An open letter to the Prime Minister of the Republic of
Trinidad and Tobago the Honourable Kamla Persad- Bissessar.
Dear Honourable Prime Minister,
I take this opportunity to thank you on behalf of all conscious and right thinking citizens of this twin island nation for your initiative in the area of job creation.
By investing $300 million dollars to create 20,000 jobs for our citizens, especially those in the so called hotspot areas, low income and HDC estates, show that there is some understanding by you and the People’s Partnership Government, of the root cause of a large part of our crime situation, and for this you have scored some points.
Taking the bull by the horn, and targeting the youths in the fight against crime with social intervention programs should be long term and sustainable. I am very much aware that you don’t have all the answers to alleviate all the social ills of our society but, all of us working together can arrive at the best solution to ease this volatile situation that faces us all as Trinbagonians.
It is often said, that an idle mind is the devil’s work shop. So, creating jobs to keep young people in these targeted communities occupied, will bring about some stability, and giving them spending power is one way of placing value and a sense of pride in the life of the individual. When one is able to maintain themselves and their family that is a positive way to guarantee a society free and fair, and free from fear.
However, I would like to add another area to the crime fighting initiative for your consideration. I believe this could be long term and sustainable, and have been overlooked over the years by successive governments.
The Steel band movement and the Steel bands in the communities have been performing a role as a stabilizing factor that very few people in this society recognize and appreciate. I am now appealing to you Madam Prime Minister, and inviting you and the People’s Partnership government to seriously partner with this potent force and use it as one of the lethal weapons in the arsenal against crime, and see how quickly we realize some successes.
Let us start by utilizing the Pan yards that are already available and user friendly, but grossly under- utilized, to develop all the Artisan crafts related to the Steel band and concentrate on developing the rest of Steel band yards across Trinbago for the said purpose. They must be transformed into institutions of learning by day. The Steel band has the potential to attract much needed foreign exchange if handled and treated as the kind of business that it should be. But, to be successful, the Government must be a major stake holder, partnering with the parent body. Invest, financially in its sustainable development.
The youths in the community should be able to attend classes in the Steel band yard, to learn the art of welding, fabricating, screen printing, sewing including clothes and upholstering, wire bending for mas making, music, steel pan construction, computer science and Research and Development in tools and materials, to make this unique national instrument.
Take up this challenge Madam Prime Minister, and see the crime rate rapidly diminished from our landscape, and realize a boost in our foreign exchange potential. Just remember, Steel Pan could bring more money than oil. If oil is $100.00 a barrel, on the international market today, a Tenor Pan could sell for between $6,000.00 to $8,000.00 US dollars. If harnessed and marketed properly, there are untold long term benefits for all of Trinidad and Tobago.
Respectfully submitted for your consideration
Michael LeRoi Joseph
Southern Marines Steelband Foundation