The ways we encourage crime
"Crime in T&T must be dealt with by those who have the authority to do it," an official said recently.
With the greatest of respect to the maker of this statement and to all who think like this without recognising that we – each individual citizen of Trinidad and Tobago – are the ones charged with the authority to deal with crime, I say wake up from your dream and join with those of us committed to changing the nightmare reality that we, the very awake citizens of T&T, are seeking to change.
It is only by the toil of each individual, each family and each community that our country will change. It will not happen through the policies of any government or by the strength of a police service or the military.
I am not inciting violence or vigilante conduct. What I am advocating is the acceptance of "responsibility"… each citizen has to accept responsibility for the state of our country and then we can accept the responsibility to change our country. Let us not fool ourselves into thinking that we are not responsible for the state of our country.
It is our encouragement of crime and lawlessness in all forms, our disinterest in the social, ethical, economic and political development of our country, our individualistic and selfish attitude towards life and the ease with which we accept corruption that has caused crime to fester and grow in T&T.
When we run a red light, take a highway shoulder to avoid traffic, offer a bribe to a police officer to avoid a traffic ticket or pay a licensing officer to get a driver's licence we are encouraging crime.
When we say and do nothing to our children who come home with shoes, clothes etc. that we did not buy we encourage crime.
When we justify crime on the basis that, "he wasn't going to hurt anybody, he was just looking for something to eat", what exactly are we doing? Unemployed parents who enjoy the luxuries provided by their children/grandchildren knowing that those children and grandchildren are themselves unemployed… what are you doing?
Responsibility must be accepted at all levels of our society. People must learn to respect themselves, to respect life and we must correct and not encourage and participate in all the wrong that we see around us.
I make no apologies for my statement and no, I don't have all the answers. What I do have is one idea, that by changing my conduct, my way of life, accepting responsibility for my past behaviour as well as the responsibility to change the future, something good will happen in T&T. Something will change! Let us all join in bringing about this change in our land!
S Damien Alexander