We Jammin’ Still: Reflections of Trinbago Society

What most of Trinidad and Tobago citizens feel as a result of the most recent murder of another young woman

As the song begins you’re drawn in by the sound of a drum set crashing a ridiculous solo followed by a vibration of sounds all mixing together to produce what many would agree to be the song of the season. Maximus Dan going by the sobriquet of MX Prime is charted to stamp his name into the Carnival history books as a clear favourite for this year’s Road March, and quite possibly Soca Monarch as well. More recently a pore raising rendition of the “We doh business” refrain has been performed by the “Silver Stars” steel band for the Panorama Prelims at the band’s pan-yard. In front of an enthused crowd of steelpan lovers, well wishers, and all throughout Social Media for many to experience some of our culture. One particular video garnering 4000 views in 3 hours and at least 205 shares. As I, along with the rest of Trinidad and Tobago, The Caribbean and by extension the world anxiously anticipate the “Greatest Show on Earth” I think we have been missing the point and a greater message that has been encoded into the lyrics of the song. Every time it plays, it reminds us that we, as a people really ‘doh business’.

Recession doh bother we…. Promote a fete, and you will see…. The treasury could bun down…. We Jammin’ Still’…. Economy could fall down we Jammin’ Still’…. The city, could bun down…. We Jammin’Still!! The building, could fall down…. We Jammin’…

As I begin and continue to write the current murder toll for Trinidad and Tobago has moved from 50 to 60 persons in only 35 days for the year 2017. More alarming is the crimes that have been committed against women in the country, in what can only be seen as the plot of a taken movie. There has been talk that the presence of a kidnapping/organ harvesting ring has emerged here in this country and even though it is hard to take seriously, the constant disappearances of persons and no closure makes it easy to believe. Supporting this is the close proximity Trinidad has with other Latin American countries mostly known to be involved in the illegal gun and drug trade, as well as where hardship has become a daily reality Venezuela being a prime example:

“Kidneys make up 75% of the global illicit trade in organs, Noel estimates. Rising rates of diabetes, high blood pressure and heart problems are causing demand for kidneys to far outstrip supply. Data from the WHO shows that of the 106,879 solid organs known to have been transplanted in 95 member states in 2010 (legally and illegally), about 73,179 (68.5%) were kidneys. But those 106,879 operations satisfied just 10% of the global need, the WHO said.”

With porous borders and a lack of a serious approach towards the Drug-Trade/Transhipment hub that Trinidad and Tobago provides, it only leads to a drastic increase in criminal activity in the crudest of nature. What also continues however, is the blame game that each passing and current government administration plays, all in an effort to gain political points towards their next agenda, be it either positive or negative.Screenshot_20170131-094853.png

Statements such as these, made by the former prime minister of the country is tantamount to inciting a riot, violence and vigilantism especially as the population becomes more desperate and demand a solution to the problem of crime and criminality from the powers that be, and with good reason. A new study done by the IDB [Inter-American Development Bank] shines a floodlight on the financial support that the country pledged towards its crime fighting initiatives. And quite frankly it’s a waste of taxpayers money with poor detection rates and lenient sentences for extreme crimes many are disappointed, disgusted and frustrated with the state of affairs in the country. But say what….. We Jammin’ Still’

Gun Control Laws in Trinidad & Tobago?

Shifting from a large increase in kidnappings, this didn’t seem to be enough. In the year 2008, Trinidad and Tobago has seen its worst when it comes to murder figures as the count of homicide rose to a startling 550 persons, murdered in cold blood. As of today 21st February, the murder toll for the year of 2013 has climbed to 70 in 52 days. As a result of this, there has been a call for gun control laws in this country, not only this but the public begins to beg the question, “does the Government have the answers to the crime” this question is so frequently raised. Sociologist Emile Durkheim gives us from his theory of Crime and Deviance, his explanation for crime in society, he argued that “crime should be seen as something functional and necessary for society”. Durkheim further states that  “If crimes were not committed, then the values of society would become blurred”. To some extent Durkheim validates his point by stating that “Crime rates fluctuate over time, due to the complex nature of society..” and that “Deviance is relative…” This means that there is no absolute way of defining a deviant act. An act defined as deviant in one society may be seen as perfectly normal in another. But how in such a short time, that murder has been a name etched in the fabric of our society? Remembering Stacy Ramdeen, in 2012, when “it is alleged” police officers from Central Division in Chaguanas killed her to claim deeds for land in Tobago, or maybe when police firearms and bulletproof vests or army fatigues are “stolen” or “lost” and are found or involved in illegal activity what does this tell us? Where are the guns coming from? And who has the authority to get them? Who can the people really trust? Who? The sickening part of all this is that now officers are becoming targets of crime, and as such we have lost a few good men. How many more mothers will cry? What will it take to put an end to the madness?

Murder toll climbs to 66 as Three more gunned down Published: Thursday, February 21, 2013 Derek Achong Merle Leorelle, centre, is supported by friends after arriving on the scene at Straker Village, off Picton Hill, Laventille, where her son Floyd Corridon was shot dead yesterday. PHOTO: ANDY HYPOLITE