Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Hopelessness stalks our land


Mark Fraser

There is very little one can do to change Trinidad and Tobago. For many who dared to march against crime, it seems that as suggested by the British High Commissioner Arthur Snell there is nothing new or innovative in addressing the concerns of the population. The high commissioner said “I am genuinely unable to discern any distinctive policy of any major political grouping in this country beyond, ‘When we are in power we look after our people.’ As far as I can tell that seems high on the manifesto”.

Many things seem difficult when there is no will to address them. There will always be excuses and explanations supporting inaction as long as there are individuals benefiting from the perpetuation of lawlessness and disorder. If there are land surveys identifying every parcel of land in our nation and policies to ensure that all our lands are managed properly there will not be the opportunity to give-away State lands to law-breaking squatters or to assign letters of comfort in return for political support. If there were to be structured approach, void of nepotism or cronyism, to infrastructure maintenance and construction within the community, then there will be little opportunity for political groups to persuade gangs or sector of our society to attend their rallies, put up their posters and bully the undecided to join their party.

After both major political parties have been in office for a considerable length of time and billions of dollars spent, we are yet to have State issued and manufactured vehicle licence plates, an electronic database of vehicles together with driver’s licence information available to all law enforcement bodies in real time.

There is no legislation supporting plea bargaining as an effort to reduce the number of outstanding cases before the court, no gun and night court to deal expeditiously with violent crime and gun-related crimes and no structured police patrols. There is no expansion of municipal and local police patrols and no new firearm legislation to allow law-abiding citizens access to legal firearms.

Our citizens have come to accept unsolved murders, poor health care, periodic water supply, beaches without change rooms or toilets, trap guns and marijuana in the forests, and court cases dismissed due to lack of evidence or witness unwillingness to testify.

We have accepted as normal business the need to pay for free government services and to pay public officials to do that which is required of them. What can one say to Conwall and the many others who seem to have lost hope in Trinidad and Tobago? Can our nation rise above the levels of ineptitude and hopelessness that pervades our land? What would inspire or citizens to unite once again in the interest of our nation?

It is my hope that belief in God and our people can be the foundation of a determination to find the strength to say no to greed and selfishness and yes to standing up for what is right.

Together we must hold on to the belief that we can change this land for the better. We must, for our children and the future of our country, believe again.

Steve Alvarez

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