CRY THE BELOVED COUNTRY by T G. MENDES
When, for political expediency, Eric Williams boasted to his adoring supporters that “Massa day done” and “Money is no problem” he unwittingly – or otherwise – established the foundations of the “failed state,” a definition which T&T has since earned under PM Keith Christopher Rowley, leader of the latest iteration of the PNM which Williams founded and led from ‘56 to his demise in ‘82. While national pride still makes the admission of that definition difficult to accept or admit, T&T’s current murder rate, already comfortably in excess of the number of days in 2020, leaves no room for dispute from pride or patriotism! Not unless the fact that a nation elects the Govt it deserves can be credibly, effectively or democratically disputed!
Clearly, T&T did not overnight degenerate from the law abiding British colony which it was until 1962 to what it is today, If not, therefore as a result of William’s vainglorious and inaccurate boasts quoted above, how or why else has T&T degenerated so rapidly into a haven of corrupt politics and heavily armed criminals? Of far more immediate and greater import, if yet at all possible, short of returning “cap in hand” to the former colonial power with the request that they save us from ourselves, how else is the rapid slide into total social and criminal anarchy to be arrested?
The school is an “incubator” for criminals
Since the schoolyard, like the public thoroughfare too, has also degenerated into lawlessness and violence, there is a school of thought which has not inaccurately described the school as an “incubator” for criminals. Significantly, however, such observations were never heard before the allegedly “humane” view that corporal punishment, by which order was maintained by the schoolmaster in educational institutions, was no longer considered acceptable in civilized societies! What other options therefore are available to the hapless school teacher via which he might maintain order and educate high spirited and naturally mischievous students in the average Govt. school? If therefore “the child is indeed father of the man” then is the inability of the schoolmaster to enforce his own authority via his inability to apply corporal punishment to the fractious or rebellious pupil not a significant contributor to current social anarchy?
By the same token, in those bad old Colonial days could T&T, with a population of less than 1.4 million, in any year have ever conceived of a murder total in excess of 500 victims? In those “bad old days” the potential murderer was discouraged by the assurance that his own life, upon detection and conviction, was forfeit for his crime! When Britain, in the twilight of its greatness, discovered a social conscience which outlawed the execution of murderers as barbaric T&T felt it necessary to “follow suit”. Why?
While Britain with Scotland Yard and a higher level of education and social interaction could have afforded to be humane – what is T&T’s justification for not halting rampant and bloody crime by putting its long retired hangman back to work? Wake up T&T, it is time to re-open the book on the retention of law and order written by that much reviled British Colonialism!
The urgent return to corporal punishment in both school and courtroom is now the only path back to civility and the rule of law and order – the alternative bears not contemplation.