With the full moon mainly hidden in the ominous dark clouds hovering in a rainy sky, the usually bustling Charlotte Street has suddenly sunk into a cavernous drop lined mainly by locked up stores, half-open bars and a large number of casino type outlets with speakers pumping reggae music to warm up the cool and basically quiet Wednesday night.
On the concrete sidewalk, under a golden light, a man sleeps in oblivion as if in a stupor;
another lies on his back and uses a bottle as a pillow while speaking on an imaginary telephone;
a slim young woman who looks like she should be inside doing her homework, appears to be shyly negotiating outside a club entrance with a youth in short pants and merino over some unstated, hidden object or service.
The newly christened Chinatown arch glows dimly in the increasing rain and, in general, one of T+T’s capital city traffic arteries is a damp shadow of itself.
“St James?” The young PH taxi driver signals from his car on the illegal taxi stand which begins operating at night when the usual one at Woodford Square closes down for the night.
Like the other young men plying their trade here, this job seems to be an extra hustle to supplement their regular income. They do not seem in a hurry to grab passengers and, in fact, the one who’s first in line is more preoccupied with the
“How yuh like dis, uncle?”, he giggles while sharing his photo with his front-seat passenger who finds himself enjoying the long wait in the casual atmosphere.
For sure, the sense of acceleration of activity pervades Independence Square where the second ChinaTown Arch hovers over a new burst of vendors selling doubles, pies and fruit punches.
Meanwhile, a number of fast food outlets employ their attractive neon lights that flicker brightly in the dark to welcome fast-moving passersby who can easily dart in as patrons.
At this cool hour, the youths seem more focused on buying and consuming doubles by the two’s and three’s as opposed to considering criminal activity. The stranger feels quaintly safe.
You would never believe that a few hours from now, someone will most likely be gunned down in the morning light with blood splattered all over the concrete sidewalk that was freshly cleaned by the hard-working City Council crews.
So what’s the connection, if any, between criminal behavior and the prevailing climatic conditions?
In this connection, a paper published by the University of Birmingham in November, 2021 notes: “There are, however, a number of ways that global warming can affect criminal behavior . For example, there is direct impact of certain factors such as temperature on aggressive behavior and hence violent crime. There is an indirect impact of adverse climate changes that affect economic outcomes e.g. floods or drought.
Almost every available study on the topic comes to the same conclusion: crime rates tend to go up as the weather gets hotter. According to esfandilawfirm in a paper published as recently as June,2022: “Criminologists, for example, have been aware for decades that murders and violent crimes are more frequent during hot summer months”
Which makes a big case for the TT government‘s financing of the Trinidad Carnival and so many festive activities as the country’s major safety valve to cool down the pace at a very hot time of the year.
And for the sweltering August holidays, we take a long school holiday and go to the beaches or free ourselves up by going abroad.
So, having come to some increased awareness of how the temperature of this jittery twin-island Caribbean state of 1.6 million diverse people packed into 1,864 square miles, can so strongly influence behavior and criminal activity, it seems that the government is left with only one thing to do.
Namely, firmly establish festivals according to the manner in which they blend in with the particular opportunity and tempo of climatic moment to ensure we are all in sync and in a comfort zone on every occasion.
This will therefore properly cater for all seasons such as Lent, Divali, Caura River Lime, Parang, Carnival and Easter.
It will also give the banks an opportunity to offer loans for parties and holidays, a practice which some conservative citizens have been known to frown upon.