“The police and the police commissioner are not supposed to declare war on the citizens of the country. They are supposed to bridge the gaps and develop and maintain good relationships with the people in the communities.
“[…] The youths in our communities are not criminals by nature; it is more maybe by circumstance.
“When lying and cheating politicians together with unscrupulous business people, rob the country by stealing and denying revenues to the treasury, it contributes to a lack of proper health care, a lower standard of education, little or no job opportunities and a rise in criminality among the poor, because survival business is a serious business…”
The following Letter to the Editor on the need for social justice in Trinidad and Tobago was submitted by Michael L Joseph, a community, social and cultural activist from Marabella:
All true and honest politicians in the world know that the wealth of their nation is in the development of their people. So they invest heavily in youth—educationally, physically, socially, culturally and in all other areas—so as to guarantee a healthy, prosperous and productive society.
Unfortunately for us in these third world countries, most of our politicians believe and act like theirs is the right to pilfer our natural resources and plunder our national treasuries with impunity, to the benefit of themselves, their families and friends.
We, the ordinary people, who suffer the negative fallouts, keep wondering aloud why crime and criminality is so rampant amongst the young in our country. We pretend to have no answers.
That’s why we choose to embrace the ‘one shot one kill’ mantra of our newly minted police commissioner, hoping that therein lies the solution to all the social ills that bedevil us.
Nobody is asking the relevant questions. (Fast food and quick fix, is ah lethal mix).
Why are so many of our young people turning to crime and criminality in a society that benefited from many years of oil and gas revenues—where billions of dollars pass through the system with little or nothing to show of benefit to the average citizens?
Most of these so-called outlaws saw their parents and grandparents work hard and struggle for years to make wealth for others. And today it seems as if they would have to walk down that same road, growing up in a pirate-like society where those we voted into office and claimed to be willing and able to create a better life for us all, live nice and comfortable—together with their cronies—off their ill-gotten gains.
For frustrated citizens, the answer to the criminal youth seems to be: kill them all, worse if they draw first blood. But where and when will it end? It seems like the more young criminals and cockroaches they gun down, more come, more come!
These young people are the future of our country as strange as it may sound and it is our duty to save them from themselves if that is what it takes. If not, the future will continue to look bleak, uncertain and unsafe for every citizen high and low. The police and the police commissioner are not supposed to declare war on the citizens of the country. They are supposed to bridge the gaps and develop and maintain good relationships with the people in the communities.
This cannot be achieved by defending wrong-doing amongst the cheating high and mighty, whilst prosecuting the low and downtrodden for minor infractions. This will always be a recipe for rebelliousness and resistance.
The youths in our communities are not criminals by nature; it is more maybe by circumstance.
When lying and cheating politicians together with unscrupulous business people, rob the country by stealing and denying revenues to the treasury, it contributes to a lack of proper health care, a lower standard of education, little or no job opportunities and a rise in criminality among the poor, because survival business is a serious business.
Oppressed man must live! Do what you want, man must live!
When we vote politicians into office who say they could make life better and they turn around and tell you that you must stop depending on them, something is definitely wrong. They depend on your vote to keep them in office.
And who are our politicians? Most of them are doctors or lawyers, two of the most lucrative and exploitative professions in this country.
What is the role of the legal fraternity in a society where most of the people feel oppressed and exploited by one factor or another? There are no known and clearly defined areas where the average citizen can feel that justice is served.
Everything now is up for sale to the highest bidder. Justice and healthcare are the most lucrative businesses in our society today, and it eludes the poor. No care for me, no care for you; while political lawyers charge in the millions to exchange legal letters amongst themselves.
Young people are not stupid, or as tolerant as their parents. So the conflict for a better slice of the pie will only get more violent and vicious; as one ‘kaiso man’ put it: the system works for the rich, but holds no hope for the poor.
It is time we see some dishonest lawyering doctor politicians and unscrupulous business owners doing time for their crimes against humanity in the same overcrowded and unsanitary prison conditions that ordinary citizens are subjected to. Until then, there will be no peace in the land.
We are still a fun-loving and creative people who would rather enjoy a good game of cricket and football, spend time with friends and family on the beaches, sing calypso and chutney, play steelpan, make mas and enjoy Phagwa and parang.
We celebrate with each other all the national festivities like Christmas, Eid, Divali, Shouter Liberation Day, Emancipation, Indian Arrival and even Dragon Boat and kite flying at Easter. But all these things are becoming increasingly meaningless, when one set of people want to cream off all the wealth of the country for themselves by any means necessary; and becoming dangerously desperate, when the have-nots decide to retaliate.
There must be some justice in the law, for peace to reign.
And on top of all our difficulties, we have the Venezuelans who are suffering from no known natural disasters, taking up our space and limited resources at all levels by appointment.
How much graver is their political system than ours? They are afraid of their government, so we must be inconvenienced for that? Should we run over there as they run over here?
This is something we should seriously consider, given the fact they have a greater land mass and so much more mineral resources than us. Our political system surely needs an overhaul, and no one shot one kill will remedy that, only a fairer share of the pie.