STREET VIBES: Hahaha, hee-haw, hee-haw but PNM’s donkey logic is no laughing matter

Prank or otherwise, there is nothing funny about rape. We are a nation which has seen its fair share of rapes over the years, many of the victims in their early teens. Despite the large number, however, I can remember not one single occasion when a rape was thought to be a laughing matter. Yet, somehow, it, like murder, is not taken seriously by the authorities.

So the reaction of the Education Minister recently when a video surfaced on social media that appeared to show a young man from one of the so called “prestige schools” in the act of raping another, whose screams filled the air, must give pause. Immediately, even before an investigation was launched, Minister Anthony Garcia dismissed the video as “a prank.”

Photo: Education Minister Anthony Garcia.

Really, Tony? A prank? One cannot but be aware that prestige schools seek to protect their reputations at all costs. But a “prank”? So why, pray tell, were we told that individuals have been suspended? For a “prank”?!?

In a nation where no one is ever held accountable for anything, where white collar criminals operate with impunity, where the generally accepted procedure relies on the instinctual psychological defence of denial—praying that in nine days’ time another distraction will surface to refocus the nation’s attention away from the current phenomenon onto another—can we expect anything to come of this?

And is it completely immaterial that the current MoE was at one time principal at the school in question? Can one blame the public for being sceptical about the possibility of an independent, objective investigation taking place?

It is obvious to all, perhaps with the exception of the Minister and his red-eyed sycophants, that the knee-jerk response of slapping a ban on cell phones in schools is definitely not the solution. But it has long been recognized by all who have eyes to see that, as far as dealing with the issues plaguing our education system in the 21st Century is concerned, the Education Minister is in way above his head.

Was not his first public statement something to the effect that “there will be no sex education taught in our schools”? In 2015? Please! Many of us thought it was a joke.

Photo: Education Minister Anthony Garcia (centre) meets with students of Fatima College. Garcia is a former Fatima principal.

And we laughed not with him but at him when later he did make a joke about his being “the best woodsman” in T&T. The bad taste must be a PNM thing because his colleague and political leader subsequently amused only the other dinosaurs, male and female, in Parliament when he joked that women, like a golf course”, needed special grooming.

What further evidence do we really need of the intellectual bankruptcy of our so called “leaders”? Should we really be surprised that the entire Ministry of Education is incapable of addressing the challenges facing today’s students?

How can they be unaware of the importance of the cell phone as a learning tool? Does the Education Minister and his minions really believe that, in today’s world, cell phones are merely for making and taking phone calls and sending and receiving messages?

Ban cell phones from school? Oh, of course! Who needs a cell phone when penmanship is available for all and sundry? Improve your handwriting and you can safely forget all that stuff like critical thinking, analytical skills, problem solving skills, mediation, etc.

What the Education Minister’s knee-jerk response reminds me of is the situation regarding the speed limit.

Photo: A USA lawman uses a speed gun.

Up until relatively recently, we were told that speed kills. Then came the speed guns, which enabled the highway patrols to fill the State’s coffers with the proceeds from speeding tickets; so many tickets were issued that there were hefty benefits for the Treasury.

Lo and behold, there came the cry that 80km is unacceptable; the speed limit, the clamour became, should be raised. Some lobbied for 120km, some settled for 100km. Parliament has now approved the change. We are now allowed to speed along some highways at 100kph. Suddenly, speed doesn’t kill anymore.

That will appeal to and appease only the simple-minded and the intellectually challenged. The truth is that moving from 80km to 100 km will do as much to save lives as banning cell phones in schools will do to prevent rapes and fights. It is a delusion similar to the Minister of Finance’s belief that taxing the population will generate wealth to make up the necessary revenue shortfall to service both his mega-projects and his ego.

It is time that someone tells members of the Baby Boom generation, those intellectual sloths in the Ministry of Education, in the Ministry of Finance, in Government generally, to get out of the way and make way for innovative ideas, fresh thought and new thinkers, in fact, for thinkers rather than tinkerers.

Today’s 12-year-olds will be in the workforce until 2065; that is the era for which we need to prepare them, not, dammit, the days of the donkey cart and donkey logic.

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  1. The best way to deal with misconduct, in all forms in schools is to simply remove it from the public eye. No cell phones = no videos of misconduct etc…voila all school misconduct vanishes.

