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posted 21 May 2014, 21:06 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 21 May 2014, 21:06 ]
I am thinking of the report on 8 teen age pregnancies in a school in South Trinidad and the attendant hysteria it is generating. Maybe my view has been coloured by the recent "Conversations” session put on by the NWU on the topic "Sexual education and Reproductive rights''. So, Toco Nicky, even as I thank you as others must be doing, I welcome you to any flak I may receive. We share in not only better /worse but in "Sex education and sense''. 
Throughout history certain phrases resonate in ways we never would have imagined. Kwame Ture used to say that two words, "black' and 'power', innocuous, mundane by themselves were joined by Africans in the United States to express a call, a revolutionary justified sentiment for self determination. History will tell us the fury that ignited resonated across the world. Though not as widespread in terms of international hubris, the term "teenage pregnancy' stirs passions and sentiments way beyond their literal meanings.

Zena Ramatali, President of the National Parent Teachers Association wants to hang Tim Gopeesingh, Minister of Education, out to dry. In turn, Tim says that proper channels re: reporting were not followed and inside of all of that, Tim an ex, soon to be one again, gynaecologist (right Mr, Roget) should know that 'proper channels' were indeed followed which 'gave rise' to these pregnancies.

But I want to re-visit the reporting of the story. It is said that 8 girls, all members of the football team, were pregnant. I myself could not help imagining how all this may have occurred given the way the story was being told. Girls? Football? 8 pregnancies? Was it an after game party? How 'teen' are these 'agers'?

There is a whole lot of difference between "13' and '19'. Were players scoring more goals on the 'feel" after the game? When I got past that, I wondered how much of the story was true. The newspaper clearly intended to suggest that it was happening primarily because of involvement in football. I asked who were the fathers, were the pregnancies all at the same stage, exactly when and how (okay we know how) did events unfold?

As if that was not trauma enough, all around the moronic cries for police intervention echo through the land. You see, fellow citizens, in this land of strange tales we have certain tried and tested formulations we apply to crisis, heedless of the fact that 'dat ain't wukkin'. We have tried to hang, jail, assassinate, beat and narcotise our social problems since Independence: with astonishingly successful results, right? So, with God, another narcotic according to some, on our side, we are going to call in the police.

I imagine the young males being herded into a prison van, handcuffed, under armed guard being taken to the station and being questioned about having sex. God/Jah/Yaweh forbid, one of them should ask his interrogator: "And how did you come into this world sir?" The cutarse he would get would be recorded and go viral in the name of “discipline/correction.'' Alas some parents, teachers and even some imams might say yes: "Beat them for having sex'.

The world has changed so very much, my older friends, which is why we need more "Toco Nickys” to encourage dialogue. There is much going on that we do not know and understand and I am not talking about "Sex education'' in the classroom. Sex education occurs daily, both at the formal and informal level. Technology joins us at the hip where we anchor our cell phones in their cases. Sexual relations is just another one of the issues that we have to visit, just as we review our positions and ideologies on drugs, political systems, West Indies cricket and local football.

To make the point again: once in my other 'job', I visited a correctional facility to help conduct a sports programme. While we were waiting for the staff and equipment to arrive a supervisor and I were standing within earshot of two girls who seemed to be just 15/16. In the course of their dialogue one said to the other. "You know how long I ain't take a man". The supervisor, of course, upbraided the young lady for being so candid in front of a visitor. After suppressing my laugh, I recognised the girl was simply expressing who she is, how she felt and how she lived.