Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 9th 2015 Contents A21
Friday, January 9, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Three day 'hands-on' class
Saturday 17, 24,31 January 2015
Small classes, no experience needed.
Venue: San Fernando 0102018
HOLE IN THE ROAD
Rondon, left, and
John Lewis show
a deep a hole
along the Paria
Main Road on
The world is undoubtedly fix-
ated on the tragedy that
befell the French magazine
Charlie Hebdo and the murder
of a police officer. Our national
and regional communities have
joined in solidarity with the
rest of the globe in expressing
both our sympathies and con-
demnation of these hate crimes.
As I listened to an interview
with a French journalist this
morning, she said these men
were not Muslims, they were
terrorists, and that sentiment
resonated with me deeply. She
also spoke about the backlash
that she and many others fear
the Muslim population of
France may encounter. One
hopes the ripple effect these
murders will have are minimal
and truncated. However I
believe that to be wishful
Our local population is many
things, and unfortunately
among them we are also com-
plainers. We complain and
bicker about the most inane
things. I agree with our right to
freely express ourselves and
even I have my grouses about
several things, but look at what
our French compatriots are fac-
People were killed over edito-
rial content, both illustrations
and commentary. The three
murderers believed they were
avenging the Prophet Muham-
mad because the magazine had
published content which they
deemed to be disrespectful.
Here we readily dish "picong"
and openly express our dissat-
isfaction about everything from
the Government to the size of
fried chicken pieces at fast food
outlets. We have that privilege
of letting our leaders know how
we feel but we misuse and
abuse that right. Instead of
highlighting legitimate concerns
that affect us we blast the
administration about everything
other than the actual issues.
Here we practice our various
faiths without any threat of
persecution by any other group
in society. Are those not things
to be grateful and happy about?
These French citizens lost
their lives because they were
presenting different views in a
light and satirical manner. For
that they paid they ultimate
price. We take our democracy
and our liberties far too lightly
and we allow the negative to
shape our opinions. Why can t
we approach things with the
same enthusiasm and tenacity
as we do when discussing Car-
nival or anything related? We
have to get off the bandwagon
of the constant blaming of the
Government. Isn t it time we
grow up and started accepting
responsibility for our own
WE TAKE OUR DEMOCRACY,
LIBERTIES FAR TOO LIGHTLY
The sea is unforgiving
Given the recent spate of drownings, I
feel obligated, as a conscious civic
minded person, to share my life's experi-
ence as a swimmer for over 40-odd
years in the waters around the country.
Good swimmers and non-swimmers
can drown, but with good sense and
training, many lives need not be lost.
Drownings are caused by many reasons,
such as sea conditions, bad judgment,
and foolhardiness to name a few.
A child should be given the opportu-
nity to learn to swim. Some pre-schools
already have it in their school pro-
gramme, but it should be compulsory in
primary schools and up to Form Three in
There are stages to go through: make
friends with the water, learn to float,
learn the dog paddle. Always do
stretches and cool off before entering
the water, wetting the head first.
Children must be capably supervised
at all times at the water's edge, floata-
tion armbands are optional, non-swim-
mers should not venture beyond chest
high in normal waters and waist-high in
rough water, or not at all.
Good swimmers also have to follow
rules of good judgment in any conditions.
Non-swimmers should not venture to
save others except by life saving rings,
ropes or poles, or other devices, eg cool-
ers. You should not swim in unfamiliar or
dangerous areas, alcohol should never be
consumed before entering the water or
while in the water.
You should not go into the water after
eating before half an hour has passed,
because undigested food will come back
up and choke you. Always follow the life
guards' instructions and flags. You
should not dive head-first into shallow or
unfamiliar water or river pools.
Avoid bathing in ponds and river
mouths where there is soft mud below.
Fresh water is less able to support the
body. This includes pool water. To stay
afloat in these conditions takes much
more energy than salt water.
You are less likely to suffer cramps if
you are physically fit and do stretches
before swimming. Areas susceptible to
cramps are the hamstrings, calves and
arches of the feet. Swimming is probably
one of the best cardiovascular activities
a person can do, and it offers many ther-
apeutic benefits for ailing joints and
limbs, heart and pressure problems.
I started at age 14 at many areas
along San Fernando's coast such as Flat
Rock and Presentation College Scout
House. I read books and sought advice
from experienced swimmers. I even
learnt to swim without using my legs,
simulating cramps in both legs, floating
in rough water, and even invented a new
stroke I called the dolphin/butterfly.
When I was younger I was very brave
and enjoyed going behind the breakers at
Mayaro and Maracas and at each place I
was carried away by strong currents, but
my dedication and training and God al-
ways brought me back, safely.
One time I got stuck in the river
mouth mud at Godineau, Mosquito
Creek, following snail hunters. I learnt by
force how to become unstuck in deep
mud. I am saying you must prepare your-
self if you want to survive. The sea is no
joke, and deserves the greatest respect.
My advice to everyone is to be mindful
of everything you do, and always prepare
yourself to survive.
Union Hall, San Fernando
Media must resist
urge to 'chook fire'
Throughout the enlightened world, reli-
gious freedom is one of the most funda-
mental, cherished rights humans enjoy.
And so, in the name of religion, a lot of
good has been spread around. Sadly,
tremendous evil also.
One has to wonder whether free
speech has acquired the same Jekyll-and-
Too often, the tongue and pen have
been used to stir up emotions which are
better off buried, or to whip up unneces-
sary frenzies where Peter ends up paying
Out of evil cometh good. In joining the
condemnation of the massacre in Paris
Wednesday, I implore media houses to
regard the horror as a trigger for deep re-
flection on how they use the far-reaching
power they enjoy.
To whom much is given, much is ex-
pected. To whom much freedom, much
restraint. The further one's authority ex-
tends, the more circumspect one must be
about giving every stamp of approval.
In an era where technology permits in-
formation to be transmitted at raging-
wildfire speed, no media house must
deliberately set out on a course to "chook
fire" when, clearly, the resulting confla-
gration will consume indiscriminately.
Richard Wm Thomas,
Five Rivers, Arouca
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