Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 16th 2015 Contents A27
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Iwas driving down Richmond Street one day
and observed two boys, ages 10-12, having an
altercation on the sidewalk. They looked like
they were brothers but were having quite an
When blows started to ensue, one of them
who had an umbrella in his hand, hit the other
boy. I stopped my car at that point and
sounded my horn, calling out to them to stop it
right now, but could do no more as I had
stopped traffic and had to move along.
This incident called to mind the news stories
that have been hot topics over the last few
weeks. Policemen burning a young man in cus-
tody, teenagers having sex in uniform in one of
their classrooms, with pictures of it going viral
on social media, and our own parliamentary of-
ficials crossing boundaries of respect to humili-
ate opposing members with unbecoming
I realised that all these incidents actually
have something in common, which is that there
is no more respect for the dignity of people.
People think it's OK to treat others with dis-
respect and violence, and to use them for
I hear comments like disgraceful, disgusting
and scandalous, but where have these behav-
iours been learned? People call for more sex-
education hoping it will solve some problems,
but this is false hope as what is currently avail-
able does not appear to be making a difference.
Many of our religions, and the Catholics
quite loudly, have been calling for education in
human development, education and formation
of all the aspects of the human person along
with training in values and the practice of
They promote family life education which
recognises that parents are the first educators,
and call for training of parents, teachers and
children alike. Consistent, age-appropriate edu-
cation in human development addresses the
differences between right and wrong, calls peo-
ple to a higher standard and teaches them to
master feelings and emotions (not deny them),
and to use good sense to make good choices.
It is never OK to burn someone as a means
of interrogation, or to engage in public sexual
acts, or to use parliamentary privilege to ma-
lign a person's character.
It is never OK to sexually assault minors, or
to steal from one's employer or to bribe govern-
ment officials, and this list could go on.
The churches have it right!
The churches have it right
The recent uproar and wave of
support from Trinis in particu-
lar, at Destra Garcia s recent call
for the fence removal incident at
Bacchanal Jamaica carnival event, is
irrational and moreover misplaced.
In my view, the fence, barrier, seg-
regation etc, between VIP and Gen-
eral is but a smoke screen of the
deeper issue of extreme wealth
inequality that exist in the region
and indeed the world.
Multi-price structuring and corre-
sponding varying patron seating or
standing location is not a proponent
of this inequality. In fact, I believe
this literal "two-stage" pricing struc-
ture, allows poorer people to attend
the same event to see these great
talents that can be effectively priced
out of their reach.
If it were that the same price was
being paid by all patrons but because
of let s say your address, alumni, or
God forbid the way you looked,
assigned you to a different seating or
standing position, then I would say
we have a big, big problem. But this
is not the case in the present two-
stage pricing structure fetes.
Where there might be a genuine
cause for concern, is with the "pub-
lic" fetes that are not publicly adver-
tised (online included) or which have
impossible distribution mediums,
both of which, have the effect of
excluding most members of the pub-
lic because of their address and
alumni (or high school) etc.
Some people in our society tend to
be more okay with this, when in
fact, it is indeed more discriminatory
and divisive than the ones you can
actually attend but at which you
may have to stand in the back
because you are poorer.
The rising income in T&T and the
slow death of the downtown fete is
testament that the "jump-up and
wave" fete is an inferior product, or
in other words, people who are or
were poor and the rich (as they also
went to downtown fetes) desire a
different calibre of performance,
ambiance and vibe (putting away
crime for the moment, which only
strengthens my argument). The two-
stage pricing allows for more (not
all) people to be a part of this type
of fete (where it is publicly adver-
tised), not less.
As an economist myself, it is my
humble view that multi-price/two-
stage pricing structures has more to
do with the economics of consumer
surplus and less to do with con-
sumer discrimination. So let s deal
with inequality at its root (ie in our
hearts, minds and economic systems)
and not just in the fetes, please.
Editor's note: In a press release
Destra Garcia assured fans and
promoters alike that she had no
issue with VIP sections or fences
constructed at events following
reports of her refusal to perform
at a fete in Jamaica until a fence
Destra, who has been a staple
act at the annual Bacchanal
Jamaica party from inception, said
that the fence in question was a
bigger than usual vertical barricade
which left the general admission
crowd with little room to move as
her songs commanded.
She said in the future, the pro-
moters should construct the fence
along the stage or in a manner
that it does hinder patrons from
enjoying the experience to the
fullest. She said while she under-
stood that there are people who
pay more to enjoy a premium
experience, she believes everyone
should have space to enjoy them-
NOT JUST A FENCE ISSUE
BUT OF INEQUALITY
Destra as she performs at Bacchanal Jamaica, last Thursday.
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