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A Pandora’s box

The Canadian vlogger, Christopher Hughes, peered into Pandora’s box and electronically recorded the miseries and evils he saw within.

Guilty or not of the charges laid against him by the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS), he has exposed to his followers the sub-culture of guns, killings and terror that makes us shudder in the homes, business places and vehicles in which we seek shelter, but which do not guarantee us real protection.

The public outcry that followed his detention and subsequent arrest by the TTPS can be ascribed to a variety of reasons.

The validity of the charge(s) against him has been questioned; stung by his own curiosity to explore an underbelly of this country, is he now suffering the pain of daring to expose to the world an ugly reality that we hesitate to acknowledge to our global neighbours for fear that our tourist industry will decline?

Do we wish to pretend that criminality belongs to another, best ignored sector and that it will not touch us, until it does? Do we question the freedom to explore, to question and to film that he enjoyed in a setting that the Police themselves fear to enter, much less to act?

We are called to ask ourselves whether this visitor has brought universal shame upon us as a people, or has he forced us to question what we can and must do if we are not to become the next country in our region that is ruled by gangs and in which law and order are mere farcical words.

The image of masculinity that emerged from the videos is harsh and unfeeling.  With gun in hand, the killer exhibits his superior standing in his environment as well as his power over his victims and his influence over those who seek to emulate his version of manhood.

He may even, ironically, see himself as a source of hope and protection if, as one interviewee claimed, he uses his criminality to lift his family out of the poverty that they have always known and to quell the contempt with which they are viewed by ‘decent’ society.

There is no hope among the unskilled or semi-skilled majority here of holding their own in traditional fields like medicine, education, law, or engineering. Vocational and skills training may not be a viable option for many. Financial power comes through another channel. The glamour of violence and the potential to make ‘quick’ money are hard to ignore.

Allegations of corruption among our law enforcement agencies have been made but have not been proven. If, however, gangs proliferate because they are facilitated and emboldened by those who have sworn to protect and serve the citizenry as well as by those in high office who exploit the underclasses for their own gain, this country faces a bleak future.

Such evil must be rooted out and it must be done now. We cannot afford to tolerate any overt or covert forces that are working to bring about the ruin of our people.

Jamaican artiste, Sizzla Kalonji, at the Redemption reggae concert at the Queen’s Park Savannah a week ago, appealed for the laying down of arms and the restoration of order to Trinidad.

He called for service to others and especially to children. It is in their hands that we place our future. We dare not forget that a country that does not stand united for good risks being broken apart and is responsible for its own ruin.

May we be guided and protected by our Lord, Jesus Christ, in the defense of our people and our land.

Photo by Maxim Hopman on Unsplash