  2. Garcia, how many times you played those “pranks? or how many times were those “pranks” played on you? So you, a former principal of Fatima, chose to dismiss their actions as pranks but are fast to call the police to other schools. A most unfair and biased individual. Should be home playing “pranks with your “lap top”

  3. Better judgement prevents me from post what I really want to say

  4. Another BS article written by a non teacher.

    • I agreed with some of the points but not others. I do think you can be suspended for a prank and I don’t think the way the Fatima thing was treated was inadequate or that we need more a thorough investigation.
      Garcia’s initial statement might have been premature but it might not have been too since we don’t know how old the video is.
      I’d agree that we shouldn’t be appearing to be nonchalant about simulated rape. And of course the bit about modernizing the education system and not making knee jerk responses.
      Not that I’m saying laptops and smartphones in schools in itself means the system is modernized. Because I’m not.

    • My dear sir I’m a teacher. So what are you implying I must put on blinders and refuse to admit their are bad apples in the profession. I will say a spade is a spade when it is required. I have to be satisfied with my life and engender the same in my son and grand daughter. How then can I correct them when they see me doing otherwise. I lead by example. More importantly I remember talking to my son when he entered high school and his father warning him of untoward behaviour by others of the same sex. “A prank” that’s ostrich burying their hand in the sand. The rumours emanating about certain schools in this country are well known but shhhhh such things, are whispered.The hypocritical society that is T&T

    • there bad apples everywhere but more focus on Lasana point which is correct smartphones and laptops in school is not nessecarily a sign modern education. For the rest of stuff i do believe it was an ugly prank.

    • Yeah I agree there are a lot of misconceptions in the article. Like him saying Garcia immediately dismissed the incident as a prank. Truth is the incident was brought to the school’s attention quite a few days before it blew up on social media. While the author seems to constantly have a PNM axe to grind it makes it tiresome to pick out valid points from the trite rantings. But I personally feel that though the incident was classified as a “foolish prank”, there should have been some more serious consequences for those involved. Especially the person who took the video and whoever was instrumental in sharing it. The hit to the school’s brand and reputation especially at a time when SEA choices are being considered was really unfortunate.

      • Ms Rose-Marie, the author does not “have a PNM axe to grind.” More to the point, my axe is one for dealing with the BS, jackassery and hypocrisy which passes for governance in this twin island, which has been literally devastated by the two party system: the red and the yellow morons posing as leaders. As a sociologist, with a nose for detecting BS miles away, I voted once in my 62 years for a jackass called Anil, hoping for a change. I was disappointed and he should be jailed. I hold no brief for any of the political parasites and my comments, which can be found in the archives of other daily publications will support my claim. And do have a great day.

    • My tutta number Sir Riley is 27940, for whatever that’s worth. I never even knew I had one until I hadda make this point. Tutta is major part of the problem, like all the other unions, in taking this nation forward. They like garcia, should be put out to pasture.

    • Joel Riley my tutta numba is 27940, for whaever it’s’ worth; it really eh worth shit to me.

    • Garcia was on 107.7 and said the school Principal did an internal investigation and said it was a prank. Really! The goal posts shift conveniently according to who is who in this country, that is why we go through cycles of repeated incidents being because we refuse to hold people accountable.

    • Trying to figure out the source of your “righteous indignation”. You think Father Gregory is lying and you think he should be held accountable? You know exactly what happened at the school and you believe there is some sort of conspiracy because of ????. Why can’t you just accept the explanation and move on??

    • i support father Henry my issue is with those who don’t believe them and why

    • No not you Joel Riley. I was referring to Rossana. I don’t understand all this anger

    • This is not anger, but truth to self. Rape whether male or female emerging out of our schools is no joking matter. Why the cover up because its one of the prominent college?When we who know better continue to condone wrong doing with frivolity, the outcome is evident look at our society as it continues its downward spiral. This issue has been spokes about in private quarters for years and kept quiet, while little boys and girls have been damaged for life (Akiel Chambers, no arrest to date). The upholder is worst that the thief. Say a spade is a spade.Not cover up or deny truth. Why wear blinders on this issue Not everyone in T&T has lost morality, ethics and integrity

  5. sorry , hit the wrong button did not get to edit my comment sorry. In T&T “we bright”

  6. Excellent commentary. I reiterate MR Garcia archaic decisions are retrograde steps.Is he living in T&T.? Really! I have repeatedly said that adhoc decison by politicans who come into office and feel they have all the answers have negatove ramifications ,when they are out of office or dead. Meanwhile the passivity of parents to do nothing TTUTA who have their own agenda, along with whole lot of delinquent teachers (who know its hard to fire them) compound an already rotten system. We are breeding criminals by the ineffective school system as well BSc, MScsand PHd’s who can’t red , write lack critical thinking and cannot expplian themselves. But we have degrees emanting form afailing education syste, In trinidad

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