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Category: Trinidad Society Date: 04 Sep 05


This independence, I want to publish three responses to my columns:


Letter 1


“What are you waiting in T&T for?


Leave the Illiterates, the murderers and kidnappers, the drug lords and bobolists to catch their tails in Quagmire land. Before you go back to your place of birth, try this:


“Stop cursing the dark. Light a candle to show the poor, exploited, ignorant, indigenous Afros and Indios the way.”


A proud, fed up and frustrated, bun and bread Trinbagonian.


Letter 2


“I migrated to Canada with my husband and kids last year. I often check the Guardian to see how things are at home.


“I did not chose to leave Trinidad. I felt I was forced out, the race issues and the crime leading the pack of reasons for leaving.


“It takes a lot to leave your home. Though many of us (professionals) have left, we still would come home if things would change.


“I tried to make a change. I wrote articles to the papers that were never printed. I spoke endlessly to friends and anyone who would listen about the killings in Trinidad.


“It seemed okay for the label gang-related to be attached to any murder, and that made it acceptable. No one could see how wrong that was.


“Trinidad does not have to be a ghost town. I would still come back and try to make a difference.


“People told me I was leaving for a country in which I would be a second class citizen.


“I have felt more like a second class citizen in my own country. I cannot do that to my kids. My kids are small now. I don’t think they would ever return.


“I like to read articles that make sense and point out the ridiculousness of leaders. It gives me hope that change may come one day.”


Letter 3 (Voice in the wilderness)


“I am a policewoman with 24 years of service. I want you to know that teenagers with guns killing each other and innocent people in cold blood are not the root of crime although they do the most damage.


“They don’t know any better. They have no pity, because nobody has ever had pity on them. They are victims of neglect of the state and parents.


“They can’t read or write. Nobody tells them that books will take them far. Nobody corrects them when they molest a girl or drop out of school.


“Their only male role models are absent fathers, drug lords with tempting guns, and men in and out of their mothers’ beds.


Whose fault is that?


“The desperate, jobless, uneducated women have four, five, six children for different men, and treat it like a job.


“These irresponsible men and women are breeding criminals.


“Instead of encouraging gangs, a ten days here and there, the government should look to providing single mothers with education and jobs, so they can take care of themselves and not have to breed children to get food on their tables.


“The government should be looking closely at all the children in schools who can’t read and who have no guidance, especially the teenagers. They are next year’s criminal crop.


“The crime fund should be directed at them.”


Three voices of independent Trinidad.


The first voice doesn’t recognise that it is a journalist’s job to hold up a mirror to society; that a true reflection of ourselves doesn’t preclude patriotism.


It forgets if we go far back enough we are all immigrants in this new world.


The second voice is one of longing, one that remembers a gentler Trinidad in which children once walked freely and safely.


The third is a silent scream at a dead 14-year-old, at guns in the hands of teenagers pointing at the problem and solution.


Our 43-year-old flame is on the verge of being extinguished. To see that is to rescue it.


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All Articles Copyright Ira Mathur