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posted 10 Jul 2014, 05:27 by Gerry Kangalee

It is amazing, how some politicians behave as though they don't live in this country. It is well known that since in the days of Dr. Eric Williams, there have been so-called social programmes such as Crash Programme, Special Works, LID, URP.

Now we have C.E.P.E.P and the Life Sport. These programmes are designed to target, “at risk” youths and unemployed, unskilled individuals in depressed areas of the country. Therefore, there was never a time when individuals who ran into trouble with the law were not in these programmes. That was so in the 1960s and it is so today. So to behave as though funds from these projects never went into the pockets of “criminal elements” in the past is to pretend that this is the doing of this government only. 

I am certain most of us can recall that during the time of the last PNM government when contracts were being awarded to persons to paint the H.D.C. houses on Charlotte Street in Port of Spain and Maloney,  violence erupted over the question of which group of individuals were entitled to receive these contracts, and as a result some individuals lost their lives. 


You may recall that a young man, whose nickname was Fresh, who it was alleged had a contract worth $2.5 million to paint those houses, was killed when he was called out of a function at a Union Hall on Henry Street in Port of Spain? What is important to note, is that from the available evidence, these killings appear to have more to do with government contracts and less to do with the drug trade. If the evidence could be believed, funds from these contracts finance the purchase of drugs and guns. That was so then and it is still so today.


I wish to make it clear; I am not condoning the misappropriation of public funds to finance illegal activities, or defending the current corrupt government, I am just pointing out that members of previous governments cannot point fingers. Let us face it. The situation where crime is concerned, from then to now has worsened. In the days of Marabuntas,  Applejackers, San Juan All Stars, Desperados, Tokyo and so on, guns were not the weapons of choice. It was cutlass and razors, or ice picks and bottles.


Ganja was sold legally in shops in the 1940s and still sold up to the 1950s; in the 1960s it disappeared from Chinese shops. Illegal drugs existed then, but it was not widely used by the lower classes and the youths in the rural and depressed communities. But crime was not as prevalent as it is today. It was only when crack cocaine was introduced into these communities that we begin to see an upward surge in gun crimes, and crack cocaine became popular because it was affordable.


If we have to find a starting point for this new wave of crime in this country, we might wish to place it at a time subsequent to the rise in the price of crude oil in the middle of the 1970s: when the country was drunk with oil wealth and money was no problem. The government abandoned planning and spent money as if it was going out of style.                                                                                       


The communities that were described as depressed in those days and for which these programmes were established continue to be seen in that light today. Why? Because, the citizens of these communities, were led to believe the government of the day would have taken care of all their problems and nothing was done.  The government failed to recognize, that it had a duty also to prepare the community to stand on its own two feet. What the government did, was to feed them with fish: the projects, the inefficient management of the Port of Port of Spain (where it was alleged a certain employee was in receipt of a salary close to that of the President),  allowed them to live in National Housing Apartments without paying their rents of $9.00 and $12.00 per month.


The problems we face today, is one deliberately created by a government which never had the interest of the people as its number one priority. The PNM government had the opportunity to treat with the problems of those communities because it had the full trust and confidence of the people for a large part of its thirty years in office.  But since it was building a capitalist society it needed to ensure that a substantial number of the population remain in a state of dependence so that the ruling classes would have a source of cheap labour.


If we follow that line of thinking, we will begin to understand the reason for the large classes in the Government Secondary Schools. We will realise that such a system, ultimately, leads to a large percentage of drop-outs. Teachers cannot give the necessary attention to the slow learners, who might also have problems at home, and who might also be victims of dyslexia.


Because of the non-existence of trained teachers who can identify these problems, these students are left to learn as they could which leads to them becoming very disruptive.  Our school system is really operating an assembly line, with the S.E.A exam and C.X.C. functioning as quality control. It is expected that a certain percentage must “fail”.  

It is important to understand, that the capitalist system needs to have a constant supply of skilled and unskilled labour and the source of that supply is the education system. The system also needs to regulate the supply and demand as well. In the same way that it treats with other goods and services. All of these things are connected.
  When you add to that the massive unemployment crisis, which followed the crash in the price of oil in the 1980s, and the number of companies which went into receivership, what you end up with is a large number of the members of these communities being unemployed and families being ripped apart.


What we have as a result, is a bunch of angry young people who believe that the whole world is against them because of the “misfortune” which they are experiencing and which no doubt might have resulted from the economic crisis which led to their parents being unemployed. Such young persons have been victimized over and over: by being thrown out of school; by their family life being destroyed, and by becoming victims of the drug trade. They are striking back at any and everybody and everything. Why? Because circumstances have conspired against them; leading to them becoming a threat to “society”.


For those who control the criminal underworld, these young men and women, represent a pool of human resources available to be exploited, and to be used as cannon fodder while serving the evil ends of those who walk the corridors of power at both the corporate and government levels. You see, as long as we continue to believe that the current political and economic system, is the best thing since slice bread, we will continue to experience corruption at all levels, even in the face of so-called good governance and transparency; even when proper procurement procedures and practices are enacted into law.


We have to come to the realization that capitalism breeds corruption and crime. It is the oil that keeps and holds the society  together. It is unrealistic to expect that all dogs come without fleas. The fleas come with the dog. And no amount of “Front-line” spray treatment to get rid of the fleas will help. The ills of the society which we are currently experiencing are the negative effects of the capitalist political and economic system. That is the reality in the USA, in Europe, Brazil, China, the Middle East and here in this country. Therefore, in order to kill the fleas you have to kill the dog.