RUDY CHATO PAUL, SR
SINCE RETURNING from my three-month sabbatical, life on this rock we call home has been a real struggle. I have tried my utmost best to refrain from commenting on the numerous, outrageous, silly behaviours and criminal acts making the news; be it on social media or mainstream media.
Unfortunately, my sabbatical was unable to prepare me to confront the challenges we face, watching institution after institution fail. Coming off a sabbatical to immediately confront such challenges is no walk around the savannah.
Others may evidently differ. But to remain silent and watch my nation crumble is not inherent.
The proverbial straw came when the Prime Minister challenged someone to “meet him on the pavement.” Immediately I was reminded of the “raging bull” warning by the late Patrick Manning.
In my silence, like many I have been observing the sorry excuses which have been passing for governance; the charade between the yellow and the red gang. And of course there was the recent passing of the anti-gang legislation, where both gangs colluded and passed the proposed panacea to the crime riddle which has been haunting us.
That both gangs can agree on this as the solution to the nation’s crime woes is a clear demonstration of the intellectual bankruptcy which permeates the hallowed halls of this nation’s Parliament. It is clear that neither side understands the numerous sub-cultures across this nation: the criminal subculture, the police subculture, the white-collar criminal subculture, the prison subculture. If they are of the view that some law will eventually bring about change, they need not look further than the law banning the use of cellphones while driving.
A colleague of mine’s noted, “This Anti-Gang Bill is nothing more than banana republic-styled governance to replace respect for law with State abuse of human and civil rights for no purpose.”
I cannot help but recall the recent state of emergency. Several people who were arrested during that emergency have been and are currently being awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars by the nation’s courts, simply because the authorities abused their power.
While on sabbatical I observed a trend as it relates to schoolchildren fighting, with a useless Minister of Education seeking to do damage control. Such fights, combined with the recent bully response in Parliament, specifically as it relates to “meet me on the pavement,” have prompted me to recommend to the ministry that “fighting” be officially added to the curriculum.
For starters, students clearly demonstrate a greater interest in fighting than in anything else. It is also recognised that if students are interested in a particular topic, greater attention will be paid, and as a result will make both teaching and learning easier. Besides, we don’t see such fights out of uniform.
Teaching children to fight will bring positive results. First and foremost, it will reduce the murder rates, thereby assisting in crime reduction. Children who learn to fight no longer need to shoot, stab or employ any type of weapon in their self-defence. Everyone knowing how to fight will also serve as a deterrent to fights, analogous to the argument put forth for everyone owning a firearm.
Furthermore, I have every reason to believe that adding fighting to the curriculum can make a meaningful contribution in the long overdue promise of diversifying the economy. Fighting as a competitive sport can increase forex as we export kickboxers, martial artists, taekwondo artists, WMA wrestlers, boxers, stick-fighters etc.
Evidently, not everyone will be interested in learning how to fight; such people will definitely learn how to run, thereby producing potential track and field athletes. And of course in learning to fight one must adopt the proper attitude. This provides the platform to teach a second language: obscene language can be taught. For example, we need to know the difference between “ax yuh mudder” and “ask your mother.”
Students can learn videography to record the fights. These students have the potential of becoming journalists. And then there are the selected few who attempt to break up these fights who can go on to become community leaders.
The vast majority, however, make great cheerleaders and can be useful in cheering on the West Indies. They can be employed as ambassadors to support the WI whenever and wherever there is a game. And of course those who manage to rise to the top of the food chain can become leaders and business people who can challenge anyone who opposes them to either “take it outside” or “meet me on the pavement.”
Let’s hope the opposition member takes the PM up on his offer to meet him on the pavement; where all 41 really belong.