Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 10th 2014 Contents A13
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From Page A12
streets and in the groceries.
"They have adjusted themselves. A minis-
cule number of them can be found in CEPEP
and URP work," he said. "Some are driving
taxis, working as mechanics or are employed
in service of energy-based industries."
But as the T&T Guardian probed, many
former workers painted a different picture
to the upbeat one Bobart described.
Achong-Lindsey thought for quite some
time about it.
"As Caroni ceased to exist, urbanisation
may have begun to increase due to a fall in
agriculture production," she said.
"Here you are taking people who knew
the land and knew the community and rip-
ping them away from a community.
"That basic interconnect. It still exists in
large part in those communities but one
thing that westernisation has taken away
is the importance of the family meal.
"An act as a family. A family is a micro-
cosmic community. When you add up fam-
ilies upon families, you have a communi-
"If there is a strong sense of family, com-
munity and religion that teaches values as
some experts believe, what about cultures
within which there is low violent and other
crime but the population is largely agnostic
or atheistic?" The T&T Guardian asked.
"That s a good question. I don t know,"
Marshall agrees with Achong-Lindsey
that without family, the stabilisation effect
has been seen to be eroded.
He cited Ferdinand Tönnies, a German
sociologist who sought to contrast traditional
communities with modern communities.
The first, Marshall said, dealt with the
community of family values, religion, roles
and personal attributes.
The second, he said, saw the modern
business community as one that was imper-
sonal, alienated and relying highly on ration-
ality and efficiency to underscore its per-
"In the rural areas, family and religion
are significant stabilising factors.
"In urban areas, a high degree of imper-
sonal and isolating factors are on the loose.
Rural living is still peaceful and contented
living, comparatively speaking," Marshall
"Individuals feel less pressured and there
is a sense that traditional values still find
fertile ground in these areas. Even when
aspects of city life are found in some rural
areas, there is a feeling that members of
this community tend to marry the both --
rural life with modern conveniences.
"The city centre could be a place of
opportunity as well as instability for the
individual. At the end of the day, it is tra-
ditional values that would allow us to discern
and control some of the social and psycho-
logically disruptive forces that are at work
within the urban areas."
System or choice?
The T&T Guardian told Achong-Lindsey
the stories of Shawn Madhoo, Daren Ganga,
Jean-Claude Cournand and Sheldon Alfred
and how their lives were spent in different geographies
and cultures but resulted in a similar outcome.
"Based on their example, does it mean that for
others it s a choice or is it systemic?" the T&T
"In present day society of T&T, the primary prob-
lem with all of this is simple, the social support sys-
tems are too weak and do not service the needs of
this society in the way that can bring about the nec-
essary change. And this is the self-deception that I
talked about earlier."
Achong-Lindsey paused for a moment when asked
if this would not continue perpetuating a dependency
"No," she said immediately. "It can be done in a
way that avoids that. Canada is a near perfect example
Less pressure in rural areas
Both the Ministry of Social Development and
the Sport Ministry have several programmes in
place for communities in both urban and rural
However, when asked about this Achong-
Lindsey questioned them.
"Yet you still have the homicide figures and
gang- related violence. You can have all these
programmes but there are many, many other
systems that need to be implemented to
support a society that produces growth, not
"You have short maternity leave, you don't
have the care centres needed for parents who
are working in a westernised capitalist model of
long hours and then they get home tired and
frustrated and the child has all this homework
and other attendant issues. What support does
the parent have for that?"
If the parents are away from home at work
often, she added, or supervision was not as it
could be, then children will develop resentful
She said human behaviour as relational beings
it choose the relationship that is most attractive
to them. "The gang or the person who gives you
the fulfilment and/or means will be the most
attractive," she said.
The system, she concluded, did not foster
proper education and providing opportunities for
independence of the mind in fulfilling the needs
and wants necessary for progress.
This includes sporting initiatives, something
Marshall says is another crucial factor for youth.
"Sport can be used as a platform for social
mobility to engender discipline and
responsibility that can carry the youth past their
sporting years," he said.
But to guarantee success, the initiatives, like
other support systems, must neither be difficult
to access nor challenging to sustain Daren
"There are too many one-offs and we need
many more sustainable initiatives. Too many
sporting events have to beg for sponsorship or
funding and it becomes difficult for such an
important part of mental development in our
PROGRAMMES IN PLACE
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