The Economics of Fear

I’m crying everyone’s tears;
And there inside our private war;
I died the night before;
And all of these remnants of joy; and disaster.
What am I supposed to do?
I want to cook you a soup that warms your soul;
But nothing would change, nothing would change at all;
It’s just a day that brings it all about;
Just another day and nothing’s any good.

—King of Sorrow, Sade

The only people in Trinidad who seem to be getting more clever and using their smarts to get ahead is the bandits. While parliamentarians quibble about who should get guns, and how far down the slippery slope to police statehood we are going to descend in the next few months, the thieves are having a time. They are stealing not just dollars. They are stealing our sense of who we are, our sense of perspective on what is right, our compassion, our faith in humanity.

There’s no sense in blaming the teachers or the communities they come from. The fact is that we have prestige-school bandits walking around unmasked and unapologetic and thieving us blind, in addition to a complacent majority who remain blissfully unaffected by all of the many problems prove that we’re all in the same boat of not really caring about what happens to Trinidad.

The two most important organisations in the country—the Environment Commission and the Integrity Commission—are essentially useless. This speaks volumes about how we continue to perceive crime. While parliamentarians argue we are losing the right to live in safety. Who stands to benefit from precepted soldiers? Who is going to get a nice little contract from the Government to bring in the latest arms for us to kill each other with? Which multi-national corporation is going to benefit from our burning desire to kill each other?

What else could we do with the money that we’d be spending to train soldiers to intimidate communities? It’s also about the economics, baby. And somebody is making a lot of money off our fear. Meanwhile, we baulk at the revelation by Huffington Post that T&T is number eight in the world’s least friendly places for tourists. Forget tourists, Trinidad is one of the least friendly places on the planet for its own citizens. 

We have black gold and we don’t need white tourists. We have black gold to kill our fish and pollute our waterways and build big buildings and waste money on stupidness. As the bandits become more sophisticated and the Government gets more hysterical and the people who have things to steal get more paranoid and paralysed by fear, there isn’t much thought going on as to how to get the thieves to stop stealing and men to stop raping women and children.

The problem is not that there was maybe one house in St Joseph having a meeting about destabilising the country. The country has never really been stable. The country has been unstable since Hyarima times. The country is always on the brink of boiling over, of exploding with rage at one injustice or another. 

We constantly rhapsodise for a time when life was sweet in Trinidad. But there have always been people here eating the bread the devil knead, on the outskirts, staying alive through sheer will power and bad mind. There have always been people trying their best with the little they have. Finding joy in simplicity, planting their own food, hoping for better for their children. And those of us who have been untouched by the madness have been led to believe that if we continue to ignore it, it doesn’t matter.

But as long as there are people taking advantage of others, the country will continue to be unstable. Right now the war is on for the soul of our country and if we’re not, every last one of us, actively engaged and prepared to battle, then what is the point? What is the point of a Constitution that is only for some of us? What is the point of sitting down and waiting for somebody else to figure it out?

The problem is that all our houses aren’t having meetings to figure out ways to do something about the country and the Government. The problem is that we aren’t having nightly meetings in every house, hatching plots to assassinate the complacent, defeatist mentality of our families and friends and neighbours. 

Published in the Trinidad Guardian March 16, 2013

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One thought on “The Economics of Fear

  1. Pingback: Trinidad & Tobago: Crime & Punishment · Global Voices

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