Dr. Kwame Nantambu

Decoding Crime in T&T

By Dr. Kwame Nantambu
February 12, 2014

One of the apparently unknown realities of crime in T&T is the fact that neither the current People's Partnership (PP) government, a People's National Movement (PNM) government nor an Independent Liberal Party (ILP) government can solve/prevent certain crimes in this country.

For example, if as occurred quite recently, an aggrieved ex-husband decides to kill his ex-wife, then, there is absolutely nothing any of the afore-mentioned or the Commissioner of Police can do to prevent/stop this familial crime.

If relatives have a heated dispute over a piece of land (as occurs frequently in T&T) and one of them decides to adjudicate the matter by the other relative, then, there is absolutely nothing the afore-mentioned or the Commissioner of Police can do to stop/prevent this familial crime.

In addition, if a jilted man (as in got horned) internalizes his hurt by shooting and killing his former, lover , common law wife, then, the same holds very true.

The fact of the matter is that crimes of passion are beyond the reach of policing and governmental authorities, period. And that's the nature of the beast call crime in T&T today. Indeed, the record reveals that no government has ever formulated policies to deal effectively with prevalence of domestic violence in this country, period.

On the flip side, this writer must hasten to state that the root cause crime in T&T is two-fold, namely, the foreign, as in United States subliminal influence and the supreme propensity for crass materialism/material values.

In other words, crime in T&T is foreign-driven and material value-related. By way of elucidation, it is an accepted national truism that Trinbagonians love foreign, preferably the negative aspects. That's a fact.

Ergo, one finds that today young Trinbagonian men walk around with their pants down to their knees, albeit proudly exposing their underwear, a la criminals in prison in the United States. And they walk with an attitude. Trinbagonians love to mimic things foreign, period.

The other salient aspect of things foreign is culinary crime which is directly correlated/associated with the plethora and proliferation of American fast food outlets in every nook and cranny in T&T.

And of course, the latest crazy craze in T&T is the intractable phenomenon of bullying in school by both male and female students (with their school uniform on). Now, the automatic Afri-centric question that comes to the fore is: where is the locus of origin of this behaviour?--- it is certainly not Laventille, Nelson Street or San Juan, period. This juvenile chupidness is another valid example of Tinbagonians mimicking the most negative aspects and anti-social behaviour of a foreign country.

The correlative aspect of crime is the issue of values. Indeed, it is an accepted national truism in T&T today that one is judged by how one looks and not by who one is. That's the intrinsic modus vivendi in this country today.

Ergo, if a young person does not possess the necessary educational qualifications to get a quality paying, then, crime becomes the option of last resort to acquire those material things--- looks mean everything in T&T today, period. And young people are determined to acquire material things, as in bling/bling, "by any and all means necessary" a la insane "5o cents philosophy" --- "total madness."

A corollary variable is the advent of gangs in T&T. Now, where is the locus of origin of this chupid phenomenon? It is certainly not Laventille, Nelson Street or San Juan. Bottom-line: Trinbagonians love to mimic things foreign. And one does not need a Ph.D. In Applied Econometrics to figure that out.

On the other hand, older Trinbagonians both male and female who crave "nice things" but don't want, albeit totally refuse, to work for them now elect to travel the crime route. This is overtly reflected in the incidents involving well-known and respected entertainment personalities such as Shadow, the Baron and Denyse Plummer. Crime in T&T is not gender-based, period.

Truth Be Told: In order to deal with the ever exponential increase/spike in crime in T&T, the PP government must advocate/formulate policies so that young Trinbagonians would look inward to emulate local role models and exemplars instead of mimicking foreign things and people 24-7-365.

The fact of the matter is that the issuance of more guns to police as a crime fighting strategy/policy is not the solution because the salient reality is that the criminals are already miles ahead of law enforcement officers in terms of quality/effective ammunition. Such a policy represents the problem with crime in T&T.

In the final analysis, the crime situation in T&T brings to the fore the stark reality that criminals do not put a very high premium /value on human life. Criminals have absolutely no respect for the law and law enforcement authorities. However, this writer is totally convinced that the only person criminals will respect is the hang man, period.

Shem Hotep ("I go in Peace").

Dr. Kwame Nantambu is a part-time lecturer at Cipriani College of Labour and Co-operative Studies.

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