N Touch
Thursday 22 August 2019
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Letters to the Editor

All ah we thief

THE EDITOR: Many do not know the deceased sociologist Desmond Cartey. However, I do. He was the PNM cabinet minister who in 1986 blurted out on a campaign platform, “All ah we thief!”

At the time I did not grasp the sociological significance of his faux pas. Now I do. Dr Cartey was suggesting that our culture is not as innocent as we would like to believe it is. For decades before and after independence, TT has been identified as a citadel of corruption – be it by way of informal contacts, nepotism, or cronyism.

Today, all the evidence seems to be just rumours that should make us sit up and be alert. A casual glance at reckless social media gossip points to – students cheating in examinations, policemen soliciting bribes, politicians and men of the cloth engaging in unacceptable and unethical behaviour, and model citizens promoting money laundering and demonstrating selfish behaviour.

Indeed, no one seems to be above suspicion when it comes to criminal activity. Yes! Our criminals no longer seem to be confined to the hot spots.

Is our society on a self-destruct course? Are our social vibrations destabilising the culture, core values, mores, norms, and ideology of our society? Is the typical citizen profile one of greed, corruption, and unethical or immoral behaviour? What can we do to correct this malaise to save future generations?

Many have recommended a more holistic education system or more effective agents of socialisation – the family, the religious bodies, the press, the school, and the arts. Others simply point to better governance, guided by model community leaders, politicians, and public servants. Of course, this includes icons in the private sector.

Whatever strategies we wish to invoke, it is absolutely imperative that collectively we immediately start thinking of cleaning up the mess we have found ourselves in. We cannot allow TT to be a modern Babylon. However, can old habits easily give way to new ones?


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