Thursday, April 25, 2024
HomeEducation / CultureOf fowls and cockroaches

Of fowls and cockroaches

By Johnny Coomansingh

With respect to the serious and never-ending crime issues in Trinidad and Tobago, I am indeed very sorry. People who give the urgent and clarion calls asking for the death penalty and the mutilation of human beings like themselves are blatantly wrong. Such people are probably talking “tongue in cheek.” They should know that in Trinidad and Tobago, we must learn to turn the other cheek and welcome with grace, a hard and wicked slap. We must say like the great sage who is crucified, supplicated: “… forgive them for they know not what they do.”

In essence, we must learn to continue taking little pieces of scratch paper to Amnesty International to “spare the rod” against insurgents, religious or otherwise, those who commit treason to engage in toppling our democratically instated government. We must learn to give our clothes, food, money, jewellery, expensive cell phones, house, land, cars, daughters, sons, wives; everybody we love, and everything we worked hard to own to the hoodlums, vagabonds, criminals, gun-toting bandits, and murderers who stalk our land fully armed with all kinds of sophisticated weapons. When we have exhausted all that we protect, cherish, and hold dear, then there will be no need to be frightened and to live in fear because we have nothing more for the evil miscreants to appropriate.

Yes, my dear citizens, that is the state we now have with a toothless, bungling government; a government that has no clue how to stem the tide, no, the tsunami of crimes here in Trinidad and Tobago.

Should I describe Trinidad and Tobago as a failed state?

As far as my training in political geography informs, a failed state is a state that has lost its ability to fulfil fundamental security and development functions, lacking effective control over its territory and borders.

Do you think that any of the members of parliament care? Not until something terrible happens to one of them or their loved ones. Narcolepsy seems to be the trend in parliament.

My research shows that El Salvador has the highest murder rate in the world (52.02/100000) but maybe they forgot to run the stats about Trinidad. Ian Alleyne on his Crime Watch program highlighted that on March 19, 2024, there were 123 murders; 1.57 murders per day! Is Trinidad and Tobago a killing field?

When I was a graduate student in the United States (1996-2005) I used to read the Express newspaper every day. What I saw back then was to stay far from Trinidad and Tobago until I could return like a professional vagrant eating from some downtown garbage can. I am a Trini to mih heart (to the bone) but one must be wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove.

Do you think any foul gunman would want anything to do with a barefooted vagrant-like man in dirty tattered clothes? Do you think they would want to even pass near to smelly, “black on black” me?

The adage: “Yuh cyar play mas an ‘fraid powder” is quite apt here. If some people want to live in Trinidad and Tobago, if they want to be on the prosperous side of the continuum, then they will have to adjust to the mania that is overtaking this place. This is not an exaggeration. They will have to learn quickly how to dodge bullets, knives, and cutlasses everywhere they pass. My mother told me that “cockroach cyar live in front fowl.” One has to know whether he or she is a fowl or cockroach and then rally to suit.

Where is the “One Love” and or motto: “Together We Aspire, Together We Achieve?”

Where are our watchwords? “Discipline, Production, and Tolerance?” What is the meaning of the first line from the national anthem: “Forged from the love of liberty?”

This country has bred a generation of criminals whose venom is wreaking havoc on the society. What have we become? The authorities have failed miserably to put a halt to the unending trauma of violent crime that has hit Trinidad and Tobago.

With regard to the religious element, I am not even hearing the church preaching about good behaviour anymore. Presently, I am of the view that there isn’t a God strong enough in the land to protect the praying few. In one of my books titled: Sweet and Sour Trinidad and Tobago published in 2010, I penned: “God and the devil cyar dwell in the same place, everybody know dat! Dis place is hell! It is as though there is an odium of evil stalking the land. Maybe God decided to take a holiday, a long holiday; maybe God is afraid to be shot or knifed by some arrogant bandit…there is no need for Jesus to die twice and certainly not in Trinidad. Note carefully dat Jesus never eat any cascadura so he eh go dead in Trinidad. I eh think dat the Sea of Galilee had any cascadura.”

Christ is not coming here to get stabbed or shot by some crazy gunman. I am sure that he did not eat any cascadura fish. Sam Selvon, author of A Brighter Sun quoted the poet Allister Macmillan who explained: “… those who eat the cascadura will, the native legend says, wheresoever they may wander, end in Trinidad their days.” This poem certainly does not apply tuh Jesus. Almost 14 years after I published the book, we have not found a solution to our problems with the level of crime in Trinidad and Tobago; the crime situation got worse. Last weekend, there were eleven murders!

A few moons ago, the present Commissioner of Police (CoP) told the citizens to pray. Pray? Yes, pray!

With all the bullets flying around everywhere, I am wondering if she continues to pray or hiding somewhere. The church is afraid to come out and stand up against the disorder. It seems that the only way to feel safe is to get home as early as possible. As Raoul Pantin (deceased journalist) said a long time ago, we must get inside and lock our doors by six o’clock in the evening and don’t go back outside. Locking our doors is one thing but the spate of home invasions is another. Burglars are scaling fences, removing the door hinge pins, and calmly walking into homes as though they own the house.

It is abundantly clear, that citizens are scared! Nowhere is safe, and no one is safe in Trinidad and Tobago. My advice, find a safe haven, but alas, Trinidad is too small for anyone to hide. Find a safe place to reside until the dust settles. In other words, “get to hell out of Dodge!”

Why should I be living in torment and fear? Why should I be living in jail? My visit to Antigua a few years ago saw me counting on my ten fingers how many houses were burglar-proofed with steel fabrications. In Trinidad and Tobago, I could guarantee that every home and business place has some kind of burglar-proofing, security cameras, and alarm systems.

Why should I be thinking reprehensible thoughts about what to do with the criminals?

Desmond Tutu said: “Life is too short to be nasty.” The Lord’s prayer said that we must learn to forgive those who trespass against us. Hangings and mutilation would not solve the problem because the problem is bigger than we think. What we are experiencing in Trinidad are but the symptoms of underlying cancer or curse in our once peaceful society. In a civil society, the law is to be upheld, but when the leaders themselves are breaking the law then what do we have? It is the sum of one word. Chaos!



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