We now have belated confirmation—we knew it already—that, in addition to private capital, the source of which might be swanky neighbourhoods, funds for criminal enterprise are also drawn from linkages with public officials and the largesse of Government contracts.
These funds are tools used to put or keep competing political parties in government at the taxpayers’ expense. Is bramble to tell us that one side completely clean and the other side guilty.
I say we knew it already because, in 2003—long before some became suddenly alert and found courage and voice—I wrote: “There is great worry that the drug trade and the control of special works will lead us into institutionalised political violence.”
Let me promptly thank the TnT Patriots group for their email—acknowledging the realism of my column last week—on the dangerously intertwining of the worlds of our ordinary citizens with the world of criminality.
I do not know who comprises their group, but I believe that they have correctly posited that there are three levels in the narco trade. At the top level, are those in control. They are persons who are among the wealthiest and/or most powerful in the society. The trade ‘is managed by mid-level distributors, and the bulk of the risky retail operations on the ground implemented by foot-soldiers/gangs’.
This business model is not confined to the narco trade. There is solid evidence that all well funded criminal enterprises are run according to that model. The ‘bigness’ of the fish pursued by law enforcement must therefore be assessed accordingly. We are not taking bramble, intended to make us believe that there are big fish in the net, when the model tells us otherwise.
Now we have the new phenomenon of ‘detentions’, which are not arrests leading to prosecutions. My fellow columnist Raffique Shah, on Wednesday last in the Trinidad Express newspaper, described the minimal achievements these ‘detentions’ are.
Another bramble that will not con many is that the Panorama semi-finals last week were a success because they finished with results given by 11.30pm. The first musical note was struck at 1.15 pm after the opening prayer and speech, starting a ‘show’ of ten hours in duration.
What does that ten hours in duration foretell for the finals? Simply this: in estimated times, Medium bands will finish at 10.15pm and large bands at 1.30am.
Thankfully, the track had more participants than ever, reflecting the love for pan shown on the judging night in the yards. Dr Gabrielle Hosein, writing in the Newsday, aptly described the ‘social space for communities of pan players and lovers to congregate over finer points of music’.
That love and interaction of communities, who otherwise normally go their separate ways, are a wonderful thing and a healing element. For well over a decade, I have tirelessly advocated for enlightened recognition of the steelband movement and its potential to engineer positive social change.
On the business end, is it still intended to fill the seats in the Grandstand and, if it stays, the North Park tents? In contrast to the yards on judging night and the track, the seated semi-finals audience was again not near capacity. They emptied significantly after band No 10 in the large category, which was Despers, and almost totally after band No 12, All Stars.
Nothing will change for the better given the present format. I have described this as stubbornness that hurts. It has destroyed the revenue earning capacity of Panorama.
There are three choices regarding medium bands: give the medium bands a separate final, which will be another money losing event, cut down the number of bands on final night—not a real solution—or abolish the category.
The sensible choice is obvious. Until the medium category is removed from the final, there is no hope of rebranding and marketing the Panorama final as a crisp, highest quality event.
Meanwhile, the conjurers in authority carry on with manipulations to bramble we. In the older practices of conjuring, smoke and mirrors were used to make illusions appear real. Currently, they giving us more smoke than bushfire and using more mirrors than on a fancy Indian costume.