Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 1st 2014 Contents A35
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We are doing a bad job
of socialising the
young. It is abundantly
clear that in some contexts here
in Trinidad, that the confluence
of home life, school life, com-
munity life, peer group influ-
ences and the limitless influ-
ence from modern media
produce some young males who
are mindless killers. This prob-
lem of bad socialisation also
shows up in schools in the
form of increasing indiscipline.
In response, it is now fash-
ionable to blame the parents.
Priests, bishops, teachers, police
commissioners and all the other
custodians of order are blaming
the parents. One gets the
impression that if parents just
do their jobs the problems of
youth delinquency would go
It cannot be denied that if
the quality of parenting
improves that things certainly
would get better. It cannot be
denied either that any efforts at
preparing and equipping par-
ents for their roles would be a
plus for the society.
But we cannot consider par-
enting apart from the quality of
community, school and other
social amenities such as health
care and housing, and the
influence of modern media.
When we consider all these
factors which impact on par-
enting we recognise that the
odds are strongly against par-
Frequent comparisons are
made to the great parents of
yesteryear who had large fami-
lies and survived under rela-
tively poor conditions. But the
community was a friendly place
and children were safe within
the neighbourhoods. There were
ample spaces for organised
games, recreation and even
access to a lot of free mangoes
and guavas etc. A lot of poor
children experienced enchanted
A lot of communities are
now dangerous places for chil-
dren, and parents have to find
money to access play and
recreation. I want to argue that
the community was as impor-
tant as the parent in childhood
socialisation in times gone by.
Given the influences of mod-
ern media, the home is not an
enclave. The home is an invad-
ed space. With TV, cell phones,
laptops and Internet it is not
possible as parents to know
what influences your children
Being a parent in the new
information order is extremely
challenging. Parents today are
highly unprepared to prepare
their children for the world of
tomorrow simply because that
world cannot be predicted.
Their tastes, ambitions, and
motivations are grounded in a
set of experiences that parents
may not be in contact with.
How many parents know that
their children are visiting porn
sites? In our homes where each
person has his own screen can
we really say we know where
our children are even when
they are physically at home?
Are we able anymore to deter-
mine the influences to which
they are exposed as they grow
In addition, the challenges of
poor housing, poor health pro-
vision and poor schooling mean
that parents who do not have
the resources and initiatives to
provide health care or opportu-
nities for extra-curricular activ-
ities or private lessons, are in
trouble. The costs and chal-
lenges of parenting become
more demanding when social
amenities are lacking or diffi-
cult to access.
If it took a village to raise a
child that village has certainly
disappeared. We need to change
the discourse about parenting
How can we help parents to
do a better job of socialising
and upbringing of their chil-
dren? That is the relevant
question for authorities in
health, housing, education,
sports, police and religious
institutions as well.
Reading the complaint of a parent,
concerning the non-provision of
meals at the child's school during the
final days of the last term, set me remi-
niscing about my own school meals.
I wondered if journalists Paolo Kerna-
han, Lennox Grant or Raoul Pantin ever
heard of a 16-cents lunch.
I believe that only the last mentioned
may have had an inkling of it.
Boysie, at the junction of Warren and
Kelly Kenny streets, served up a sliced
six cents loaf, sparsely smeared with salt
butter and even more thinly covered
with a layer of cheese, (some of us still
claim that one could see through it), pep-
per optional, and home-made juice, in a
beer bottle, for the princely sum of 16
For his ultra-thin cheese slicing Boysie
could have given lessons in transparency.
It was amazing that this meal pro-
vided the energy for me to biff ball after
school, with the likes of Ewart Williams,
and bowl fast (pelt), against Stephen Al-
mandoz, groan through the Angelus led
by Prefect Farfan, and afterwards, run
from Mucurapo to the PoS railway sta-
tion to catch the 6.30 pm train.
And I still had change from my one
shilling daily allowance to buy a packet of
Crispy's nuts for four cents!
It has come to pass that derogatory re-
marks about the reported "aggressive"
personality of the leader of the Opposi-
tion are now very much in his favour. In
fact the "wajang" demeanour of our es-
teemed "political rottweiler" is of grave
importance in today's razor edge politics
being played out in the political arena.
Hanging on like a rottweiler and forc-
ing the Partnership government to tell
the man in the street what is really hap-
pening regarding allegations of miscon-
duct by high office holders, is the only
This is not the time for weak tea and
sponge cake politics.
The story in the media that reigns as
the flavour of the day, the week and the
month, is undoubtedly the issue of alle-
gations of unprofessional and possibly
illegal behaviour by legal people in the
office of the Attorney General.
The Attorney General, a man of iron
and steel combined, is not going to let
anybody walk all over him and is quite
prepared to stand his ground.
Regardless as to how this confronta-
tion will end, it is quite clear that the in-
dividual who is elected to head the
People's National Movement must be
seen as capable of sparring with a gov-
ernment that is hoping to win the gen-
eral election of 2015.
I am saying it again, Team Penny, de-
spite being long in the field of local poli-
tics, quite frankly appears not quite
capable of stopping a Partnership gov-
ernment in its tracks.
The members of her team appear to
be as "nice" and as unremarkable as a
non-alcoholic pina colada.
The internal elections of the PNM
scheduled for May 18, 2014, is not a
front page issue. Not now. Not when the
focus is on a fight to the finish between
a political raging bull and the govern-
ment of the day.
Dr Rowley is not going to allow the
Partnership government to invade and
fool the unsuspecting electorate.
They are not going to be crossing his
gate. He has become this country's
favourite rottweiler to guard our democ-
ODDS AGAINST PARENTS OF TODAY
Remembering those lunches for 16 cents
paddles a raft as
hitch a ride at
Mt Irvine beach
Now not time for 'sponge cake' politics
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