Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 17th 2013 Contents A33
Saturday, August 17, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
The homeless population or
street dwellers, has been grow-
ing at an alarming rate in T&T.
The proper authorities must address
this situation urgently.
Homelessness is not a disease, or
a crime, but can easily become both
because of the frustration and inhu-
mane conditions the homeless
encounter daily. Also, other citizens
are faced with serious health and
safety hazards because of them.
A couple months ago the Minister
of Social Development embarked on
a programme to rid the streets of
T&T of the homeless population
and took some of them to facilities
to have them rehabilitated. A few
weeks later the minister, with his
team, announced on television some
of the homeless population that
Rehabilitation is a long, difficult
process, more so when the home-
less are being abused, burnt with
cigarettes butts and sometimes
raped. They have to trust you
before even thinking about rehabili-
tation, and gaining someone s trust
that you do not know takes time.
Further, rehabilitation is a private
issue and showing off these guys,
clean shaven, well dressed, and
holding birth certificates is not
rehabilitation but more like
Since then, I haven t heard a
word about that programme. There
are many steps to complete rehabil-
itation, diet and nutrition being
most important at first.
The Ministry of Social Develop-
ment should recruit and train staff
to prepare the homeless population
for residential rehabilitation which
requires hosting workshops, and life
skills training to prepare them for
work and to function independently,
just like other citizens.
Recently there were squatters
receiving comfort certificate for
squatting on state lands which is
now theirs. Kudos to government
for that humanitarian gesture.
But what about the homeless
Indirectly, they are doing the
same as squatters, but unrewarded
with comfort certificates for sleep-
ing on the pavement. Give them a
long vacation to start---yes send
them on holidays. Take them to
different facilities all over T&T, and
if extra space is needed, take some
to Rousillac, but not to the jail
During their "vacation" time our
roads and pavements will be clean
and clear of street dwellers. School-
children will be spared verbal and
physical abuse going and coming
from school. Law abiding pedestri-
ans will be able to walk in comfort
and not have to step away from the
Motorists will be able to focus
better on the roads without distrac-
tions from the homeless begging for
money and food.
Rummaging through garbage bins
will cease and the country will
become safer and healthier.
Then the health hazard created
years ago by the homeless popula-
tion will be cleaned up all over
Tackle crime at level of family
We cannot continue blaming the authorities
totally for the high rates of crime. I always won-
der whether or not parents are aware of the in-
tegral role they play in the lives of their children.
The socialisation of children in today's society
cannot be taken for granted, as this is the inte-
gral avenue for inculcating the moral code we
We as parents must take a greater stance in
ensuring that we nurture our children to be hon-
est, polite and hardworking. I am almost sure
that the high levels of crime can be curbed if we
start at the root of the issue. Poor family man-
agement and lack of communication at home
are an invitation for children to seek attention
from harmful avenues.
Gangs and gang warfare are always reasons
given by the authorities for high levels of crime.
With this in mind I am calling on parents to
place more emphasis on their parenting styles
and family life. Let us keep our kids off the
streets. Let us create a safer society for our chil-
dren to live in by doing our part to ensure that
we do not contribute to the situation.
Chambers of commerce
only after election money?
How many Chamber of Commerce member
companies stand to benefit from the frenzy of
advertising generated by any election campaign
in this currently unregulated country and this
overheated political climate?
Could that be a deciding factor in their pro-
nouncement on the possible postponement of
an election that, according to an overwhelming
majority of people who have served in local gov-
ernment, accomplishes nothing?
It has been said time and again by people on
all sides that this sector of our government is in
desperate need of reform, so why not bite the
figurative bullet here and now?
If not now, when?
I find it cold and unfeeling that a business or-
ganisation could put selfish interests against
one of the most important corrective measures
we as a people could take in the best interest of
all our people.
Those of us who have called for a pause to
allow for both Local Government and campaign
finance reforms to take place do so with the in-
terest of the country at heart. Perhaps the
chambers could point out what is their motiva-
Phillip Edward Alexander
Social & political Activist
There's life beyond
The term "country
bookie" refers to an unin-
formed person from a
rural community. Recently
I have been hearing "edu-
cated" folk from the city
sounding more ignorant
and misinformed than
rural people. It is mind-
boggling that there are
people who are unaware
of development continu-
ously taking place in areas
such as Central and San
Fernando because they
just "don't pass the light-
house." There's running
water, cars, paved roads
and not donkey carts and
dirt roads as some may
We should not allow
foreigners to be more fa-
miliar with our own coun-
To solve crime, change mindset
Over the years there has been a series of
crime plans, administration after administration.
For the first time, I saw the Prime Minister of this
country cry on national television because of the
crime situation, and that pulled me in every emo-
tional realm possible.
I am angry because the youth being brought
up in these communities are being socialised to
I cry because so many young people are being
killed, therefore, no future and a dying generation.
I am confused because the same persons cry-
ing out in desperation to the government for help
are the same ones robbing and killing each other.
I am further confused because a "turf war" can
exist from the bottom of one hill to the top.
I am afraid to even venture out of my house at
certain times for fear of being a victim of crime
and this makes me feel like a prisoner in my own
I am embarrassed when foreigners remark in
horror when they compare the size of our coun-
try to the growing levels of crime.
How can a situation be changed when the
communities know all the gangs or individuals
who are performing these criminal activities and
they don't speak up for fear of being killed? How
does a government solve crime with a situation
like this? Why should anyone want to help these
people if they refuse to help themselves?
I am shouting at the top of my lungs for this
Government to re-visit the Defence Bill and try
hard to get the Opposition's support. It is time to
take back our communities and our beautiful na-
tion from the criminal elements.
Bring on the soldiers
Gang warfare has taken a grip on our youth
and it's no surprise. Despite efforts to educate
and move these youngsters away from crime, this
lifestyle has been ingrained in them from a tender
age. It has become a way of life, and this is only
Unless drastic measures are taken the crime
situation will continue to worsen. The criminals
fear no one and certainly the police are no match.
This is even more apparent as police were on pa-
trol when three teenagers were murdered earlier
The criminals have now joined forces with their
children and so we need a stronger crime fighting
unit. This can be done by giving soldiers the same
privileges as the police. Something's got to give
and it should not be our lives.
SEND HOMELESS ON
A LONG VACATION
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