Khamal Georges, the CNC3 television anchor and journalist, has my total sympathy having recently suffered the terror of a hold-up at gunpoint when his motor vehicle was taken from him.
I have interacted well with him. He is not likely to take badly my commentary on the typical Trini comess that arose out of the theft of his vehicle, which was stolen twice within 48 hours.
A month before, a similar incident was described to me—while tremulous feelings were still sensitive—by a young female family connection, who was also robbed of her vehicle at gun-point. She went through the full fear and range of emotions that Khamal has described. For our female citizens, there is the added fear of sexual assault.
It has been suggested that the technology contained in even an average vehicle, now makes it too much trouble to learn how to break into a vehicle. It is easier to hold up the driver at gun-point.
Within this region and a few well-known failing states, crimes can be committed at any time with impunity, so that armed hold up is an easy alternative method of vehicle theft. This is a neon sign advertising the failure of the state to provide a tolerably secure living environment for its citizens.
Khamal’s vehicle was quickly recovered. The person I know was not so lucky, even though the incidents occurred within less than a mile of each other in Port-of-Spain. The CCTV camera system inexplicably seems to be able to assist with some things and not others.
The media were, on an earlier occasion, very negative when the son of the Minister of Finance, Colm Imbert, was a hold-up victim and his property was quickly recovered with the alleged thieves apprehended—reportedly with the assistance of the CCTV medium.
Indignant remarks to the effect that “because is he and who he is” the police stirred themselves to bother with the theft. In this case, the victim was the subject of more expressions of dislike than the thieves. Conspiracy theories abounded about why he got “special treatment”.
By contrast, Khamal was bathed with sympathy from the same media that scoffed at Imbert’s son; and, no doubt because of Khamal’s journalist profile, ministers “reached out” to him and we had to hear all about that.
One of the reasons why we are floundering is our ingrained habit of forming opinions disproportionately based on personality and profile and not on the core of an issue. By indulging in racial, class and other forms of illegitimate profiling, we are driving ourselves away from having ordinary humanity in common.
These heavy doses of unrestrained subjectivity and sometimes gullibility, in my view, are in part a factor of deep public distrust as well as disgust with the current state of our society; but they constitute a vicious circle.
We may be understandably disgusted with persons in public life. However, our profiling habits and our unrestrained subjectivity permits many of the same public figures to respond to complaints about what they do or condone, by playing to our habit of profiling and by substituting attacks on personalities for reasoned argument.
In a similar vein, I am at a loss to understand how “unpatriotic” has become the choice insult of 2018. It is not unpatriotic if financial analysts do not see the National Investment Fund (NIF) bond in the same positive light as the Government, which has issued it. We are going down another nasty road if it is “unpatriotic” to hold differing opinions.
The theft of Khamal’s vehicle became a caper when the vehicle was recovered but stolen a second time, while parked in front of Besson Street police station.
Reports suggest that a man came with a key and removed the vehicle, which was then “found” again. Perhaps the bandits were sending a message of contempt to those portraying the first recovery of the vehicle as some significant crime fighting accomplishment. The bandits signalled who is really in charge.
So too did some angry but misguided Beetham residents, with the result that mas’ aficionado, Minister Fitzgerald Hinds, may be playing a native American Chief next year—Chief Run In Rain?