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STREET VIBE: Doh get tie up! All ah we is guana family as far as the police is concerned!

“Unfortunately, the issue of the dying iguanas is symptomatic of the challenges we face in society. It matters little if the issue is one involving iguanas or non-functional CT scanners, which are merely symptomatic of our dysfunctional health care system, where billions are being spent: crime and gang warfare, bullying in school, missing young women, domestic violence, workers waiting for years for gratuity and/or back pay, the inability to diversify the economy, taxation or any other of the myriad social issues.

“No one is ultimately held responsible as the buck is passed from the abuser to the abused, where victims are basically told, ‘Yuh look for that’.”

The following Letter to the Editor which deals with the state of policing in the nation was submitted to Wired868 by Rudy Chato Paul, Sr, of D’Abadie:

Photo: An iguana. (Copyright Pantanalescapes)
Photo: An iguana.
(Copyright Pantanalescapes)

All that is wrong with our people and, by extension, our society can be seen in the daily headlines which, to all intents and purposes, briefly describe the degrees of ridiculousness with which we are confronted.

For example, not so long ago one headline told about an ex-Regiment member caught with five iguanas. The supporting pictures showed the iguanas, like common criminals, “hands tied behind their backs.”

The reason the individual was arrested was simple enough: hunting season was closed. This is quite understandable and the enforcement of the law was, up until that point, quite reasonable.

Common sense should dictate that, after pictures of the animals were taken as evidence, the iguanas should have been released. After all, since the season was closed, these animals should have been allowed to roam free. Instead, a recent story informed us that the five iguanas died the very same day while being held at the police station. A safe guess is that they were still “tied up.”

Didn’t anyone at the police station anticipate the death of these animals? Did the arresting officer and/or any of his colleagues expect these animals to be held as evidence until the case is resolved? Are we to believe that these officers of the law have no idea how the courts in this land operate?

Aside from those assigned to deal with the dogs and the horses, officers are not trained to take care of animals. Why weren’t these animals released once the photographs necessary for evidence purposes had been taken?

Photo: Police apprehend a young man in Los Angeles. Lawmen are perhaps trained to deal with little black boys and the Canine and Mounted Branches are certainly trained to deal with dogs and horses respectively. But are any policemen trained to deal with animals? (Copyright Channel4.com)
Photo: Police apprehend a young man in Los Angeles. Lawmen are perhaps trained to deal with little black boys and the Canine and Mounted Branches are certainly trained to deal with dogs and horses respectively. But are any policemen trained to deal with animals?
(Copyright Channel4.com)

One would think that the basic assumption behind the arrest of the offender was the intention of saving the animals.  Was this objective achieved? Or was the arrest of the individual merely for cosmetic and/or statistical purposes?

I am reminded of a police story I heard as a little boy in the early 1960’s. A man was arrested and charged with stealing a bunch of green bananas. He was held for about a week or two before the case came up. When it came up before the magistrate and the evidence was presented, the bananas had ripened. The case had to be dismissed; he had been charged with stealing “green bananas,” not ripe ones.

Fast forward to 2017 and we have the case of the iguanas dying while in police custody. Another possibly equally plausible scenario exists. Did the five iguanas “die” or were they put out of their misery in preparation for a late-night cook for which several police stations are well known?

Unfortunately, the issue of the dying iguanas is symptomatic of the challenges we face in society. It matters little if the issue is one involving iguanas or non-functional CT scanners, which are merely symptomatic of our dysfunctional health care system, where billions are being spent: crime and gang warfare, bullying in school, missing young women, domestic violence, workers waiting for years for gratuity and/or back pay, the inability to diversify the economy, taxation or any other of the myriad social issues.

No one is ultimately held responsible as the buck is passed from the abuser to the abused, where victims are basically told, “Yuh look for that.”

Photo: Then Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley enjoys himself during Carnival 2015. Did his partner choose wisely?
Photo: Then Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley enjoys himself during Carnival 2015. Did his partner choose wisely?

“Choose yuh man wisely!” The words are different but the message is the same.

I have argued previously that Trinidad and Tobago has much larger issues to address than the issue of dealing with crime, bullying, health, disappearing persons, etc. Two that come immediately to mind are these: (1) The issue of trust and (2) The poor work ethic.

It is widely recognized that we lack basic trust in each other, especially where the issue of crime is concerned. So, to whom do law-abiding citizens turn when in need of assistance, when the only agency with the mandate to enforce the laws cannot be trusted?

A case in point is Government’s knee-jerk reaction to construct a police station or police post in Enterprise, the “hottest hot spot.”  The authorities fail to recognise that a police post on every property will amount to zero advance on the crime-solving scene, simply on the ground that the people do not trust the police.

Until they do recognise that, we are all no different from the five iguanas, waiting to be freed or dying at the hands of those whose jobs require that we remain liberated. The question then becomes this: Is the existence of  these challenges accidental or intentional?

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Marisa Dick (centre) was accompanied by five police officers at the Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation (TTGF) press conference on 20 April 2016 at the Chamber of Commerce in Westmoorings. But can we trust them to protect ALL of us? (Courtesy Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Marisa Dick (centre) was accompanied by five police officers at the Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation (TTGF) press conference on 20 April 2016 at the Chamber of Commerce in Westmoorings. But can we trust them to protect ALL of us?
(Courtesy Wired868)

About Rudy Chato Paul Sr

Rudy Chato Paul, Sr, is passionate about gardening, music and writing and boasts post-graduate certification in Anthropology, Criminology and Sociology. He also studied Theology, which is why he is actively seeking to make Trinidad a better place rather than waiting for divine intervention. 

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4 comments

  1. The ‘guanas’ would have been kept at the Police Station and handed over to the Forest Ranger or Game Warden, who would have been responsible for the proper release of the animals. The animals would have been loosed and kept in an enclosure – not left tied.

    The animals would have been weak and injured (due to the method used for capture and being tied up and kept in a knapsack with little air and no water). The Officers who made the arrest, did so based on their passion for the protection of the animals, and therefore would not have ill-treated them but would have done their best to give them a chance to survive. Unfortunately, based on the animals’ state of health due to their traumatic experience, they could not have been saved.

    To this point, there is no evidence of police wrong doing….to this point.

  2. Earl Best

    I warn yuh already, Rudy, I passin yuh straight like a full bus when I see you in public. What you suggesting with this parting line: “The question then becomes this: Is the existence of these challenges accidental or intentional?”

    Remember Dana, brother, remember Dana!

  3. Earl Best

    I can hear Nelson singing it already; “All ah we is guana family.” Can you?