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TTUTA MUST GET INVOLVED! By Rae Samuel

posted 27 Jan 2016, 11:39 by Gerry Kangalee

"The world won't get no better

If we just let it be

We gotta change it

You and me"                   

Harold Melville and the Blue Notes

When the corpses of 2 students (it was a week ago so events have overtaken them i.e. fresh murders) clothed in character assassination by the daily media - "thugs, gang members, school drop outs" - even before the understaffed forensic centre issued its report, I suggested to some members of TTUTA's leadership that red armbands be worn in Port of Spain if not in all of the school system; that a TTUTA representative speak at the youngsters' funeral and that the General Council meet in emergency session since teachers had to go work in the schools and communities where these young men studied and worked.

I suggested that the pious Dottin-like platitudes would do nothing but cloud the issue (and the statements of the relevant Minister have borne out my view). They were NOT gang members, were bright in school and played sport; so we could lose the 'duncey' head ones who are in gangs and bend their arms Narine-like too much when bowling.

Speaking of gangs 6 policemen were simultaneously arraigned on kidnapping and robbery the week before the murders of these 2 young students. Were they fighting crime or fighting on behalf of crime? If 6 policemen most of them under 30 are behaving like that I want somebody to tell me please whether that is NOT gang warfare. Reminds of the saying in Africa “the army is the tribe with guns”. Is the police service becoming the gang in uniform?

I must say that the Teachers Union did meet in emergency session...to discuss changes to the Continuous Assessment Programme. Rapid response in yuh "pweffen!"  

I am suggesting that teachers, amongst the most vulnerable, are in a key position to move this issue beyond the pious platitudes and nauseous 'cries de coeur' emanating from those charged with making us 'secure'. The military response is not working. The defence budget has been increased with no visible impact on day to day life. The Prime Minister sees the answer in increased military presence in 'hot spots' and stops just short of saying 'who doh like it get to hell out of here!'

I am suggesting that sooner rather than later teachers will literally fall victim to this madness simply because, like Jamaica in the mid-70's, guns are in the hands of susceptible teenagers who imagine a gun is a great leveller and protector. And they are in the schools bringing elements of culture that is carefully crafted for them. Peter Tosh sang "When Merry Christmas come yuh buy the boy a toy gun'' Well Peter bwai, somebody ain't waiting for Christmas. Every shadow has a gun.

So I am suggesting since the JTUM cannot do it, and the government is taking us down the road of Guatemala, Honduras and Columbia of previous decades where para-militarism became the model of governance; I am suggesting that the leadership of the union be MADE TO ADDRESS the issue by the membership and give some sense of direction before another student or teacher falls far, far away from Laventille.

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