CHIEF JUSTICE Ivor Archie says Trinidad and Tobago is a violent society.
Speaking yesterday at a conference on violence against children organised by the Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Rape Crisis Society, Archie said he is not at all consoled by the fact that violence is present in every country.
"We often tend to use that sort of observation as an excuse for inaction," he said.
"I am also disturbed by the sometimes pointed references to culture, ethnic origin and even age when we seek to define 'hot- spots' of violence in our country. Moreover, we continue to be reactionary, seeming to wait to see violence occurring before another plan is put in place."
Archie said the conference, held at Hyatt Regency Hotel, Wrightson Road, Port of Spain, is timely and important since it comes at a time when Trinidad and Tobago remains in the grip of a cycle of almost unprecedented violence.
"Not only are our children, in every instance, victims of that violence either directly or indirectly, but there are instances in which they are caught up also, directly or indirectly, in aiding and abetting such violence.
"Surely, the father of this nation and first Prime Minister, Dr Eric Williams, did not even remotely envision such a state of affairs when he told our children on the first day of our independence that the future of this nation lay in their schoolbags. I am sure he never countenanced book bags as anything else but that, surely not receptacles for knives, for guns and other weapons and even porn, all tools of violence.
"We are all familiar with the more egregious individual examples (of) physical and sexual violence, but we are sometimes oblivious to the fact that collectively, we are a violent society," Archie said.