Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 26th 2014 Contents A29
Saturday, April 26, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
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Send resume to email@example.com
There is in circulation around the
Internet right now a joke that (like
most jokes) has a lot of truth in it.
It says “it’s only when you see a
mosquito landing on your testicles
that you realise that there is always
a way to solve problems without
I was reminded forcefully of this
joke Wednesday morning when I
read the T&T Guardian story about
the mother who beat her teenage
daughter for posting most inappro-
priate pictures of herself in various
stages of undress. The mother post-
ed the beating of the daughter on
the Internet because she wanted the
daughter to be suitably embarrassed
at the humiliation of the beating (as
if the reported 63 or 69 blows were
Now, I was in my car close to
lunchtime on Wednesday and had
tuned to I95.5fm radio which had a
live on air discussion about this
video, the punishment meted out to
the girl, and whether or not it was
appropriate. To my great chagrin
what little I heard of the radio pro-
gramme (I had tuned in very near
the end) suggested to me that not
only were all the callers in agree-
ment with the mother beating her
daughter, but the radio host also felt
that the beating was in order.
Certainly, I did not hear the host
disagreeing with all the callers who
made it clear that they saw nothing
wrong with the beating and in fact
condoned it. One female caller even
invoked the old saw about sparing
the rod and spoiling the child!
So? What’s wrong with this pic-
ture? Go back to the top of this
article and read the rather crude
joke. Then pay attention to its
deeper meaning. Look past the
more than slightly explicit crudity
and understand the point that it is
making. If I have to explain that
point then you obviously haven’t
got it and never will!
But, what does this attitude tell
us about our society? The answer,
unfortunately, is a lot! If the average
person in this society believes that
it is all right to beat a child for any
infraction, serious or otherwise,
then why is the average person in
this society so surprised at the lev-
els of crime here in good old T&T
which every right-thinking person
in the society condemns? All vio-
lence does is to breed more vio-
In order to succeed as a nation
we must look at ourselves as hon-
estly as we possibly can. And when
we do so we must admit that just
about everything in this society that
is wrong is not really the fault of
the politicians (although I would be
the first to admit that a lot of them
on all sides seem to be doing their
level best to make things worse) but
is really our fault. We are the ones
We are the ones to blame for the
lousy health service, the terribly
inefficient police force and the
worse than useless system that tries
to pass for an education system. We
are the ones to blame for the cor-
ruption that seems to pervade
everything. It is us and nobody else.
To paraphrase William Shake-
speare on his 450th birthday, the
fault, dear friends, lies not in our
stars but in ourselves that we have
almost gleefully ignored and avoided
all the hard decisions that would
have let us build that “shining city
on the hill.”
We really do not have a right to
complain about anything! We have
brought it all on ourselves!
There are many changes which
are being implemented by the Min-
istry of Education to alleviate some
of the stress the students writing
the SEA examinations experience.
One such change is moving the ex-
amination from March to May, and
the Minister and his team should be
commended for this, as it allows
more time to complete the syllabus,
facilitate adequate preparation, re-
vision and practice.
However, there is one change I
would like to see that would benefit
all students tremendously. The time
allocated for mathematics is 75
minutes to complete 46 questions.
Based on 2013 SEA Mathematics
paper, although there were 46
questions, there were a total of 69
I think the time should be in-
creased by 15 minutes to 90 min-
utes. Why? I have seen my son,
who is writing SEA this year, strug-
gle to complete past papers in
Mathematics within 75 minutes.
This leads to urgency and anxiety
that cause him to make mistakes
and have some questions incom-
plete. When I give extra time, not
only does he complete the paper
but he does better.
In CXC O-level Mathematics mul-
tiple-choice exam, the students are
given 60 questions to do in 90 min-
utes and SEA students are given 75
minutes to complete an average of
69 items, therefore something is
drastically wrong. I would like to
know what is the NPTA or TTUTA’s
position on this matter.
The extra time would definitely
be beneficial to all students be-
cause they would attempt the
exam more confidently seeing that
they have more time.
I know that the Minister has the
authority to alter the examination
expeditiously and more changes are
coming in 2015 so I think that he
definitely has the power to make
this change. In doing so he would
make many students, parents and
teachers very happy.
Pinto Road Arima
There was a huge stink emanat-
ing from a drain in my neighbour-
hood. I knew it had to be from
something dead. I did not know
what to do as I know the authori-
ties in T&T are not quick to respond
to concerns from of the public.
I called the Health and Safety De-
partment at the San Juan Laventille
Regional Corporation and they gave
me a number which only went to
voicemail. I called them back and
they were not helpful.
was anxious to get rid of the foul
smell. I decided to go to the top. I
wrote a letter and e-mailed it same
day to the CEO and, would you be-
lieve that, within an hour I got a re-
sponse saying the matter would be
dealt with the next morning.
If only one did not have to go to
the top to get action in this country!
However, the individual who re-
ceived orders from the CEO indi-
cated that all workers had gone
home after four and that they
would deal with the problem first
thing in the morning.
As I was going to work that
morning, I got a phone call at 7.30
and the crew chief was already in
the area. He was very courteous
and dealt with the matter immedi-
I would like to thank the crew
chief, his workers and CEO of the
Corporation for such expedient de-
livery of services to hard working
taxpayers. That is performance!
But, still, why did I have to go to the
While completely against the thrashing received by
the child in the Facebook controversy, I would like to
point out that the mother has complained about her
daughter being a problem child for some time and that
she was unable to get the assistance she needed to
solve the problem.
She is correct. It is almost impossible for parents to
obtain help in these circumstances because the psycho-
social support needed is not available in the govern-
ment-run health or educational system. The private
sector is very expensive and there are too many charla-
tans pretending to be psychologists/counsellors who
take your money and do nothing.
In this case, Mrs Persad-Bissessar should stop think-
ing like a lawyer and act like a PM, ie, see to the estab-
lishment of adequate psycho-social services in the
different ministries for the children.
David E Bratt CMT, MD, MPH
WHY COMPLAIN WHEN
WE ARE TO BLAME?
Help comes only from the top man?
Allow more time for SEA maths paper
A pedestrian is forced to pass behind a badly-parked vehicle along Dundonald Street, Port-of-Spain on
Thursday. PHOTO: ROBERTO CODALLO
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