This is what’s possible when you realize that the big, bad criminal attacking you from the outside, could very well be – like TT Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and like most of us – just another frightened little boy screaming for love and attention from deep inside.
The very fact that the Tobago Ah We Boy who once walked to school barefoot could be wistfully celebrating his 73rd birthday on Divali or the Hindu Festival of Lights, gives great encouragement to those who are now calling for the United Nations headquarters to be re-sited in Trinidad and Tobago.
For it was almost as if there was a real meeting of minds, hearts, bodies an souls that stepped up to the centre stage of the People’s National Movement (PNM) in the Indian-dominated Constituency of Chaguanas this week.
It was in this context therefore that Rowley announced that the nation will get a 12 month tax break for the purchase of CCTV cameras.
Speaking at the People’s National Movement (PNM) meeting at Signature Hall, Chaguanas Rowley said that this tax break will be given to both the corporate sector and individuals to equip places with cameras.
The Prime Minister disclosed that $80 million was spent to purchase 2,500 cameras which are currently being installed at various locations.
He added that another 2.500 will be purchased which means there will be 5.000 cameras operated and owned by the State and will aid in the crime fight.
Rowley said the criminals must “come out of their hole” and move and when they do that they will be recorded and this aids police in their crime fighting efforts.
“What can I say about people being killed except that the Government has committed and is providing all the resources as far as the police are able to stop it before it happens or to find the perpetrators after,” he said.
This is despite the good news revealed by Finance Minister Colm Imbert about the $50 plus Energy windfall received by the government as a result of painstaking work done by Rowley and his team – with special mention to be paid to the sterling efforts of Energy Minister Stuart Young – to negotiate more favorable conditions with the world’s energy giants, including Shell.
And yet, the analogy of hopelessness hovering in the form of Crime over a place of such fine possibilities continues to haunt Rowley who, from his record, has always sought for perfection in his political career.
The thorn in his side is Crime and Murder, especially among our youths.
In this connection, let’s take a look at what Victor E. Frankl has to say in his book: Man’s Search for Meaning, an account of the life of a set of Jewish prisoners in a World War 11 German Concentration Camp.
“Cold curiosity predominated even in Auswitch”, Frankl wrote, “Somehow detaching the mind from its surroundings which came to be regarded with kind of objectivity’
According to Frankl in his bestseller: “At that time, one cultivated this state of mind as a means of protection. We were anxious to know what would happen next.
“In the next few days, our curiosity evolved into surprise, surprise that we did not catch cold”. So – in trying to keep with this analogy – how many new, painful surprises can a caring father of a small, diverse, ever jittery nation be expected to absorb without caving in like the 51-year-old woman who spent the morning washing down blood after her son was gunned down in February 2022 at an apartment building in San Fernando not far from her home?
Karlene Eccles told reporters her son Paul Eccles, 26, did not deserve to be killed in such a gruesome way.
She admitted that her son had two pending matters before the court, including robbery-related offenses from 2016 and a 2020 firearm offense.
In this regard, it’s helpful to listen to Frankl,a doctor, especially in terms of how a whole group of people can become victims of Crime as a national malaise, in spite of their best intentions.:
“Let us consider, for instance, ‘Sunday Neurosis’, the kind of depression which afflicts people who become aware of their lack of content in their lives when the rush of the busy week is over and the void within themselves becomes manifest”
He continues: “Such widespread phenomena are not understandable as depression, aggression and addiction unless we recognize the existential vacuum underlying them”.
This is also true of the crises of pensioners and aging people’.
This may also be very true for the 73 year old political leader like PM Rowley compared with the 18 year old youth now reportedly charged for the murder of a 15 year old.
So while the Rowley administration seems to have busied itself in the idea that refurbishing buildings providing new courthouses and setting up cameras will somehow eradicate the Crime problem, , we can take a cue from Victor Frankly who spent a number of years as a prisoner in a German concentration camp.
In one of his Ah Ha! moments, Frankly states:
“A thought transfixed me: for the first time in my life, I saw the truth as it is set
into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers.
‘The truth – that love is the ultimate and highest goal to which man can aspire.
Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart:
The salvation of man is through love and in love.
Which may very well be why we, as a resilient, ambitious people can find the fortitude to blast out
Nation’s motto across the globe with confidence when we say:
Together We Aspire
Together We Achieve.