“Don’t let Trinidad spoil you. Don’t let Trinidad be your goal.”
This was Pastor Clive Dottin's warning to Tobagonians as he addressed Monday’s Trinidad and Tobago Scrap Iron Dealers Association’s Crime Talk at the Milford Road Esplanade, Scarborough.
This was the association’s 12th round of crime talks and the first in Tobago.
Dottin spoke of a changing Tobago, noting that there was a time when people could go out and leave their houses open.
“Up to recently – you can’t take that chance now. and you have to contend with something called 'murder rate.' Have mercy, as even this year you’ve had murders already for January. So I am saying, when I hear about areas in Tobago that have guns, it shatters me.”
He also scolded parents.
“Parents, for God's sake, how we could bring up our children in a godless home and don’t expect to have a godless society? How we could tell them the ten commandments don’t matter at all, and they could behave how they want – they could be indecent, get pregnant at any age, curse people, have gang fights in school?
"How we could give that impression to young people and have a better society? A lawless and indisciplined nation cannot fight crime.”
He cited Russian-born American writer Ayn Rand: “You know your nation is doomed when the law no longer protects you from the corrupt but protects the corrupt from you.”
In January, the Prime Minister said he would soon direct the finance minister to allocate $100 million to be spent by the Defence Force (TTDF) in certain communities where development is stymied by crime. Rowley was responding to National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds' saying citizens in some communities being deprived of certain amenities because of the actions of criminals there.
Dottin said: “The $100 million the Prime Minister is going to dedicate to going into certain areas, to my mind, that is looking at crime from a blue-collar perspective.
"What about the white-collar criminals? No boy from behind the bridge is bringing in the cocaine and the guns. You have to have an effective business structure. So all I hearing about is blue-collar criminals – how to arrest them, how to get the evidence, how to decrease the murder rate.
"But you know, the real problem that we don’t want to deal with is the godfathers to the drug trade. We don’t want to deal with that because we expect our politicians to be dependent upon them until the good master comes."
Lamenting the cocaine, guns and "corruption in almost every institution," he urged politicians that discussions on crime should include white-collar crime and the "rich...crocodilian vampires" who he said were "polluting the streams of our young people" and pulling them into what he called a 21st-century plantation economy – "and that is a serious thing.”