If you've been following this space you may have noticed that the posts have been few and far between this year. It's not because I didn't have anything to say, quite the contrary, there was too much to say, too many things to comment on against the backdrop of my "day job" and the boundaries of what could and could not be expressed. Mysterious enough for you? Some of you know my alter ego, the one that works for a living so you know what I'm referring to.
A lot of things have happened in the past ten months, things that turned the way I thought of myself and my circumstances on the side. All these questions about my beliefs, who I am and what is right. Philosophical questions but striking at the heart of a life long conviction that with life, there comes responsibility for the circumstances in which you live. A few years ago, a blogger called Angry African got me thinking again, and another blogger, aka Slacker fueled my muse and so I wrote. And then my ability to write without fear was swallowed by the every present concern that it what was said would adversely affect my other life.
Well, enough of that. This blog was going to be about the things that were of concern. A little rusty but here goes.
Crime - here in Trinidad we go on and on about how crime is so bad, we have Crime Watch, plans for crime etc. What it seems to me is that there is little attempt at solving the issues that create a situation where the criminals can flourish. You see, Crime is treated as though it is a nebulous entity, sort of like the forces that Agent 86 battled in Get Smart. It is not people who commit crimes, nope, it is CRIME who is on the loose. What utter stupidity. The criminal element is alive and well here, flourishing nicely thank you. They don't need any help getting their stuff done. No, it's us poor citizens at their mercy who have to be worried.
So why the constant burying our heads in the sand and the lack of acknowledgement that quite frankly, our policing sucks, the factors that allow the situation to prosper are well supported and of course, it takes forever to prosecute someone even if it does go to court. And this does not even start to address the social issues that create a platform for criminals to operate in. Newsflash, the Commissioner of Police cannot do it alone, he's not Batman and this is not Gotham City. Without a concerted effort by the whole machinery associated with active policing the prevention/detection/conviction rate will certainly not decrease. The whole system has to be overhauled but instead we will consult, write plans, flounder around making statements and promises but in the end, do we really want anything to change? Are we committed to reporting criminal activity? Are we serious about anything that means we have to be active participants instead of joining Facebook groups, signing the occasional petition or putting on our sneakers for the march in the sun before going off to whatever activity. Do we really understand that it is going to take a fundamental behaviour shift for us as a country? Are we ready for that?
And then there is the fact that we changed the political party in Government. But did we change the government? And why do we always feel that putting someone into power is the only thing we have to do? Sure it's a start but what about holding them accountable for our expectations? What about having realistic expectations? What about saying enough of the talking and more about the doing? More about the issues as less about the "picong". Remembering that no one is perfect but no one is all bad either. Every political party has its pros and cons, do not expect that they will not fail at some things, they will, they're human not Gods. But also remember that you have a duty as a citizen to hold them accountable; whether for perceived squandermania or lack of cohesive, implementable plans. Unless you have a dictator or tyrant you have a voice, use it. Don't just sit by going, is for the Government to do, they are not your parents so you will have to provide things for yourself too. The Government's job is to provide effective strategies, systems and policies to move a country forward. There is an expectation that they will provide adequate social services, access to health care, potable running water, electricity, roads, education, housing etc. However, there is a difference between a service and a hand-out. Know the difference, understand what is political talk and what is a sustainable development.
Lots of things to think about, so many subjects to choose from. Think, question, speak up, it's your responsibility.