Saturday Express Editorial

THE bold-faced advertisement which turned up on social media in the last two days illustrates the peril facing the society on several fronts. Clear and present dangers present themselves concerning the efforts by the national security and health authorities to contain the spread of the coronavirus in our midst.

As we have stated here before, any sense of comfort and complacency which may have been developed among the population regarding our effective management of community spread has been undercut by the discovery of new cases during this week.

While the surveillance apparatus sets about attempting to identify the source of the latest cases the country continues to face the dangers associated with the relentless penetration of our borders by business interests working the seas around T&T.

On too regular a basis there is news of the discovery of Venezuelan nationals being found and detained in some part of the country, including in Tobago.

The existence of a thriving business in trips to Trinidad from Tucupita, highlighted on Facebook, speaks volumes about the way such adventures make a mockery of the country’s laws, as well as the border closures which have been put in place.

It is as if the promoters of these ventures on both sides of the waters between our two countries have no knowledge of the fact that such entries into this space are forbidden at this time. Worse than this, it suggests that such strictures are being ignored with a high level of impunity.

Disconcertingly, part of what these untrammelled illegal voyages point up is the sheer incapacity of the Coast Guard, even with assistance from the country’s Air Guard and the police, to man the barricades.

Embarrassed into silence around the time that national border closures were announced earlier this year, Coast Guard officials responded that details on intercepted vessels coming from Venezuela constituted a national security issue.

But even more troubling is the revelation of the number of current members of the Police Service involved in these illegal activities as they are then linked to what is said to be the thriving local flesh trade.

The National Security Minister was moved to declare that this situation is nothing short of disturbing.

A Caricom report into the operation of a prostitution and human trafficking racket in which interests in Trinidad and Tobago are deeply engaged says it involves some 30 police officers.

There is open defiance by these officers in the face of the unremitting language of zero tolerance from the Commissioner of Police.

Responding to these latest revelations, the commissioner has been moved, almost two years into his time at the helm, to refer to “rogue officers” and “the enemy within” the service.

He has yet to find an alternative to his plans for using the polygraph tests to weed out such elements from within the ranks. And the recalcitrant officers in the meantime continue to run their game, effectively mocking his best efforts at cleaning up a cancer affecting the country’s law and order apparatus.

RECOMMENDED FOR YOU

Official recognition of the historical importance of the location where the Treasury Building now stands is long overdue. As the place that marks the spot where British Governor Sir George Fitzgerald Hill publicly read out the Proclamation of Emancipation on August 1, 1834, the site is of immeasurable significance to the history of Trinidad and Tobago.

WE celebrated Emancipation Day on August 1, but to my mind, we have not yet fully grasped the broader concept of freedom. In other words we have not, through our education system, formulated a critical pedagogy across our curricula; to foster a knowledge of self, to move beyond who we are, to transform the what- and how, to break with debilitating norms and to name our world. Inherent in all of this is the development of critical thinking skills in the learner and the learning culture.

IN the early 1970s, the Mighty Composer (Fred Mitchell) composed and sang a calypso entitled “Black Fallacy” in which he showed that many persons today and “from since in the Beginning” continue to use the word “black with a degrading twist,” to denote racism, prejudice and bigotry in their dealings with Africans and African descendants.

AS a civic-minded citizen, one piece of legislation I would like to see passed in the Parliament is one that regulates the conduct of political parties and their supporters during an election.

The insistence of the ruling party to hold the general election on August 10 in the midst of a new or second phase of the Covid-19 pandemic leaves many raised eyebrows and even more questions. Since many restrictions or “protocols” have been put in place to prevent the spread of the virus or “flatten the curve” of infections, two pertinent issues must be questioned here

I remember my deceased uncle telling me that, in the early 1960s, it was the people and religious leaders who went to Dr Eric Williams to persuade him to put the name of God into our Constitution.