I wish I could resist the temptation of being cynical about the passion of the interview on a recent TV show on the death of three women at the hands of rejected suitors.

the call for no free passes on restraining orders, and of the formation of the new Gender Unit, but as the reality of these murdered women stares you in the face you wonder if this is the standard reaction to atrocities such as these after the fact. a kind of fatalistic resignation to what must be because nothing can be done to avoid such, and that tomorrow will see a recurrence in some form or the other.

These seemingly sincere but knee-jerk reactions, appear at best, to be attempts at palliating the public and do not reflect a concerted effort to take a rational look at the problem and to find practical solutions. More than the wailing and gnashing of teeth we need to look at the problem from two angles:

1. We need to tackle this rampant criminality which reflects a mindset now fully entrenched in the psyche of those so inclined, after long years of indifference and neglect. This mindset is so ingrained in the would-be criminal that even as we attempt to rehabilitate, the objective must be to deter. Rehabilitation can only be minimal in its effect on such a hard-core group. This deterrence must inevitably come from the police who should take a community-based approach which facilitates citizens working with the police to report incidents and to provide like information, with its corollary of a continuing police presence in the form of police posts to put a brake on criminal activity. Of course the link must continue with an efficiently working judicial system focusing on apprehension and prosecution. It is only with such a consolidated thrust that we can make a significant dent on this “criminality without conscience” which now overwhelms us.

2. This attempt at rehabilitation/deterrence, must necessarily run parallel with the development of a new mindset in the young for the future because it is only by getting into their heads and encouraging to think critically about the choices they must make, based on a moral sense of right and wrong, that we can avert the horror of the present. The basis for this must be set in the home and reinforced by the Church and other social institutions whose role it is to provide guidance for the youth, but it is the school that must play a major role in their ongoing development. Taking a critical approach to teaching and learning, not only with their occupational streams, but in exposing the young to the values of family and positive relationships through the social sciences, and through literature, to expose them to the challenges of life. Read books to make them more knowledgeable, and dare I say more human, in living it in reality, inter alia. The latter must become an integral part of the experience of young people in the schools and should not be looked at as merely a side show in favour of the “professions”.

But all the above are merely words blowing idly in the wind , as much as the passion of those reacting to the horror of the last few days, unless there is the will to look at the problem squarely in the eye and look for meaningful solutions.

Dr Errol N Benjamin

via e-mail


Potholes on public roadways remain irrefutable signs of life in Trinidad and Tobago today.

There are apparently no clear solutions to these perennial problems. As road users, a weary population has essentially given up hope of solutions being proposed, much less implemented. On major roadways, equally as on minor roads, in built-up areas to the same extent as in villages and communities in rural districts, dilapidation is a fact of life. Often, generations of nationals go through this lived reality of bad roads and their deleterious effects on life in these areas.

Some years ago, a man was complaining to me about his wife of 25 years. The issues were not major; mainly the daily irritants that occur when people share space. But then, just like that, he said something that jolted me.

When Mike Pompeo, Donald Trump’s global legate, comes on his two-day State visit to Jamaica next week, he must be made aware that Jamaica won’t be quiescent about the often irrational behaviours of the US president, too many of which threaten to wreck a global order in which small states, like this one, are reasonably assured of protection against the arbitrary actions of powerful ones.

Sedition law is not about colonialism or gagging democratic expression. It is to do with controlling things that could lead to insurrection or mass disorder via speech and acts.

This is a lawless, bacchanalian society that is forever giving the hypocritical, self-righteous impression that we are holier than thou, making as if we walk on egg shells while ignoring that we are tiptoeing through the minefield that is life—our Trini life.

I read with alarm that Colm Imbert, the Minister of Finance, wants to make further amendments to the nation’s procurement legislation.