Trinidad and Tobago – a country of passive people


Attorney at law

A FEW years ago, while on my travels through South America, I was on my way to the hotel in Lima, Peru and whilst driving through that city, I happened across a protest taking place at the City Hall.

People were being beaten by riot police and hosed by massive water cannon and yet they persevered and stood their ground.

I asked a man who was standing nearby what the riot was about and he indicated that a high-ranking government official had been caught in a corruption scandal and the people were calling for his removal.

I was truly amazed by the strength, patriotism and tenacity of these people.

As I remember these things, it saddens me to note that our people have become so weak and passive. So numb to corruption, murder and downright abuse from governments.

Is it our history of colonial-era oppression meted out to both East Indian and Afro Trinidadians alike that has caused us to be so subdued and willing to tolerate the worst forms of abuse by so-called leaders? How much is really too much?

Why is it that whenever the PNM is in power, crime spirals out of control? I remember in my youth activism days, standing on a platform in the middle of San Fernando in early 2010, speaking out against the increase in kidnappings and murders under the then Manning regime.

I remember the statistics showing a drastic increase year by year until a new government was elected. Why was crime lower during the Panday and Persad-Bissessar administrations? There must be a correlation.

In 2022, after roughly seven years of this Rowley administration and multiple national security ministers, clearly we are at rock bottom when it comes to public safety and law and order.

Crime is plaguing the streets of my hometown of Chaguanas, with robberies taking place daily and the murder of people from ordinary citizens to businessmen. Crime is being perpetrated by our citizens and also undocumented Venezuelans, and the law-abiding citizens seem to have little to no recourse.

Under this PNM, the new runaway crime is domestic violence against women and children. We are seeing unprecedented numbers of child murders, sexual crimes against children and it is sickening.

Why am I mentioning the PNM, in this regard, you may ask?

The answer is simple: a major role of the Government – which for the past seven years has been led by the PNM – is to provide hope and direction.

The Prime Minister’s crass public utterances to our nation’s women have not gone unnoticed and these “mere words” may be just that to him but they could very well play on the minds of the young men in our society. It creates the notion that it is cool to speak in a derogatory manner and behave in a similar light.

Furthermore, Fitzgerald Hinds, the National Security Minister, has proven to be a complete, abject and absolute failure.

Given his past ministerial appointments to a makeshift ministry, it was truly a surprise to see him appointed to arguably the most critical ministry at this time.

The National Security Ministry ought not to be a trial-and-error ministry nor a musical-chairs game. It is time to replace Hinds and appoint someone who is willing to work night and day to ensure our nation’s safety.

Hinds, by his own utterances and demeanour, does not inspire confidence in our security apparatus. He himself came out publicly and said his job is “not to ensure that people feel safe and secure."

I suppose to the government, spending of millions to politically witch-hunt opponents on all sides is called for, but definitely not to ensure the safety of our citizens.

We are at rock bottom and sadly three long years away from a general election. It is about time we stand up for something and demand our just dues as tax-paying citizens. Enough is enough!

Editor's Note:
Dr Gabrielle Hosein's regular column will return next week.


"Trinidad and Tobago – a country of passive people"

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