The UK Travel Advisory for its citizens wishing to visit Trinidad and Tobago goes something like this: You should be aware that there are high levels of violent crime, especially shootings and kidnappings. British nationals have been victims of violent attacks, particularly in Tobago where law enforcement is weak. This advisory doesn’t even take into account the recent brutal attack on an elderly British couple in Tobago over the weekend. No arrests were made in this latest incident as far as I know but hopefully soon.
What about the murderer or murderers of the Swedish couple in Tobago last October? Were there any arrests, clues, suspects or is it life on the Island is too good so no one is bothered. Talk about tourism on the Island taking a beating. Maybe Martian Joseph could come on TV and say exactly how concerned he is – I can’t remember if he was deeply concerned or just concerned. I am not calling on Mr. Joseph to resign since that is like asking to see God’s face but surely Mr. Joseph must admit to the population he is almost as good as a slice of stale bread and deserves at least as much respect.
Maybe the PM would consider this blog to be political in its motives for even mentioning the Tobago crime incidents or the current rate at which people are being slaughtered in Trinidad and Tobago. If the PM had his way with the media he would have instructed the news of this latest tourist attack be placed in the sports section near the West Indies Cricket news since no one would read it. Every day citizens of Trinidad and Tobago feel less safe than the day before and that is a fact. Luckily help is on the horizon and all we have to do is wait for the the interceptor boats and the helicopters to arrive before guns are removed from the streets and crime takes a holiday away from Trinidad and Tobago. But what about the cutlasses?
The Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago accused the media of writing bad things about his Government and he is right. The media must be more accommodating to his Government and write good things. For example, when Port of Spain was flooded again yesterday the media should have written how the boating industry is now firmly located in down town Port of Spain and say nothing about commuters stranded due to a boat shortage. When the murder toll reached 300 in July the media should have written about the fun trip the reporters had en route to the murder scene and the pleasant time they had trying to forget the scene with Scotch and fresh coconut water. Why the press refuses to highlight the growth of the pine box industry remains a mystery to The Prime Minister. When a man is shot dead for his Nissan Almera the media should write how the victim’s family is better off without the car since it was foreign-used and parts were hard to get. The media should not have written bad things about his latest fairy tale and instead thanked him for not reporting an act of treason since people, except Max, would have immediately stopped wining and go into depression with a tight belt. Sure there would have been more bloodshed but only because people would have been throwing extra barbecues.
The Prime Minister is right and the way the media has been lambasting him and his Government is nothing short of the media failing to fall in love with the bigger picture – CEPEP, URP and his donkey. The Prime Minister would like to know what is wrong in testing residents of La Brea for cancer regularly, after the smelter is constructed. They won’t have to pay for testing and chemo would be free. Besides, every resident would be given 10 rolls of aluminum foil per year for life. He also wants to know what is so bad about UDECOTT and why the press hates concrete and Brian Lara. And what’s so bad in spending a billion dollars to host World Leaders who, thankfully, can’t even remember our Prime Minister’s name or where the hell is Trinidad and Tobago. Mostly, the Prime wants to know why the media hates animals and doesn’t want to kiss his donkey, like the rest of his cabinet affectionately and religiously does every day. But if the media finds the Prime Minster and his pet donkey unavailable due to his security detail being peeled off agin, then they can kiss any cabinet member; it’s the same thing.
A man in the line to buy doubles was talking to all audiences and said about a year ago his partner get bumped off. It was a case of mistaken identity since his partner looked like a witness. This had me thinking; who do I look like. Sometimes I feel I look like a witness, not Jehovah, but a real witness. I might even look like ah doe fraid nobody and ah would run mih mouth. Sometimes I feel I look like a hero and even have illusions of dodging bullets Matrix style while sitting in traffic. Who I look like is not even the most worrying thing but who does the man standing next to me look like. Does he look like a witness? Is he a witness? This is Trinidad and Tobago where dying has less to do with KFC and doubles and more to do with being in the wrong place next to the right man.
