Monday, 2 May 2011

State of the Nation: Tornado in a tea cup


State of the nation:

           Tornado in a teacup.



Where there’s love, there’s unity, where there’s unity, there’s progress.
It’s so simple, but the message is lost in the cacophony of what passes for national debate in Trinbago which we are apt to call a “blessed land.’

Every man with an ego that’s larger than life is fighting, whether he’s using divisive language to score points on others on the block, in the rumshop, at the office, in the boardroom, in parliament or just about everywhere they meet in caucus.
They are planning and plotting to bring down somebody, taking power into their hands, just as it was done to Jesus Christ who ended up nailed to a cross in Golgotha for speaking the truth.
After they crucified him in a manner most vile and placed on his head a crown of thorns, drove nails in his hands and feet , thinking that by placing him between two thieves they would have made him a thief worthy of his punishment they walked away satisfied with a job well done; beating their chests .
They did not know that by killing him they gave him new life! Thousands of years later, even the inheritors of the kingdom of spiritual wickedness still call the name of Jesus Christ, when it is convenient to them.
Because they will stop at nothing short of death: to kill an idea, to kill an ideal , to mash down hope, ultimately to crucify not just a man ( or woman) but the truth ,for in all that they say and do they do not practice the one commandment that supersedes all else, “Love one another.”
As the legend Bob Marley lamented “if puss and dog can get together; what’s wrong with loving one another! And so there is no progress at the office, in the boardrooms and in parliament.
They are running around helter skelter; their words and deeds showing them to be devoid of a sense of purpose. And so where there’s no conscience; there’s no consciousness.
It’s a tornado in a teacup; and even so my dear friend where they think they are being tossed and driven, the answer in blowing in the wind.
So, at this point I turn to another voice in the wilderness; that of Independent Senator Helen Drayton, whose contribution, in the Senate last Tuesday, on the Anti gang legislation, was lost on the cacophony of “he say, she say” that passed for a debate from both sides of the political divide in both the Lower and Upper House for several weeks.
Obviously, there was no space in the popular media for the reasoning of the goodly lady who questioned the severity of the legislation not on the grounds that the persons who drafted the bill had a racial bias against one constituency, but on the basis of the class differences.
Clearly she did not see the link between the draconian legislation and the stated philosophy of the Ministry of National Security as it moves towards community work and mentorship.
“What is the boundary of severity?” Mrs. Drayton asked late last Tuesday afternoon
“Can judges apply discretion in this bill with respect to non custodial sentences?”
Up to the time of writing, there was no answer; it must be blowing in the wind.
“All foreign legislation, that I have looked at ,make allowances because of the situation (that exists where poverty breeds crime),” she noted.
“Should there be an opportunity for reform?” the Independent pleaded, seeking clarification on the draconian 25 years sentences for persons accused, tried and convicted of being gang member.
“This is a dangerous piece of legislation because there is the high potential for abuse,” she said.
“ The police may not have evidence against a person about a specific crime but that person could go to jail for 72 days, with no bail, for being a member of a gang that committed a crime!
“The police only need to have evidence “reasonably” tending to show that he’s the member of a gang.
“He can be arrested based on a third party crime
“Normally in law the mere presence at a crime scene is not sufficient to say you commit a crime. This bill turns that around on its head,’ she warned.
“There’s huge potential for abuse in a justice system that not just imperfect.
"The legislation is weighted to disadvantage innocent citizens in some sectors.
“Crime is most visible in the poor and depressed communities, but it is most prevalent in the gated communities,” Mrs. Drayton noted.
“White collar criminals who steal development funds from youth have the means to clear their names when charged under draconian legislation.
“A person charged with depositor’s fraud will spend ten years in prison, though the fine is one million dollars,” she further explained.
“Under the Prevention of Corruption Act, fraud will get you ten years in jail and a fine of 500- thousand dollars.
“The foundation and the infrastructure is not there to support the legislation; to protect the life of parents and other children from gang members.
“What happens to the other children whose mothers are found guilty of not turning in one of her sons? the Independent Senator asked rhetorically.
“No government in this country has seen it fit to build an institution for children who need to be removed from danger,” she said.
It was at this point, nearing the end of her contribution to the Bill that Mrs. Drayton suggested that a Committee be established to monitor the operations of the bill to see if it meets the stated objective of the law.
“You must reflect to ensure that you are acting fairly and justly and equitably when producing this legislation,” Mrs. Drayton pleaded.
‘A few days earlier, in a move seemingly without much reflection and thought, the Trinidad and Tobago Regiment rolled into Malick /Morvant for a church service.
Commendably all the soldiers were rejoicing and praising God in the Church and it was supposed to be a good thing for the community.
Sadly, the church is located in the ghetto but is, in reality, so far removed from the people who require the healing.
The communities around the church are Never Dirty, Malick and Vegas for example, homes to men like Bill Francis and Cudjoe and these men have influenced people much moiré than the church ever did. Their influence lives on.
Folks have asked me to say they would like to see the army come to the community work and not stay within the confines of a church that is of no relevance to most of them, or lock up and beat people.
It does not make sense that soldiers are going to a church to sing and praise God when the bandits are just outside the door doing wickedness.
But then that is not likely to change, ent? After all Jesus trod the earth , and the seas, a free man, with no temple or church where he could have sat like a “Lord” and expected the people to come to him.
Indeed when he found the gamblers in the temple he mashed up the place!
And it was for doing good; for fighting spiritual wickedness in high and low places that he was nailed to a cross! Amen!

3 comments:

vernon said...

Sharmain,
This is one of the best pieces I have read in a long time and as one journalist to another, I say keep on trucking.
Vern Khelawan

Sheila Rampersad said...

Encouraged to see your blog and commentary. Too much venom is being traded in "natioan debate"; we need more cnversations and less debate. Good work and good luck.

The kid5rivers. said...

Good show!
Looking forward to reading your mind re: many more matters.