The more I want to be optimistic about my Trinidad and Tobago’s current situation and our chances and ability to climb out of the decadent cesspool we currently find ourselves, the more I’m convince that my positive outlook is overshadowed by the reality of our state of affairs.
Many—including the Opposition, Labour Unions and other civic groups—are calling our country a failed state and government received a failed mark on its performance at the recent Labour Day Rally.
Hundreds of families have already been directly and indirectly affected by crime and other social issues and may agree that the malaise redounds to the present government’s inability to steady the ‘ship of state’—which, by all indications, is in perilous condition.
According to Robert I Rotberg in his book “When States Fail”: nation-states fail because they are convulsed by internal violence and can no longer deliver positive political goods to their inhabitants.
This assertion is clearly applicable to our current dilemma. Trinbago is under daily siege by ruthless thugs, with little or no protection from the National Security “architecture”—to quote Minister Edmund Dillon.
The state’s prime function is to provide that security and it is becoming clear that the government can no longer safeguard its law abiding citizens.
A failed state cannot put in place the conditions for its own existence. And while Trinidad and Tobago still has elements of a functional society—such as empowering citizens to partake freely, openly, and fully in politics and the political process, free education from primary to tertiary, healthcare, public utilities and infrastructure—the loss of our citizen’s peace of mind due to the upsurge of violence overshadows any meaningful achievements.
No society grows above the level of its leadership, just as no nation grows above the level of its education.
This present government, for me, had one main mandate when they were elected in 2015: to stem the flow of violence and eradicate the criminal elements. They have thus far disappointed and failed to make any progress in reducing in the mayhem that we witness every day; and, as a result, some are resorting to mob violence and vigilante justice.
Many citizens have called for joint army patrols to bring a measure of relief, especially in the hot-spot communities, but somehow the powers that be are not inclined to unleash the Defence Force in these areas. There always seems to be some legislative or jurisprudence to block the progress or a lack of political will to give the Defence Force a more active role in stemming the flow of criminal activities.
If we are a sovereign country, then why is it so difficult to put policies in place which would bring law and order?
I believe the Defence Force is the only option to suppress the criminal elements and bring a sense of safety to our society, as it is possibly the only institution with any integrity left.