Good heavens, armed bandits!

 

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Category: Trinidad Society Date: 17 Sep 95


‘Those men aren’t human. Is it our fault that they went hungry, or weren’t able to get a proper education? Or that they were battered and neglected as children. Why should we take on the responsibility of their parents?’

 

The French Queen Marie Antoinette never realised that she would make people laugh for centuries. She, who even as she heard the rumble of empty bellies and roar of angry men cried, “Let them eat cake!”

 

But make no mistake, she had her wit; and even today has followers. Yes, even in Trinidad and Tobago. Dare I allow them to speak in their own voices?

“What happening?” we ask, in one another’s homes, around the Savannah, in the golf club, in pizza palaces. We look at one another bewildered, in shock, and whisper: “Why do they murder and chop and shoot? Why are they not content with loot? No, they want blood. More than blood. They want to mutilate. They want to torture. They are animals.”

 

Our voices rise in righteous indignation: “Build more jails! Let the army and police patrol the streets! Hang more! Will somebody shut those bogus human rights lawyers up! Their namby-pamby attitude creates criminals. What is all this liberal wishy-washy nonsense about human rights? Those men aren’t human. Is it our fault that they went hungry, or weren’t able to get a proper education? Or that they were battered and neglected as children. Why should we take on the responsibility of their parents? As for reaching out to them: if you do that they just take advantage of your good nature.”

 

And if we sound righteous about the hooligans taking over our country is it not because we have moral authority behind us? For don’t we pay our taxes, provide jobs for poor people, work hard to make the country richer so that the whole country will benefit? They should be like us. We are good fathers to our children. And we should be. It’s our duty. We provide “the works”: good schools, Disneyworld, computer, trips down the islands, a good education because we want them to be good citizens. And so what if they are cliquish. At least we know they are safe with people we can trust. Like us, our children will be doctors, lawyers, computer analysts, marketing managers. They will carry on the business. Yes, people of our kind (despite our racial differences) need to stick together help each other out. Yes, we are the backbone of this country. Look at our wives. They lack nothing. Their faces and bodies are beautifully preserved and clothed. We give them good cars to drive. They have no work to do at home. We make sure we get good live-in maids. The younger ones are more difficult. They steal or run away. The older ones are more solid. We don’t pay them too much because we can’t spoil them and anyway they get free food and board. They get a Sunday off but we don’t encourage them to go home they are very close to the children and our wives wouldn’t know what to do without them. Most of them have four five children and can’t afford to get in our bad books. We don’t encourage the domestics’ children to visit as a rule. Once or twice the older male children or their common law husbands have come begging for jobs but we have to send them on their way. It’s too dangerous. Anyway we don’t want our children to get into bad company.

 

Here we are then. We gather up our children in the car, roll up the glass, look around cautiously, drive towards our safe burglar proofed and alarmed homes. My God, why don’t they get rid of these vagrants. The strangest things happen. We were told the other day that this man who was supposedly very bright, lost his job and he couldn’t find one for ages. The story was that he got disillusioned and poorer, got into drugs and finally suffered a mental breakdown. Look he’s that vagrant over there. They say he came from a good family but was worn down. Worn down! That’s just an excuse for laziness. (He probably enjoys lying there and begging all day).

 

Then the holier-than-thou got on about charity, feeding these people and helping them to set up businesses.  Everyone knows that charity just makes them dependent. No, the best thing for them is a dose of good hard work. As we approach our gate we are thankful that we have escaped them for yet another day. Oh God, please don’t let them get us, these monsters who appear hooded and armed in the night. Wife, did you hear Father Gerry Pantin got the Trinity Cross? Now there is one man who could so easily be one of us, but chooses not to be. He actually moves among “them.” We hear he helps those filthy vagrants and drug addicts and street children. He has done so for years. I must say I admire him working with those people, but between us I think they should snap out of their bad ways and life will be OK for them. Let them struggle to get ahead like the rest of us, we did it or our parents did it, few of us were born rich. We struggle and ketch arse too.

 

I always say that... Oh my God, what’s this, two armed men are here in front of us. One of them is that young son of one of our domestics. Oh my God they are demanding the car keys. They are robbing us. Where do they come from?

 

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All Articles Copyright Ira Mathur