Archive for October 19th, 2008

October 19, 2008

Sad testament


Temporarily back from my panicked attempts to arrange my ABC islands writing trip. At work today producing news one of our cameramen asked a reporter if she was told she had to spend two weeks in either Baghdad or Morvant ( a suburb of Port of Spain) which would she choose? He answer was immediately Baghdad. I answered Baghdad too as did another reporter. He actually added that at least in Baghdad he might have a fighting chance. This troubled me.


To check further I called several of my friends and each one of them also answered Baghdad ( one venturing that he might al least make it on CNN there if he died). The unanimous choice of Baghdad rather than a dangerous area of the capital is telling. This country has reached such a sorry state that people would choose a war ravaged city where mortar bombs and snipers are still a fact of life to  staying in an urban area on a Southern Caribbean island. Given that our murder toll for the year has just surpassed 437 it might not actually be an unwise choice. Trinidad and Tobago may not be rising up the world charts in terms of transparency or human development but we now have the dubious distinction of being in the top five most homicide prone nations on earth.


I suppose the other advantage of Baghdad is that there is a visible security presence on the ground. Even if you still end up being blown to smithereens at least you have the mental comfort of seeing that there is the possibility someone will be able to reduce the chances of it happening. In the rougher parts of Port of Spain even UPS and FedEx refuse to deliver packages. Despite government promises year after year that they have plans afoot the crime rate is headed out of control and it is my understanding that in the past three years only 77 new officers have been added to the force while many more than that have retired or just left the service.


It seems that nobody in authority is doing anything to address either the growing violence or the underlying causes of dispossessed youth. The Government’s ridiculous policy of using a system of welfare relief that involves getting 10 days of manual labour in exchange for pay or CEPEP which is organized through independent contractors paying for maintenance projects is actually encouraging gangs and violence. Just let people prove they are looking fo rwork and give them a damned welfare cheque…it isn’t rocket science.


Am I hopeful things are going to get better? Nope. Do I think they will get a lot worse? Hell yes.

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October 19, 2008




I will blog tomorrow. Right now I am planning the ABC islands and nothing will stop me. There is something about signing contracts that makes previous plans null and void.