Express Editorial : Daily

Chaguaramas is once again in the news and this time for all the wrong reasons.

Within a few heart-stopping seconds on Sunday night, the serenity of its boardwalk was ripped apart by bullets, shattering the innocence of this preserve of families and friends drawn to this relaxing public space which carries no entry fee.

Until it happened, it might have seemed unthinkable that gang war would brazenly ram its way through this sanctuary cradled between the calming blue of the Gulf and the green of the Northern Range. But it did. And now three are dead and three lie wounded, including an eight year-old child.

The encroachment of open gunfire is a terrible setback to ongoing efforts of the Chaguaramas Development Authority to transform the western peninsula into a premier destination for leisure, entertainment, eco-tourism and a yacht hub. The timing could not have been worse, coming as it did at the start of the school vacation period when thousands of families make their way to what is the most accessible beach in North Trinidad, especially for those using public transport.

Sunday’s massacre in tranquil Chaguaramas underscores the point that no place and no one is safe from the killing machines among us that have zero concern for the innocent when hunting their human prey. With deadly gangs well-ensconced in areas of Diego Martin just outside Chaguaramas, it was only a matter of time that their tentacles would reach into the area.

Once upon a time, when Chaguaramas was occupied territory as a United States military base, entry to non-military personnel was limited to a few who were required to present their passes of authorisation at a checkpoint near where the boardwalk now stands. Today, such a security checkpoint would be completely impractical given the heavy traffic in and out of the area. On an average day, traffic jams could stretch all the way from Chaguaramas to Glencoe while special events routinely produce gridlocks that could take hours to clear.

Apart from routine maintenance, there has been no serious road development since the military base was closed and the area opened up to the public. Vehicular traffic is still limited to one way in and one way out. Just before the 2015 general election, the People’s Partnership government announced major plans for the construction of a causeway which, even in that time of high energy income, was hugely expensive. Whatever the solution, it makes no sense pursuing the development of Chaguaramas for mass use without an effective transportation plan. Perhaps a partnership with the private sector ought to be considered to bring the causeway to fruition.

None of this, however, is pertinent to the immediate challenge of keeping citizens safe from the wanton bloodshed to which the country is being subjected by gangs.

In his despair, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley once again put the onus on members of the public who know the killers to pass the information to the police. That would be reasonable except that those who know may be the most vulnerable of all. The right place to put the responsibility is on the Police Service. It is the TTPS’ job to strengthen the networks of trust upon which an effective intelligence system is built.

RECOMMENDED FOR YOU

NOTHING better describes the woeful state of governance in this country than the unending waste of public funds by one government after another. Two recent examples reported in the Sunday Express not only illustrate the extent of waste but the lack of accountability of those entrusted with managing the public purse and the public’s inability to secure redress.

John Doe is not a government minister, neither is he head of any government department.

Mr Doe is among the thousands of ordinary workers in the public service entitled by law to tax-exempt purchases of motor cars.

Like his counterparts in other statutory bodies and throughout the public service, Doe is a travelling officer entitled – pandemic or no pandemic - to motor-car tax exemptions and a travelling allowance.

Emancipation Day in T&T is well worth commemorating as a national holiday. While the celebrations serve to remind us of our history, the holiday provides a chance to look to the future.

In 2017, president general of the All Trinidad General Workers’ Trade Union, Nirvan Maharaj, said people should recognise the efforts of African ancestors who carved a life from a society based on systems that were calculated to always keep them at the bottom. Emancipation Day should be celebrated as a victory for the descendants of the formerly enslaved.

This letter is for Trinbagonians of our many races and in various occupations, who expect intelligent, informative, caring conversation from the trade union fraternity. You are the pass needed for union leaders to live comfortably. Their bank balances depend on your willingness to be part and parcel of their negative Covid-19 misinformation and tomfoolery being touted regarding the importance of being fully vaccinated.

The Covid-19 pandemic hit us in March 2020 and we would have felt overjoyed as the world began to vaccinate by December 2020.

The Caricom region heavily relied on the COVAX facility, formed in September 2020 to ensure all countries got a supply of vaccines quickly, especially lower income countries. How did reliance on COVAX work out for us?

The acronym FEAR means False Evidence that Appears Real.

Many people are crippled by fear due to Covid-19 because this is a serious and deadly disease. I think the vaccine is the only hope of reducing hospitalisation and deaths based on the advice of many medical professionals from the United National Congress, the People’s National Movement Government, the World Health Organisation and many others; but some people seem more fearful of the vaccine than the disease itself.