Trinidad and Tobago has been waiting in anticipation for Fake News CNN’s Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown rendering of life and culture in Trinidad and Tobago – presumably from a culinary viewpoint. Trinis would be critical of the negative aspects portrayed, but will have concede some truth in what is being said.
However, what is totally wrong (from the Trini participants) is the reasoning for the ills of this potentially harmonious soup of cultures and food – the crime, the gangs, the fact that Trinidad produces more recruits for terrorism per capita than any other jurisdiction in the Western Hemisphere. The fact that Port of Spain is among the leading urban centers for murder rates anywhere in the world.
Anthony calls out the bullshit of Mark Bassant who portrays himself as having a bulls-eye on his forehead by the killers of Dana Seetahal: “so why are you back?” meaning that when gangsters want you dead “they get you”. Bassant fools himself “There are really really good people that can make a difference on all fronts”. Even Mohamed whose father took part in the coup who sees himself as a social justice warrior was called out: blames the 1% for the failures of his generation. “In none of these causes Religious fundamentalism has not come up, every issue you have brought up is a perceived inadequacy of social justice” asks Anthony, after being given a mouthful on how his fathers generation was going to rebuild the country, prevent crime and poverty etc – this from someone who was 6 yrs old at the time.
The salient stupidity of Trinidadians is what stands out here. The inability of identify why we have social problems will ensure that it is never fixed while we are doomed to live the boom/bust cycle of any incompetent nation abundant in resources but not in human willpower.
There are THREE ELEMENTS responsible for Trinidad’s social problems. And there is no particular group to blame as everyone voted for the failed policies of successive administrations that have only succeeded in enriching their own. In the 1960’s Lyndon B Johnson was contemplating a strategy for the Democratic Party – being the party that opposed most of civil rights efforts, the party of Jim Crow – a plan was hatched to buy the get the votes of the African American population – Welfare. “We will have those N*%%ers voting Democrat for the next 200 years. LBJ canvased most of the black neighborhoods and had social workers tell women that they’d be entitled to free money from the government if there was no man in the house. This among other policies and the changing dynamic of the institution of marriage (in particular No Fault divorce, birth control) appears to line up perfectly with the rise of fatherlessness in the US. Subsequent to that – almost any jurisdiction almost anywhere in the world where fathers were no present, a high rate of social ills accompanied these mother only run homes. This, and the rise of progressivism that has very strong ‘anti patriarchal’ attitudes have lead to a very high rate of societal dysfunction – High rates of gang, drug/substance abuse, run aways, teen pregnancies, murders, gun violence, incarceration etc. It is not clear to what extent the reason these policies were adopted in Trinidad and Tobago, but we have much of the same here in the dysfunctional enclaves in society – high rates of fatherlessness, high priority of government welfare programs that are central to these communities, high rates of gangs and incarceration that all lead to the high murder/crime problem.
Another item we copied from the US, was its ill conceived War of Drugs. The War on Drugs is one of the most crippling phenomenon in the Western Hemisphere – started by Richard Nixon and it continues to today. It has taken an unimaginable toll on not just lives, crime rates, etc – but it cripples the Justice system with with people whose only crime is one against themselves. Not only that but it is the source of income that draws all these disadvantaged communities to partake in it. Unlike prohibition, that took a little over a decade to realize that it was a really bad idea, The War on Drugs have been going on for almost 50 years with no end in sight.
The Next Piece to the puzzle is the misguided idea of Gun Control. Gun Control laws pretend to keep guns out of the the wrong hands – but like so many progressive ideas – it does the opposite – it keeps guns out of the hand of good citizens and ensures that the only ones with guns are the bad guys. The wealthy and those in power know that even a good functioning police service cannot save you from an armed home intruder. They wont make it in time. That’s why there are provisions in all gun control laws to give guns to the wealthy and the politicians – that is when they dont have the state police personally guarding them and their property. But for the ordinary law abiding citizen – you are left to the mercy of an armed bandit who enters your property. Research in the US show that cities and communities that have Concealed Carry permits have much fewer gun deaths than cities that exercise strict gun control laws. In Trinidad almost ever bandit/criminal has or has access to arms and ammunition. Ordinary citizens can almost never get a permit, and seeing that he is a law abiding citizen he will remain unarmed and he and his family will remain unprotected in case of a robbery/break-in. Criminals will think twice about robbing a house/citizen who he suspects of having a gun. And dont fool yourself, bandits wont use liberal gun laws to go out and buy guns for their illegal activities from controlled channels.
These are things we can do something about – problems we created out of ignorance and stupidity – or just bad politics – but you wont hear these ideas discussed by any so called expert or politician. But you can.