THE EDITOR: The cold-blooded murder of Akili Charles mere days after his victory at the Privy Council is a watershed moment in the country’s descent into abject lawlessness and savagery. Yet it will go unnoticed by the legions of citizens who are inured to crime, disorder and the sheer wickedness of this benighted country today.
The way his life was snuffed out on the heels of the ruling recasts his death as an assassination, not a mere “senseless killing.” In countries where law and order are still important, financial rewards would be offered for information leading to the arrest of his assassin because of the chilling implications this matter will have on average citizens who call on the State and the court to account in the future.
No one murder is more tragic than another, yet the nation seems to be unresponsive in the face of this rapid and unceasing savage disregard for human life. Glancing at public sentiment via social media one can only conclude that something is radically wrong with TT.
Charles’s profile (young, Afro-Trinidadian, East-West Corridor) and physical appearance are all that a disturbingly large segment of the population considers to determine his guilt (not his innocence). This from the same large swathe which lived vicariously as Americans in 2020 in the virtual fight against racial profiling and discrimination in the aftermath of the George Floyd killing.
No reference is made to an interview with Charles carried in the Newsday hours before his demise which spoke of the events surrounding his wrongful arrest, his indomitable spirit and perseverance in prison for six years, and ultimately his role as a vanguard in the fight for justice for all citizens. Here was a young man who was sentenced wrongfully and did the unthinkable – he didn’t become enraged, instead he thrived in prison.
Our self-hatred, our lack of critical debate and our apathy in the face of anarchy only serve to hasten our orbit away from confronting our sorrowful state and irreversible decline.