Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Can we ever be better off?

Raffique Shah’s views in the Sunday Express of June 15 have been criticised by Theodore Lewis who missed the conclusion—ours is a sick society. The points made were that our synthetic world will collapse and the wealthy should realise they are both culpable and vulnerable. Unfortunately, Prof Lewis did not apply the analysis necessary, adding heat, not light, to the discussion.

Mr Shah bought into the myth of “prolific breeders’’: Laventille has the same as the national average for children in households—2.2 —but like the rest of the nation it grapples with a teen pregnancy issue. Both men are wrong in blaming the victim, the young black male: they believe these men choose the lifestyle. Prof Lewis sees the problem but has not understood the connections.

Mr Shah makes the connections but does not understand the problem. The reality is we live in two worlds. In one world, mothers struggle in low paying jobs to keep body and soul together, without even sugar for tea, in the other world teens get a BMW as a gift and their biggest problem is which shoe to wear to the next party.

Prof Lewis conflates the “successful’’ women with the struggling sisters but they also face the same challenge. He should ask Singing Sandra about that.

Prof Lewis failed to correct Mr Shah on the issue of black mentors. The Elders of Laventille is not a fictional group. Laventille indeed has more than the national average of over 70s alive and well. The problem is that we could and should talk about the history but man has to eat. The appeal of the “eat ah food’’ syndrome was tested first in Laventille.

Look at the spectacle of the LifeSport participants who got $1,500 monthly but were defending a programme where millions were being misspent. Governments have spent bad money and never tackled the entirely solvable problem of “Laventille’’. Money has and is given in the most crooked ways to people who have their own agendas and contribute to destroying the communities. Despers went to Royal Albert Hall in 1972 but 40 years after they have to flee the Hills since tonnes of money were scattered to gut the community by powerful people for their own goals.

The work of the valiant few is undermined by the complicit encouragement of some police who indeed act as “pest control units’’. This view is shared by those who call out the “dogs of war’’ and the “culpable and vulnerable’’ wealthy. The real pity is they do not see their vulnerability until it hits home as with the Khoury or Seetahal murders.

We can fix these problems: this is not hoping against hope. It requires all parties—the communities, the business sector, the educational system and the Government—to work in tandem and with respect for each other. We have to imagine our brighter sun and reject our recent past. We have to work together with understanding beyond our local and personal concerns to see that we are losing the real battle on the world stage.

Noble Philip

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