your opinion down anyone’s throat.
The greatest value to commentary is the thought and debate it provokes.
You do a good job of generating both with your work. Even when you’re completely wrong on the issue and I have tedious task of showing how wrong you are.
Just teasing, just teasing!
Thanks Chabeth. I like to leave it up to readers to interpret points in their own way. All I ask is they approach it with an open mind.
If I saw the topic in the same way as everyone else, I wouldn’t bother to write on that subject.
No. We can’t force people.
But intelligent commentary and artful juxtaposition can help people rethink the issue at hand which is a start.
Cool. We discriminate all the time: clothes we wear, things we buy etc. if we want more attention to the inequalities and perceived lack of outrage we can’t try to force people in a sense of urgency when they see institutions failing before their very eyes and may feel helpless. We may need to target and attack the causes of such inequalities.
What I took away from the addendum Keston is the discrimination that we (as a national community) employ in choosing what incidents we allow to spark us to protest.
But the article is a literary text and as with all literary texts, there will be differing interpretations, some of which may not even be in line with what the author intended.
But that’s what I got out of the addendum.
Thanks for the tip.
What is commentary? A set of jumbled words that don’t make a particular sense. Or as series of points to make a coherent argument. Not saying the argument has to be true or serious or have any particular tone. Even satire has a logic as opposed to ‘the logic’ (as there isn’t one type of logic) which evokes laughter and comic relief.
“when you feel unsettled enough by a photograph of a six-year-old child to wish harm on him, then maybe the problem is not the child” indeed…
All hail logic.
It is not a straight news report or commentary Keston. But I won’t force the issue with you, as you seem to be bristling as it is.
Not really. I don’t don’t think I need to be able to respond to logic in your addendum note.
You don’t read the Live Wire column much Keston?
Not even police or security could go in the area without local escort
Please help me understand the need to compare this and the discriminatory practice of a capitalist establishment.
Remember Darryl Heeralal’s insensitive comments after a mother and two children were knocked down near Sea Lots: http://wired868.com/2013/02/25/cabbage-patch-kid-buries-self-with-sea-lots-post/
Mr. Live Wire take WIN!!! “If only Trinidad and Tobago could export convenient forgetfulness and hypocrisy. We would finally be free from our dependency on Oil and Gas” ….Priceless statement but absolutely TRUE!!!.
Fact check Mr. Livewire. It was not Roodal Moonilal who needed to look at how his child’s education was paid for not Jack Warner.
I was referring to what Daryan and Daryll were getting up to flying around the globe to collect suitcases of money and their money laundering schemes.
Moonilal would have been a totally different example. 😉
Lasana Liburd the example of Moonilal seems more on point since he like Garcia had declared he paid for his child’s education only to be embarrassed later. The co relation seems more direct.
Yes. You might be right Michele. It just wasn’t at the top of my mind at the time of writing. Panday was first.
If we can’t find sympathy in our hearts for a six year old boy killed by a stray bullet…
It is extremely disheartening that as a society we pick and choose who to extend our sympathy to. We will never be privy to the type parenting and the home this young man came from yet still we reduce his death to something that was bound to happen.Regardless of what was depicted in that photograph, no one deserves to die in the manner in which he did, certainly not a six year old. Shouldn’t all lives matter????
One of your best!
That last paragraph tho. Classic.!! Love the way u write man. Kudos.
Investigate all corrupt people and prosecute all found guilty to the full extent of the law, regardless of party or position.
That is the right thing to do.
Yuh think womantra would protest outside the oval or at the airport because of Gayle’s blushing comments to Mel ?!??!??
Very well said…..
Garcia was not a politician. Kamla was our Prime Minister and her investigation should take priority
We take what information we have and deal with whoever we can. If there is evidence right now about Garcia or Marlene, why wait?
So you dont have the information on the NP Contract? If I recall there were 2 investigations. One by the former Minister of Energy Caroline Seepersad who was surreptitiously removed and the matter taken over by Anand Ramgoolam. The information is there in public. So we forgetting that? Just so!
Clyde, follow all information. I couldn’t care less about which party it is.
How practical it is to follow all at the sane time? Dont you see what will happen? And given our deficiency with probes, what do you expect?
If you go to the police to report an assault Clyde and the officer says there is a bit of a queue so come back in five years, would you say fair enough?
So nobody should report anything now until they are finished dealing with Kamla?
Let’s just say that I am unconvinced by that reasoning.
I was just indicating that there should be priorities. Remember UNC had all of 5 years to probe these. Why didnt they? It is now in the domain of the PNM to probe what happened after 2010
It isn’t in the domain of the PNM at all. It is in the domain of the police and the integrity commission. All we can ask is that the PNM is respectful of such investigations and act appropriately with whatever verifiable information comes to light.
I agree Lasana
I guess Maxie Cuffie has provided an adequate piece to this conversation
No. I cannot, you know. I cannot go through another 5 years of “dem did it too”. If there is a suspicion of wrongdoing in office – from any administration – it should be investigated.
We forget Kamla spent 6 months by Gopaul and the $40M Contract with NP in 2010 but we want to remember 2003.
This article is the most brilliant piece of commentary that has come out of TT in years, I find.
“There will be no street protest against the inadequate security afforded to residents in areas like Beetham, which might have contributed to Jodal’s untimely passing. But then it is not as if he got turned away from Aria on a Friday night.
If only Trinidad and Tobago could export convenient forgetfulness and hypocrisy. We would finally be free from our dependency on oil and gas.”
If I can recall correctly, in one of the daily newspapers ,his grandmother spoke of his love for animals and his aspirations to be a vet however, we have reduced this young man’s death as though it was destined to happened based on a photograph??!! Have we really become so callous that we pick and choose who we extend our sympathy to?
