A letter recently published in the media called for intervention by British security forces to curb the crime wave currently affecting Trinidad and Tobago.
While we may envy the British and their apparent grip on criminal activities, especially their extremely low per capita murder rate, we must recognise that the British do not have a recent past filed with measures designed to aid and abet criminal behaviour.
A child, it is said is not born a criminal. The infant’s mind at birth is a virtual sponge and his/her character is moulded and influenced by experiences encountered in the process of growing up.
What happens in an environment where lawlessness is not only evident all around but where it is utilised by authorities to entrench themselves in power?
Whether these events were deliberate or borne out of negligence by governing administrations is a whole, separate debate.
The consequences however are real, and without doubt directly attributable to these misdemeanours.
The British did not allow a whole generation of young school children to be left totally unsupervised for five half days every week through a brilliant decision to have a shift system in schools.
Money was passing through the economy like a dose of salts at that time but the administration at that time did not see it fit to construct the physical infrastructure to take care of our precious youths.
The British authorities did not and would not allow food vendors to illegally set up shop at the side of the road without hygienic facilities, not even running water, all to allow the small man to eat ah food. (Has anyone seen what is happening at the Lady Young Lookout? Stay tuned for a riot and blocking of road soon.)
They would not allow “the small man” to sell illegal copies of DVDs and CDs in the open.
They would not wine and dine criminal warlords at expensive hotels in order to buy political points.
They would not fund known gangs via multi-million dollar contracts so that the gangs can equip themselves with the latest guns to carry out their trade.
Are we at all surprised that the murder rate is escalating?
If the smaller crimes are not punished but promoted instead, just where do we draw the line? What is a small crime as opposed to a biggy?
The lessons of the old maxim “take care of the small things and the big things will take care of themselves” are yet to be learned.
We have learnt, however, what “the chickens have come home to roost” means.