Blurring the illegal fine line
It is really frustrating in dealing with the many issues facing this land; they continue to pile up one after the other. On Friday, after reading one story, I found it difficult to concentrate, and was upset for the entire day. The report told of a four-year-old who squeezed her finger and, I am still bothered by this and will be for a long time to come.
A couple days before, there was a story about a $40,000 conman who padded his CV, and who was demanding money owed to him for vacation.
Today tells another story of a group of people calling themselves the “Gamers Amusement Association” demanding to be “saved” largely on account of the “number of persons their association employs”. They sought a meeting with the CoP, the AG, et al, arguing that they are “willing to pay taxes and work with the Government”.
I have been wondering out loud for quite some time the logic behind legal and illegal in “this our native land”. The fine line which distinguishes the two has long been blurred. And since there are no penalties, no punishments, no enforcement of the laws, people have become progressively emboldened.
Such bold moves by citizens demanding the illegal be legalised comes as a result of minor laws not being enforced; where the boundaries are stretched to accommodate more brazen violations. All the while the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) keeps making demands for more money, more vehicles, more guns, bigger guns, more officers, because of their “stressful situation”.
This is seen perhaps best in the State’s inability to deal with squatting, which is illegal, yet squatters have “rights”. This concept is difficult to grasp, but evidently encourages the lawlessness.
We see it also in street vending, which is illegal, yet we have groups of people forming organisations and meeting with the relevant authorities demanding that space be provided and the relevant authorities acquiescing, going so far as to charge rental fees for use of certain roadways, on certain days, during certain seasons.
We also have a booming CD/DVD business where pirated music and movies are sold for a mere pittance with no consideration of the artistes, producers, et al, unless of course they are “local”.
And of course, we have the issue of “PH taxis”, a built-in oxymoron, a concept which Uncle Jack had no problem with, and which he attempted, but failed to regularise.
My logic here parallels that of the gamers group and other CV padders, and deserves a similar platform such as a meeting with the CoP, the AG and other relevant authorities from the Agricultural Society.
As someone with post PhD qualifications and over 45 years experience of cannabis cultivation, production, harvest and consumption, may I humbly suggest marijuana planters come together and form an association: The Marijuana Planters Association of Trinidad and Tobago (MPATT—not to be mistaken for the doctors, as our logo [a marijuana leaf] would demonstrate).
We demand that adequate lands be allocated where our crops can be cultivated, harvested and preserved without the intrusion of the TTPS, the Regiment, bandits, and/or any other relevant State bodies, since this cash crop provides “employment for many”, especially in light of the fact that the rural areas have been historically neglected by previous administrations. We are also “willing to pay taxes and work with the Government” in this matter.
Rudy Chato Paul, Sr