Carmen hardly stood a chance
I dedicate this letter to our friend and neighbour, Carmen Ramjattan, of Sunkist Drive, Phillipine, who would have been brutally murdered some time on Wednesday.
I asked of myself and my students at the University of Trinidad and Tobago: how do we reconcile this gruesome act with the fact that she was the ultimate God-fearing woman—more active in his service and that of her fellowman than most—and we could find no rational answer.
But I think I do have an answer as to why this criminal would have snuffed out the life of this woman who did not deserve to die!
Maybe it all started in the home where he was able to get away with murder because of parents who never existed in that role for him; or at school when he will have smashed a window or slapped a child and the principal would have been ready to deliver some swift justice, some well-meaning counsellor would have tried to understand his behaviour and so try to reform him, but already socialised in the home to believe there is no consequence to wrongdoing, here again in school, there is nothing to deter him—a train of thought which would become his personal culture and which he would take into the wider society as he grew into becoming an adult.
And here again he was led to believe he could get away with small things, and later bigger things like murder, because in the first instance the law could not catch him because it lacked the resources to do so, or that there would be some corrupt officer who would turn his eye away for a fee; or his community, living off his spoils, would be willing to conceal him; and if even he were caught, some cobo lawyer, picking up the scraps to make a buck, would be willing to defend him, and if he had the money from ill-gotten gains, he could hire a smart crack-shot who could get him off on a technicality or because of a lack of witnesses who could be easily intimidated or eliminated altogether.
And with everything in his favour, wouldn't this criminal at least fear for his life if he is tried and found guilty, you may ask?
How could he?—when, with no love from a parent or someone to really care, would life seem worth living? In any event, in the world around him, death has become a way of life, with thousands being murdered every day, or some willing to give up theirs for their spiritual salvation, or like US rapper 50 Cent, willing "to get rich or die trying"?
The cards were stacked against Carmen from the beginning, for this criminal knew he could act without fear of the consequence of his actions—and this is where it must begin.
We may console ourselves and say only the good die "young" or she is with her Lord and master because he loved her so! We will also say let the reformists continue with their reform and rehabilitation. But in the meantime, this scourge which has invaded our beloved country must be rooted out once and for all by those charged with this responsibility.
Dr Errol Benjamin