If there had been a power outage in Port of Spain two Fridays ago, the energy from 3Canal’s Carnival 2017 launch could have lighted up the city.
Likewise, the energy of the crowds flocking to the panyards Tuesday last, which were the largest I have ever seen, could have lighted the whole island. I will return to these two events a little later.
Unfortunately, to dim momentarily those bright lights, it is necessary to return to the subject of the utterances of the failed Acting Police Commissioner, Mr Stephen Williams.
At first I thought that not one stick, but two had broken in his ears. Regrettably my diagnosis must be more severe. There is at present some pathology—a word related to pathetic—that makes him unable to understand how intense is the failure of the police service.
He has denied that we are in a crisis and has engaged in a dispute about whether the fifty odd murders in the recently concluded month of January made it the “bloodiest” month.
Bloody, bloodier or one of the bloodiest, what difference does a minuscule alleged difference in the numbers make to the fact of the almost complete impunity with which murders are committed?
The new spin is that the public is “scapegoating” the police but whatever the broader societal responsibility for the violence breeding conditions in the society, the murderers must be caught, apprehended and brought to trial. That is the job of the police and they are simply not performing it.
Most of us commentators have long ago acknowledged that the deplorable socio-economic conditions in which some youngsters grow up require urgent attention but many of the artistes performing in the two cultural events mentioned in my opening paragraph have come out of less than stable circumstances. That is why not properly appreciating their accomplishments retards progressive social development thinking.
Another aspect of the excuses is to refer to the administration of justice, but those failures have already been acknowledged. As expressly stated in this column, the administration of criminal justice is totally discredited. However, it is not open to the police high command to suggest that their failure to find the murderers is mitigated by the length of time and procedural twists that trials take.
The bottom line is that Williams really doh business with the fearful public.
Concurrently, unenlightened politicians are banging the rallying drum for the death penalty. This is misleading because the procedural limitations on the implementation of the death penalty imposed by judicial decisions are several. In July 2010, I first exposed the fallacy of the hanging talk.
Why continue to fool the people into thinking a quick fix death penalty solution is available when it is not—without a constitutional amendment to remove the judicially declared limitations?
The one impediment to detection in murder cases that is real and remediable is the failure to maintain and upgrade forensic science support for police investigations. Right on cue last week, autopsies could not be performed because the pathologist was sick. The unsavoury scenes outside were indicative of the continuing slide further into barbarism.
Returning now to the 3Canal launch. There were many ingredients in the rapso and the accompanying dances that are worthy of export to theatres abroad.
I am a seasoned theatregoer in metropolitan locations. In those cities, performances like the 3Canal launch, with minor adjustments and marketing support, would be welcomed.
It was ironic that I was looking with amazement at 3Canal at the end of same the day on which Parliament was debating diversification of the economy. Our arts and cultural sector is ready to contribute to such diversification.
En passant to those impressed with the pink hat march in Washington DC, you should note that our rapso artists have protest lyrics much more compelling than the obscenities shouted by Madonna in Washington DC.
The evidence of last Tuesday reveals that there will be another keen Panorama competition this year. Sad therefore that the final night audiences are declining because we are not permitted to hear prime bands at prime time since Pan Trinbago is persisting with the categorisation of steel orchestras into small, medium and large.
This categorisation has resulted in Panorama running for irrationally long hours and those long hours are killing off audiences at the Panorama finals.
When the Panorama judges visited those in the large bands category in the Northern region, each of the panyards could have been filled two times over with those who could not get inside.
By 11pm, there were 6,000 plus persons still circulating around the Port of Spain yards, having walked and parked in areas where they would not normally even drive past at night.
I was pleased to feel this positive vibe after seeing ghostly streets up to a week before. As my Little Carib compere put it: Is like people were waiting to exhale.