Poverty is hell…
As for Garcia…well, well, well. This answer sound like it came from a nervous schoolboy caught during recess.
This is a big one!!
If ever there was a bumbling explanation…
Look at material you gettin in d first 6 days of d year. Cherish it yes oui.
You have me twisting & turning Lasana, how I goin’ an’ sleep now?
I’ve never seen so many write ups fly in one week. There’s one time when the drought was worst than the one in Africa
What do you think about the issues at hand Kathryn?
Though Mr Live Wire has a point re ppl in oppressed areas being condemned, perhaps an assessment should be done to determine if parent needs some parenting guide. Why wouls a six year old have earings etc?.
If there was a parenting guide, we probably would all fail one test or the other though.
I noted that both ears were pierced and had studs in them too. I wouldn’t have done that.
But I won’t condemn everything that I wouldn’t do. And I won’t say they looked for the boy’s death as a result.
I know you didn’t say that and I’m sure you don’t feel that way. But I do feel the criticism is overboard.
Perhaps overboard. Well in the ‘normal’ parenting guide, giving your daughter candy late at night is a fail, but preparing your child for failure by doctrinating them to a certain lifestyle is cause for concern not so?
I am emotional. A child has been killed, its hard enough to accept that, but harder now so much has been brought out in this not so innocent picture. His expression is old beyond his years,.what do we read in it? Playing with heavy gold like beads/peas in a carnival costume. We take it apart, ask all these questions, dig deep because there is a truth in there we must address. It seems so wrong to me to be picking this little child’s life apart..but I am. And what I’m thinking is scaring me awake.
What lifestyle are they indoctrinating him into though Nicholas? I am trying not to make assumptions you see.
Children love flashy things. If the child sees mommy and daddy and whoever in big jewellery and begged to wear it, I don’t necessarily see it as something that isn’t innocent.
I don’t know if the jewellery is legitimately owned or not. But in the absence of knowledge of that, I don’t see why I shouldn’t give the family the benefit of the doubt.
I just feel it is one of those things where we should be careful not to cast aspersions without proper knowledge. Suppose we are wrong? And we are insensitively a criticising a grieving mom who worked hard for her jewellery?
We might think it is of questionable taste. But that doesn’t mean the boy didn’t have all his schoolbooks and wasn’t well taken care of otherwise.
Lasana Liburd the family said they have receipts for the jewels. Big difference. I have never, ever, kept a receipt for any valuable personal purchase, a painting which was possibly my biggest personal investment. Why would I? How
Sorry, rambling..probably not what you were asking of me.
Kathryn, I understand in areas like the Beetham when the police raid, they sometimes help themselves to whatever you might have in your house.
Receipts are often protection against corrupt lawmen.
Yup…so far, we don’t deal with that. Different worlds.
Lasana its one thing to dress up a child in your jewelry that your purchased from hard money eh, and in the absence of all the details you cant really say but the fact that the childs both ears were pierced suggest a more serious picture….not so?
They won’t have to dress the child up. The child would beg to dress in a way he sees the adult dress.
As an adult male Nicholas, my ears are not pierced. It just never was my thing. Some people like it.
I see some girls at that boy’s age already have their hair straightened. I’m actually even more uneasy about that than this boy having earrings.
In any case, I don’t like the earrings and I don’t like seeing five and six year old girls getting their hair straightened.
It won’t happen in my home. But I can’t call the mother a bad parent or wish harm on them simply because of either.
That’s my take on it.
But how is a child dressed im gold very much difderent thwn daddy buying brand new Maserati having it crash and repurchasing brand new one weeka after? What are we judging here what kind of thief or bandit we assume the young man may have grown to be? Is the discussion avout what colour collar he would wear to work? If so then the discussion is missing the real tragedy. … at least a discussion exists. …….unfortunately we only discuss thinfs in Trinidad. …or protest if they going to ban carnival
Marvin Wiley Very good point
Well said Marvin.
My problem in this pic is not the gold but the pose of the child. However I agree this shouldn’t be picked apart since the child was still that , a child and died an innocent death far apart from where and how he lived, RIP
Good points all around. The little boy has a look of a much older person. As though he has seen stuff not many 6 year olds would have been expose to based on the picture. I do believe however this isn’t an uncommon thing here in T&T presently. We have seen news reports of secondary youths bringing weapons, drugs and having sex acts in school. Having said that where is the back up for these lost children who don’t have proper guidance? Such as other family members, principals, police, social workers who I think should be going into the areas where these at risk children are at and assess there situation. Videos have appeared all over social media showing youths ganging up on another and none of them including the parents have paid a penalty of any sort I’m sure. So what does that say? Well to me it says what I did was correct on either side of the fence parent and child. We are in a sad state and heading down a terrible path. My two cents
nicely honest, Kathryn.
Marvin Wiley so true. Every word.
Brian Manswell we need to own up to all high risk areas. The masarati story from Marvin is real & just as worrisome, because lost & left behind youth have the power over us to do great harm, getting away totally. The planass kid wiho still eh pay for his doubles showed no remorse, tried & lied his ugly behavior away with racist undertones & daddies overtones.
I didn’t say that the fool who commits a crime no matter who he or she be not get prosecuted. Also racial divide did not start today also and it needs to be stopped. Having said that this is so deep within our society it’ll be a tough ask for change. We do have a difficult task ahead of us. Most if not all of us even know where to start if we are honest.
Brian, I agreed with you. I do again. Where to begin? We are so lost in so many ways.
I think a good starting point is to remember that every life is precious. The woman lost a six year old. If I lost my five year old daughter and people were mocking my loss because of a Facebook photo, I shudder to think about what my response would be to my “fellowmen” after that.
Some people are very open in their disgust for certain classes of people. Every action has a reaction.