We all know the idiom “chickens come home to roost”, which means the consequences of wrongdoing always catches up with the wrongdoer. In the past two weeks, this expression has materialised in our country.
The new spate of crime witnessed is the fruit of our actions over several decades. Passions are now the master of reasoning.
As we feverishly share and forward each message of evil doing, we should consider the difference between fear and risk. Perceived risk induces fear more than actual victimisation. Fear is an emotional response, while risk is a cognitive assessment of one’s environment. Risk is a more realistic assessment of social reality.
Experiences influence fear and are perceptually enhanced by forces like the rumour mill and the mass media (Chadee, 2003). This distinction is critical to appreciate, given the emailed bomb threat and the multiple chain group chats.
The Minister of National Security and the Police Service missed the point relative to the bomb threat in dismissing the event as being created by a “miscreant” and their interpretation of it as a hoax.
Inciting widespread fear and vulnerability represent the terrorists’ most important objective. Such events frighten the population into distrusting the government and creating political dissatisfaction or panic people into desiring more draconian policies (Breckenbridge and Maguen, 2006).
Consider the 2004 Madrid bombing that possibly changed the election results (Montalavo, 2011). The use of the Dark Net, as confirmed by the Police, fits the terrorist narrative (Malik, 2018).
We should note that The Geneva Declaration on Terrorism (1987) states that “the distinguishing feature of terrorism is fear, and this fear is stimulated by threats of indiscriminate and horrifying forms of violence directed against ordinary people everywhere.”
Did not the event fit this description? This ghastly action that affected hundreds of children and frightened mothers is a natural progression of our nation’s polarisation and lack of care for our children.
We have a long history of child neglect, and this callous act that traumatised our children came from some twisted anti-social mind.
The role of the media in creating an atmosphere of fear should not be ignored. The trope “if it bleeds, it leads” is true, more so because of the thirst for clicks and likes.
In our politically charged atmosphere, a clear political bias is often demonstrated in our local media. How do we explain that a meeting chaired by the National Security Minister and two senior police officers, also residents of the area, is tucked on an inside page, but the unfounded ideological rant of two pundits hits the front page?
The meetings were held three days apart! The media’s undeclared political bias continues to blindside and agitate.
The racist image of “urban youth” with “de mother have 14 and 15 children to mind” springs from a well that threatened our Independence talks at Malborough House and was voiced by a Member of Parliament in a 2004 debate over land use.
At Malborough House, there was an argument that views of the Indian Association of Trinidad should be incorporated into the Constitution. The allegation was that Indians were discriminated against, a “wrong” that they argued could only be resolved via proportional representation.
There is no empirical evidence to support this image promoted in Aranguez. However, black men have been smeared in local newspapers since the publication of Thomas Carlyle’s racist rant.
Carlyle’s “Occasional Discourse on the Nigger Question” in which he described emancipated people in the British colonies as belonging to an idle, inferior race whom God created to be servants to those “who are born wiser than you, that are born lords of you—servants to the whites” was published in February 1850.
The politically-driven land use changes in the “bread basket” of the nation made us more food-insecure when the Aranguez farmers sold the agricultural land to industrialists. At this point, the culture and values of a formerly tightly-knit community were challenged.
No evidence supports the opinion that East Indians are more victimised (Chadee, 2003; Seepersad and Wortley, 2017). The authors of the latter publication—the groundbreaking effort to examine ethnicity—acknowledge that racial prejudices can trigger more reporting (Shah and Pease, 1992).
They also recognised the establishment of the Crime And Problem Analysis Unit of the TTPS, which collects crime data from every police station. Prejudices persist even as crime is a part of the Aranguez community.
In 2004, Darius Figuera, a criminologist familiar with the cocaine trade (2004), noted:
“The El Socorro/Aranguez developed as a result of its proximity to the Caroni Swamp and its use as a trafficking route. Illicit drugs under the cover of the Caroni Swamp were stored and entered from this area into the East-West Corridor.
“Specific Indo-Trinbagonian businessmen in the area funded this trade, and Naim ‘Nyah’ Ali and Teddy ‘Mice’ Khan were simply the frontmen, the visible public fall guys for the secret financiers.”
The much disputed Scott Report traced the links between these men and their alliances in other parts of the county. The Venezuela connection was alive and reported managed by one Adella Moses. The tentacles reached into the Commissioner’s office, and some say into Parliament.
The urban youths were the young victims and the “barrel children” at the time and in junior secondary schools. Their mothers were scratching out a living in a foreign land.
Mala Jokhan identified the lonely pain: “while children received material goods in barrel shipments and money through wire transfers, they often experienced an emotional deficit—a care drain—as a result of the separation.”
Is there not a link between this breakdown in families and the introduction of cocaine by the kingpins?
We accepted Police Commissioner Randolph Burroughs, not knowing the drug network and a slew of non-Africans who collaborated with him. We have long closed our eyes to wrongdoing for the sake of money. We never questioned blatant money laundering, and here we are now!
The chickens have come home to roost.
In the 2013 Ryan Report, Indira Rampersad argued that the “notion that young black males alone constitute at-risk youths is erroneous”. This argument now echoes in the April 2022 Randy Seepersad’s lament:
“We know that things are getting harder and harder in the country. The Covid pandemic did not do us any favours in terms of the economic hardships. People are without jobs; jobs are very scarce. They go to university, they do their CAPE, they come out with very good grades, and they cannot get a job.
“When that type of hopelessness starts to spread to the wider society, it creates a strain. We are seeing it across the board; I know students who graduate with First Class Honours degrees and cannot get a job.
“The literature will tell you that economic deprivation is something that will lead a country into the abyss when it comes to crime.”
The crime scene is changing and may even change for the worse.
Carlos Bar in the Aranguez area is famous for the 2008 killing of Merlin “Cudjoe” Allamby, who was lured there by the murder of his two East Indian friends, Raffick “Puna” Mohammed and his common-law wife Rosanna Seemungal.
Mohammed, uncle of Shazard “Teddy Mice” Khan, lived in Chaguanas. Crime knows no skin colour nor respects any community. But we stubbornly refuse to admit it.
Our country is a minor player in the global drug trade. Our climbing homicide rate is caused by increasingly violent gangs fighting over various criminal economies (InsightCrime.org).
Our geographic location restores us as an ideal transhipment point for cocaine between Guyana, Venezuela, and Europe. As it was under Burroughs, so it continues today.
Shabby schools and undernourished youth only provide fodder. We have never seriously fought this scourge.
Who were the African supporters abusing Pundit Donny Samlal in the United National Congress leadership forum? Were they urban youth?
All our leaders should be mandated to read the Ryan Report. We may not be able to resurrect Dana Seetahal, but we may be able to save another person. We, as citizens, must resist police commissioners like Randolph Burroughs.
Our country needs justice, not extra-judicial vengeance. We should determine to remove the scales of partisan ideology from our eyes. Then and only then will we have a hope to avoid hell on earth.
No sugar coating here, as usual factual and to the point. A great history lesson for those too young to recall and a reminder to those older dishonest, deceitful ones who experience convenient memory loss. Well done also Dr David Mohammed in your attempts to enlighten persons re. The Aranguez and environs crime situation and its history. Until we start being honest and remove the hypocrisy that surrounds crime/criminality and deal with it in an equitable manner. Not where the law only punishes one type of people while the jefes go on there merry way accumulating wealth and at same time wreaking havoc and mayhem across local communities. Politicizing crime/sitting on our hands will ensure this spate of crime continues well into our future.
As usual another shite piece from Noble. Possession of a pen makes not a writer.
Apologist disguised in long prose.