Take away the gold chain and the ‘Zesser’ descriptor fits several other people in Trinidad and Tobago. Some of them drive Porsche Cayenne, Mercedes Benz, Range Rover, BMW and other high-end cars. Some of them live in specially outfitted high-rise apartments; they pay for tables where their friends lime or where they can prey on potential victims.
Some of them are sexually promiscuous, wear brand name or designer clothes and expensive red gold watches and I could go on and on about their abhorrent behaviours; but the Attorney General may know them better.
So exactly what was the AG trying to communicate when he attempted to threaten or scare those persons who wear big gold chains as a symbol of their authority and status among their peers? Why didn’t he use other examples of Zessers?
Like those who have moved from DJ-ing to multi-millionaires in less than 10 years, or from tent rentals and scaffolding suppliers to become almost billionaires in less than a generation.
He chose to focus on the gold-chain-wearing Zessers and has not considered that there are hundreds or maybe thousands of young people wearing costume jewellery to signal their belonging. Every generation has their outliers who externalise their symbols of belonging.
The AG commented that the gold-chain wearing Zessers will be asked to prove that they purchased jewellery legally and that is commendable; but while he’s at it there is a long list of other examples of Zessers whom he should ask to account for their material possessions
Stereotyping will not get us to the root cause of criminality, nor will it bring home the Mr Bigs of our country. What the AG did is stereotype every youth from the ghetto as a misfit and a criminal simply because he chooses to wear a big gold chain.
Like the majority of citizens, I want you to trace the money, but stereotyping the young person on a fad is no way to embrace and encourage young people in another direction.
To bring home the Mr Bigs and really get to the root of criminality, you have to have the courage to dig close to home. Find out who were the financiers of both political parties. Hold persons to account for their recent wealth from the prison officer who lives in a mansion and police officer who parks his high-end car at the station to the opportunistic landholder who just happened to own land which the government needed.
You cannot simply stand in Parliament and point at the ghetto. Remember the persons in the ghetto are simply collateral damage—according to a late Prime Minister—and they are desperate enough to do whatever is required. Go after those persons who are liquid enough to engage in major funding of illicit activity.
To do otherwise is to engage in a meaningless charade. There are Zessers who don’t wear big gold chains.