Looking on at the daily body count as it piles up around Trinidad and Tobago makes you wonder if we aren’t looking at our own home-made version of the movie Pulp Fiction II.
The fiction is fuelled by the Ministry of National Insecurity, which presides over the collapse and total failure of any feelings of safety and security that the citizenry may have otherwise had in this fair land of ours. The ineptitude, bumbling and fumbling from the top all the way down is not only distressing and traumatic to the nation, but is also a source of national embarrassment to everyone. The travel advisories keep coming thick and fast, and the world is beginning to slowly shape and fashion a view of Trinidad and Tobago as a violent, undesirable place to visit. We worry about the effect the crime has on visitors and potential visitors, but what about the effect it has on us who have to live here?
What about the business people in San Juan and El Socorro and Aranguez who live in fear and trepidation, not knowing if each waking day would be their last? What about the workers at these business places whose lives are put in danger with each hold-up or robbery? Deputy Police commissioner Gilbert Reyes is on record as saying that there is an increasing trend, and I dare say a disturbing, for murders to occur as a by-product of robberies gone awry. So these criminals are no longer content to come to your place and to rob, steal and pillage, if you look at them the wrong way or if they feel there is the chance of any resistance from you, they would not hesitate to kill you. What are the citizens to do? Many of those who apply for firearms licences are denied, maybe with good reason. Still, one can empathise with the growing feeling of helplessness that these businessmen feel, almost as if they are sitting ducks, just waiting for armed bandits to come and pick them off.
Many folks who could afford it and who have the right arrangements in place are fleeing the country and migrating, but what about those who are left behind, where do we run to, where do we flee? We are not fortunate as the leaders and government ministers who have the protection of so many police outriders with flashing sirens and armed bodyguards. We are naked, exposed and vulnerable, forced, where we could afford it, to hire private security firms to try to provide some semblance of the security that the State does not provide for us. Security of the person is one of our fundamental constitutional guarantees and while the framers of our Constitution obviously did not contemplate a situation such as this, they may actually be understandable and amenable to someone seeking to use the guarantee of this constitutional freedom in a novel way to launch a constitutional motion in this regard.
It would certainly have widespread public support as there are so many of our citizens who are traumatised and terrorised on a daily basis that people just feel like they are being beaten to a pulp, except that this is no fiction. This is for real, there is no Hollywood script with a director who can yell “cut” when the actors have had enough. No, this is a reality series, being played out every day in the lives of citizens who are unwilling actors and participant victims in a national bloodbath and reign of terror from criminals. We are writing our own real-life horror story in this land each day, each day the new dawn rises to the smell of fresh blood on the streets, another notch in someone’s belt, another life snuffed out, another cold body on its way to the even colder storage and examination facility at the Forensic Science centre on Barbados Road.
This is no Arnie movie but yet we are told by the lead director that this is just collateral damage. It is not a Denzil Washington remake of American Gangster, yet the Police keep telling us that it is all gang-related, as if this somehow makes it acceptable. We have seen crime plan after crime plan come and fail miserably one after the other and somebody ends up laughing all the way to the bank with millions of our dollars while the criminals grow stronger, more brazen and more organised.
The nation has grown so weary of these failed plans and failed promises that even as the latest announced crime plan seems still born and yet to see the light of day, it does not even evoke a yawn from a jaded, defeated nation as they view the Prime Minister’s great promise of this new crime plan as nothing more than another version of Pulp Fiction.
Extracted From: Trinidad Guardian Newspaper