“After all, we make ourselves according to the ideas we have of our possibilities.” VS Naipaul

130

T&T A COUNTRY LIVING IN FEAR

“Politics has a Moral­ity of its Own;” “Co-Lateral Damage;” “Crime Conspiracy.” Statements made by our leaders, which have shaped the behaviour of our citi­zens. So without publicly agreeing that we need a State of Emergen­cy, many citizens have privately placed themselves under a “State of Emergency.” Public transport is difficult to access after seven o’clock. Everyone is hustling to get home before it gets too late. When you use a short cut to get out of the traffic and go up the Hill, through what is considered a “hot spot,” your friends ask if you are mad. If they are with you in the car, they become anxious and beg you not to pass there. Many popular fetes now begin at 4.30 p.m. and end by midnight. Now, I hear that persons want permis­sion to take their legal firearms into the fetes. I wonder how fete-goers feel about this. “Co-Lateral Damage” comes to mind.

I have said before that I never agreed with any of those above quoted “terms.” However, the one to which all are intimately con­nected is the Morality issue. The essence of Morality is conduct or behaviour which maintains and perpetuates order in a society. This conduct or behaviour also teaches or trains the children (our future) to maintain order and they, in turn teach their children how to create an orderly society. Morality has nothing to do with right and wrong.
Trinidad and Tobago is a multi-religious, multi-ethnic and multi- cultural society. I cannot tell a Muslim woman that she is wrong to be one of four wives of her Muslim husband or that wearing a hijab is wrong. This is tradition­ally their way of life. What I must do is, empathize with her and help her to make wise choices for her future and the future of her fam­ily. She must create a meaningful order in her home, while teaching her children, behaviours that are necessary to maintain and per­petuate that order at home and by extension the wider society. There is now going to be Morality in Public Af­fairs. Is this the first time? Public Affairs (many might need a definition of what constitutes Public Affairs) must encompass every ac­tion which maintains and perpetuates order in a so­ciety.
Public Affairs must in­clude Education (how and what our children), Social Services, Community Develop­ment, Culture, The Arts, Health, Trade and Industry, Tourism, Housing, Sport, Gender Issues, Transparency, The Judiciary, Local Government, and all activities that take place under the Sun that shines on Trinidadians and Tobagonians. There are over-arching universal values which must be taught if we have to maintain and perpetuate an orderly society, and our Politics must reflect these teachings. Values such as respect for life, honesty, truthfulness, the value of educa­tion, empathy, honoring the elders, history, caring, orderly conduct, discipline, production and the fact that no Trinidadian or Tobagonian has any more right than the other to be walking on this blessed earth. It must also include Human Rights, the importance of Rules, Regula­tions, Laws and Consequences for any conduct which contributes to societal disorder and chaos.
Andy Johnson’s “Time for a new reckoning” in the Daily Ex­press of January 8th begins with a quote which Gregory Aboud is reported as saying that our society is “suffering from a failure to im­plement and a failure to govern.” Total disorder. He continues: the “defective Constitution that we created at Independence, is mak­ing it difficult to catch a murderer, or to stop or create a situation in which we will have a high pres­ence of teachers in classes and a rapid ability to deliver surgery in the hospital.” The Chamber of Commerce is calling on all citi­zens to come together to make the changes that are necessary to turn things around in this country. For over 15 years, the Trinidad and Tobago Association of Psycholo­gists has been offering to assist. In 1989 there was a Consultation on Indiscipline in Schools convened by the Ministry of Education in association with TTUTA.
At that time there were adoles­cents attending schools on a shift system, thousands of adolescents across Trinidad and Tobago had as much as six hours a day unsuper­vised. Unsupervised adolescents, with no one to make them feel good about themselves, no one to help them recognize their talent, no one to help them to understand their pur­pose for being born and that they are valued and valuable another recipe for disorder and chaos.

To be continued