THE EDITOR: I congratulate our PM on his address on the recent, simultaneous community protests in our nation. However, at the same time I am constrained to advise him that the obvious is not always true and that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
First of all, let us accept that hot spots and crime are not confined to only TT. Based on social research, we can conclude that these ills did not emerge overnight and cannot be eliminated overnight.
Also, sociological studies have revealed that where there is crime, there is tension between the underworld and law enforcement. Antagonism between criminals and law enforcement will always be with us.
Clearly, the PM’s commitment emerged to make life more functional for both the economically challenged in the hot spots and the society at large. However, the problem here has to be considered within the context of culture and the question as to whether we can help people change their mindset if they are not so inclined.
History, community participation in more than one Caribbean country, reading an incredible number of novels on the mafia in the US, exposure to a number of crime novels and movies, and sociological studies have convinced me that transforming the culture of our hot spots will take more than five years. Successive governments will have to be committed to the project. In addition, I ask:
Will the underworld easily give up its income stream and power in the hot spots and society because of proposals from the PM’s committee?
Will the youth who have become accustomed to easy money want to stop being foot soldiers?
Is it easy to appease the law-abiding citizens who believe that industrial estates can be easily established to provide jobs on a long-term basis for them to survive in an open economy?
Indeed, I must emphatically declare that the committee has been given a daunting task which cannot be achieved overnight. However, as the PM openly stated, appointing it is a beginning.
My angst is that a new civilisation has been relentlessly unfolding, bringing with it the imperatives of having to think out of the box and the need to change major social institutions, which will require profound intelligence, experience, integrity, emotional intelligence, empathy, compassion, innovation, creativity, and a never-before-seen work ethic.
The four questions I now must pose by way of conclusions are:
1. Are the Government and Opposition willing to put their shoulders by way of support to this wheel?
2. Will the dynamics of the hot spots give way to the PM’s new thrust?
3. Are members of the committee sufficiently imbued with the passion and dynamics of change to take on such a phenomenal assignment?
4. Do the people in the different hot-spot communities in particular and average communities in general want self-reliance, an opportunity to contribute to national development, or simply an easy life of handouts to do as they please with minimum law enforcement interference?
RAYMOND S HACKETT