Until the chickens come home...

 The powers that be and a few others are offended about the most recent British travel advisory to our lovely T&T. Those pesky Brits have ruffled a few feathers, and tourism will probably be sacrificed at the altar of the Ministry of National Security. But who needs tourism when oil and gas are being discovered and quantified by billions of barrels? So what if Tobago suffers? Tobago has always been treated like the stepchild. The idea that God is Trini predates Hurricane Flora.

As recent as last week I condemned the powers-that-be for their PR stunts, where they conveniently massage and manipulate statistics in furtherance of political agendas and dead-end careers. As luck would have it, there’s the aphorism: “you can fool some of the people….”  

After each episode of a few people getting murdered, the acting Commissioner of Police, or one of his many PR personnel, appears to comfort us with the mantra that “crime is down”. And it’s business as usual. We were also told recently that the Police Service should not be judged by murders alone, but by their overall performance.

Has anyone, besides my good, dishonourable self, taken the time to look at their website? I refer to what the stats on “crimes reported” and “crimes detected”, say on stolen vehicles. January 2013 reports 100 stolen vehicles, with three detections; February gets better with 101 stolen, with a marked improvement of four detections. So Mr Williams, in all fairness to you sir, it stands to reason that we are not judging your organisation by murders alone. Irony would also have it that we the peasants are usually told the Police Service  is “doing the best we can”. It’s too bad the Brits didn’t buy the PR gimmicks. I shudder to think of your organisation’s concept of “the best”.  

It is high time that the police recognise that their “best” is just not good enough, as this organisation seems to be working with a quota, except when it comes to drug “reports” and detection where the stats are again massaged and manipulated, as the reported and detection rates are always, conveniently 100 per cent. After all, who makes reports of illegal drugs? 

But for those who have chosen to conveniently forget, the British had sounded a similar warning in December of 2012 along with the Canadians and the Americans. To me, the icing came last month when the Jamaican Ministry of Foreign Affairs warned their citizens—though for different reasons.  

It is frightening when the nations we are aspiring to be like are warning their citizens about travelling to T&T, about conditions we all know exist: our bad driving habits, our inferior roadways, our collective lawlessness which has been left unchecked for years, while dysfunctional, clueless people at the top twerk with a dysfunctional system, comprising dysfunctional people.  

But Christmas is in the air. Most of us are unconcerned with foreign advisories, going about our business as usual—under stress. It is quite unfortunate that the peasants have adapted to the murders and mayhem which surround us; we have become immune to the reports of murders, unless heads are discovered on main thoroughfares. We move on, convincing ourselves that the victims “look for that”, or they “had that coming” or “karma”, or they “lived by the sword”….until the day the chickens come home to roost. We convince ourselves that we are protected in our fire-hazard castles, with burglar bars, while we sleep light to detect “strange noises” and hoping and praying the threat would go away. 

Rudy Chato Paul, Sr


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