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Daly Bread: Playing with the priests; the cost of looking the other way

Following last week’s column on the self-esteem crisis, which looked at the circumstances which contribute to the breeding of heartless persons, I was reading an interview with a rape victim who has written a debut novel entitled Dark Chapter.

The book explores the traumatic experience of the author, Winnie Li, through fiction built on  the attack on her while in a public park. One aspect of the book that has drawn attention to the author is that she provides a perspective from the attacker. Li was 29. Her attacker was 15.

Photo: A female victim is sexually assaulted…

The author included that perspective because: “I felt it was important to understand a perpetrator as another human being, whose life experience and other factors somehow contributed to his predatory behaviour.

“If we aren’t willing to consider where perpetrators are coming from, we won’t be any closer to preventing crimes like this from taking place in the future.”

The attacker came from a brutal background.

Many perpetrators of violence also come from communities where there are no visible role models. At the national level, the promotion of coarse and anti-social behaviour continues to grow at an alarming rate because those in high office are accomplices in the desecration of institutions beyond the boundaries of robust protest and personally fail to uphold—albeit, with the necessary humility—the dignity of their public office and the public trust.

Little wonder then that protesters would feel able to stand up and shout at Senators in a Parliament sitting: “This is real sh**.”

We have been let down by holders of the highest constitutional offices. Discerning observers are continuing closely to watch some of the contents of the Judiciary.

Photo: President Anthony Carmona (centre) is flanked by Magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar (left) and Chief Justice Ivor Archie.
(Copyright Trinidad Guardian)

Role models are important. In the immortal words of calypsonian Cypher, “if d priest could play who is we?” The “priests” have been playing so visibly that many people feel no restraint in following suit, expecting the same apparent immunity from sanction.

Let me share testimony I have from one of those youngsters striving to—and, as I am happy to report, doing well to—overcome the difficult circumstances that sent her out of her home in her teens to fend for herself.

“I’ve come from very humble beginnings and as someone who could have easily lost her way. I understand the role and importance of youth empowerment. Some of us women do not want to grow into Kim Kardashians or Nicki Minajs.

“Instead we want to be Maya Angelous, Gladys Mc Knights and Oprahs. Some of our fellow men find it hard to select role models as there aren’t many left in their homes, communities or even in the music/movie industries.

There is current turmoil in the movie industry over sexual harassment by the rich and powerful. One political blogger in the United States has suggested that “the Weinstein expose is one of the most socially influential pieces of reporting in US history.”

Photo: Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein stands accused of multiple cases of rape and sexual assault.
(Copyright NY Daily News)

My candidate for that accolade remains the uncovering of Watergate. There is little doubt that the resignation of President Richard Nixon and all that followed shattered public trust and tolerance in figures of authority. The gloves came off of investigative reporting as a result.

Spotlight, which won the 2016 Oscar for best picture, was another socially influential piece of investigative reporting. It tells the story of the Boston Globe’s pursuit and revelation of the knowledge of then Cardinal Richard Law of Boston that priests were sexually assaulting young men.

I happened to watch Spotlight recently and, given prevailing circumstances in our Republic, I took note of the line: “A guy leans on a guy and the whole town looks the other way.”

Such “leaning on” is also at the heart of waste and corruption in the State Enterprise sector. It was encouraging to hear Independent Senator Small berating the interference in the management of those enterprises by non-executive directors.

Photo: Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley (right) poses for a snap with defeated Siparia candidate and Lake Asphalt board member Vidya Deokiesingh who was implicated by a Petrotrin Audit Report into the A&V Drilling company.

Those who are belatedly seeing through the State Enterprise system need to keep in mind that many of those directors are the place men and place women  of politicians sent to monetise political participation and political support.

And if dem could play who is we?

AboutMartin Daly

Martin Daly
Martin G Daly SC is a prominent attorney-at-law. He is a former Independent Senator and past president of the Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago. He is chairman of the Pat Bishop Foundation, a board member of The Little Carib Theatre and Folkhouse and a steelpan music enthusiast.

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5 comments

  1. “Many perpetrators of violence also come from communities where there are no visible role models. At the national level, the promotion of coarse and anti-social behaviour continues to grow at an alarming rate because those in high office are accomplices in the desecration of institutions beyond the boundaries of robust protest and personally fail to uphold—albeit, with the necessary humility—the dignity of their public office and the public trust” In other words the confluence of private and public issues should compel Archie to resign, as he has long lost the dignity and trust the office reposes in him. If so I agree. I disagree however that the protestors are justified to behave as they did in the Senate.

  2. Re pic of PM with Mr.Deokiesingh,,,,’show me your friends……

  3. I agree with you to an extent Dex, but at the heart of it all there must be alignment. If children are brought up correctly at home but the other supporting linkages are broken, what are we producing? Monsters and animals for children and by extension leaders and Ministers who have no scruples. They lack morality ethics and integrity.Institutions such as the MOE, Parliament, The judiciary, The Integrity Commission (which lacks integrity) are all broken institutions so who guarding the guards? I reiterate politicians don’t become thieves and corrupt whee theyget into office, this began from childhood. Parents want to be their children friends, not parents. They just buy buy, buy. In schools today children are rewarded for failing with all the tech-savvy gadgets.They are unable to read and write , but tell about games and music videos etc.. How many kids tell you they don’t do chores or don’t have responsibilities. There is no manual for parenting, but so called educated people today have cast aside the BIBLE (manual for life and other religious books and replaced them with ignorant and clueless talk show hosts also psychologists, psychiatrists , social scientists and other child development specialist.Where do we begin to make the necessary changes needed to stop the continued downward spiral of our delinquent and murderous youths. Parents it’s in your court, Teachers are not your children babysitters. Some of you wont even take July-August vacation to spend with them, you take it in September. Time to take up your responsibilities

    • I dsagree that casting aside the Bible by the so called elite and their replacement by the many named, some who are named for their straw man value, has been a bad thing. I mean have you read the Bible.. Lets see :support of slavery “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. (Ephesians 6:5 NLT); disobeying your priest or your father “:Anyone arrogant enough to reject the verdict of the judge or of the priest who represents the LORD your God must be put to death. Such evil must be purged from Israel. (Deuteronomy 17:12 NLT);cursing your parents warrants the death penalty see All who curse their father or mother must be put to death. They are guilty of a capital offense. (Leviticus 20:9 NLT), As a non believer I ought to be put to death :They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and soul; and everyone who would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, was to be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman.(2 Chronicles 15:12-13 NAB, women who are not virgins on their wedding night are to be put to death see:But if this charge is true (that she wasn’t a virgin on her wedding night), and evidence of the girls virginity is not found, they shall bring the girl to the entrance of her fathers house and there her townsman shall stone her to death, because she committed a crime against Israel by her unchasteness in her father’s house. Thus shall you purge the evil from your midst. (Deuteronomy 22:20-21 NAB) , The point is the Bible can only be a basis for morality only if you cherry pick a verse here or there. The fundumental point is how does one cherry pick inthe first place.. The answer may be that you have a prior morality even before you pick up your Bible.

  4. I do not necessarily believe wholeheartedly that this type of behaviour mushrooms because of those in high office. My deceased mother always preached “charity begins at home and ends abroad”. Behavior like every other human trait, is learned from those in close proximity to us, not from someone we may never meet in our lifetime.