Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 9th 2015 Contents A23
Saturday, January 9, 2016 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
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On Old Year s Night, six-year-
old Jodal Ramnath was fatally
shot at Beetham Gardens when
gang members from a
nity shot into the
crowd he was liming
in. His mother,
from his killing,
of the dead boy
gold chains and
On social media,
several of the com-
ments were moronic in
implying that the little boy
was somehow to blame for
his death. But the underlying
reason such an image was
used by the media was
because of the manner of his
death: the boy was "collateral
damage" in gang warfare and,
at six years old, had already
begun to mimic the mannerisms
of the very persons who most
likely killed him.
It is popular to blame parents
for their children s shortcomings,
but in fact the question of how
parents influence their children is
still very much open. All of us are
products of our genes, our home
environments, and our society. But
the measure and nature of each of
these factors is hard to tease out.
At one extreme, some experts
argue that the parental factor ends
at birth and thereafter the external
environment is the overriding fac-
tor. Psychologist Judith Rich Harris
in her 1998 book The Nurture
Assumption presented a strong
case for this. At the other extreme,
there are volumes of data showing
that parental styles are a key influ-
ence on children. So the fact is,
nobody really has an exact answer.
Many things confound such
research, including the fact that
the same parenting approach can
have different effects on the chil-
dren within a family (due to the
child s inborn temperament) and
because social pressures influence
children differently according to
whether they are middle-class or
Take this weird effect found in
a 2003 study of seven-year-old
children done by a team led by
psychologist Eric Turkheimer:
among rich families, IQ levels are
mostly caused by genes, whereas
among poor families IQ is mostly
influenced by the environment.
More exactly, 90 per cent of the
variation in intelligence
among poor children was
due to differences in their
environment, while 72
per cent of the differ-
ences among well-off
children were due to dif-
ferences in their genes.
How can we
explain this? Basi-
cally, what this
most likely shows
is that the social envi-
ronments of the poor
is much less stable
than the environments
of well-off children. In
a homogenous envi-
ronment, genetic dif-
ferences are more
clearly expressed; in a
variable one, genes get subsumed
by social pressures.
From a policy perspective, this
means that interventions to make
the home environments of poor
people more stable can have good
effects for children. From a
parental perspective, providing
that stability through a harmo-
nious relationship with your
spouse (and this holds even for
divorcees) and through an author-
itative parenting style (which
involves plenty affection and giving
reasons for punishment) will go a
long way towards developing your
child s potential.
It is commendable that the
construction of sliding gates has caught
the attention of the T&T Bureau of
Standards (TTBS), and the International
Code Council (ICC). It is alarming to think
there are gates out there which may fall
and harm people.
There are several sliding gates on my
street, all different. One is solid and
sounds like a train when it's being
opened and closed. The others are
typical, but big, metal structures none
However the same question will arise
if any legislation is passed making the
construction of the gates regulatory.
Who will check the gates? If people here
can build houses without regulation,
although there is a body to monitor that,
do you think they will worry about the
gates? Of course not!
And this is our fundamental problem.
We don't seem to have enough people
monitoring our building construction.
And by building, I mean homes,
driveways, extensions, boundary walls;
anything to do with a building.
We are a nation of people who don't
know how to regulate ourselves. We
need people in authority to always keep
us in check. It's a sad fact, but it's true.
However, there is a saying, "those who
have the most self control, have the
most freedom." Will it ever apply to us?
I am appealing to this administration
to put the necessary people in place to
ensure a more structured nation going
forward. We must start now.
Because there have been deaths due
to falling gates, wouldn't it be prudent
for the TTBS and the ICC to send out
guidelines as to how this can be
prevented? An ad in the papers,
something through the mail? And while
you're at it, send a list of building codes,
then no one can say they didn't know it
was wrong. It just requires some paper
and some time, and someone with the
will to get it done.
Every Carnival we lose a member of the fra-
ternity. 2016 is no different. Dr Jit Samaroo has
arranged his final tune. He has taken leave of
us.He was the most successful arranger in the
53-year history of the Panorama competition.
He spread his ability, arranging for many bands.
Jit composed jazz, gospel and chutney songs.
Indo music sounds the sweetest played on the
steel pan. How is that for national unity?
He was recognised with the Humming Bird
Medal of Merit/silver in 1987 and the Chaconia
Medal of Merit/silver in 1995.
This is not a time for sadness. His passing
must serve as an inspiration.
Renegades, that elusive tenth title, make it
happen. Let the music play.
What is the greatest tribute that could be
paid to him? Renegades, play and win the 10th
Panorama title for Jit!
Jit Samaroo, wherever you are compere, we
came out with real fire this year.
I was in Cocoa, Florida, this week and when asked of my
"accent" the man proceeded to tell me about Trinidad. That his
son who is "white as powder" is in the Cocoa High School steel
That they are constantly practicing and getting real good.
I started to inquire about other schools in Florida and, lo and
behold, more schools have pan as part of their music.
I was so shocked and embarrassed for myself first and then
my country. Year after year I see the struggle to introduce music
into our schools. Year after year the detractors win.
It is time to get our musical instruments in schools, including
Indian instruments, because surely that will be brought up.
Suggestion for Education Minister: Why not have orchestras
for multidisciplines? Let all our kids learn to play everything.
Music is good for young expanding and growing minds and
Enough of the excuses. Let the local steel bands/orchestras,
who get tons of money from Government, donate instruments
to the schools. Let their professionals donate time to go and
In fact, make it compulsory of all recipients of Government
money to give back to the community from which they hail.
Do you make your child?
Make music in
schools mandatory Play one for Jit
Who will check the 'killer' gates?
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