Getting accidentally bumped off while buying doubles or entering a shop would not be the problem it is today if hit men were properly trained in target recognition. I think this is clearly a case of the criminal element, eager to get away, stooping low and giving crime a bad name. Local criminals have been hiring, cheaply, any and everybody who call themselves hit men just because they know a policeman with a gun to rent. A proper hit man practices shooting watermelons and other in-season fruits with special sniper rifles with uncanny precision for weeks before target-day and don’t just open fire in a bar, shooting everyone in sight while the real target sneaks out the back without paying. This is inefficient and not good for beer sales. I am not a hit man but I have seen The Day of The Jackal often enough to know our hit men are a big joke and light years away from being all that they could be. Come on people, crank it up a notch before we die laughing.
The murder toll in Trinidad and Tobago today stands at around 300. At this rate, it is sad to say, we may cross the 600 mark by the end of the year because the new crime plan is being hatched. This high murder rate has desensitized us from understanding the effects of murder and it has also made the job of a crime reporter in Trinidad and Tobago boring due to the sameness of these crimes. Crime reporters, like the hundreds of health care professionals, undertakers, police officers, bystanders and citizens are now world class experts in bullet holes, cutlass chops and stabbings about body and could do with a change of scenery or Minister of National Security. However, the latter seems an impossiblility.
Since boredom is a popular cause of leaving a job I expect there will be a high turnover of crime reporters very soon, if it has not already started. To make life easier for future crime reporters, I decided to compile a list of popular phrases and sentences to include in any report of murder in the press. They can be considered as Crime Reporting templates or tasteless. I apologize if the following sound funny at times but tragedy is usually funny to those who are still alive.
Some of these are actual media reports I modified. Hopefully this is not considered plagiarism and jeopardize my chances of serving on the Integrity Commission or as President in the future.
SAMPLE TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO CRIME TEMPLATES
He was popularly known as, “_____” and lived in the _______district. He was accustomed to dodging bullets since a boy and the reason he failed on this occasion is not known. No one is investigating.
As he opened the door the gunmen barged in and opened fire. He was hit several times about the body while his best friend and partner in crime escaped either on foot or via a gold color Nissan Almera with leather seats and a recently Amor All dashboard.
_____ was rushed to the ______ Hospital and later transferred to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex where, like countless other victims with multiple bullet-hole wounds, he died since his options were limited.
Gunmen opened fire on each other yesterday morning almost killing three bystanders and injuring a CEPEP weed whacker. The CEPEP supervisor was disgusted at this latest assault on a defenseless grass cutting implement and announced bush cutting activity will be called off for tomorrow. CEPEP workers are planning a massive protest since they won’t be paid for the lost day. The weed whacker is said to be resting comfortably in an undisclosed repair shop.
The murder of ______, 17, is being described as a “gang related” homicide, but he was not involved in any gang or other activities. His mother described him as a good boy who developed a passion for holding up people at gunpoint since he was 12. He had several cell phones in his possession, including a Blackberry Storm, which his mother described as having a sluggish touch-screen.
The man was identified as John “Docs”Doe, who lived at Block Eight, ______, but was killed in another block. He was described by police as a reputed gang leader but police were puzzled as to the motive for his killing.
On Sunday, around, 10:53 pm, residents of ______ heard several gunshots, aka loud explosions, but did not venture outside to investigate since the streetlamps were shot to death two nights before. However, around 6.34 a.m. yesterday, an unidentified person found _____bullet-riddled (more than three bullet holes is considered riddled) body and contacted the police. The Officer who took the call was reported to have said “So what!”
____ was found with multiple gunshot wounds about the body and lying in a pool of blood. ____ was due to give evidence as a witness in a murder trial due to start next week. Police are once again searching for a motive and the reason why the Commissioner’s tenure was extended.
According to police reports, around 7.30 on Friday night, _______ was riding his bicycle along ________ in Movant, on his way to a nearby shop, when he was approached by a gunman. The rest is history.
Police said around 10.47 a.m. yesterday, two armed men approached “Side Winder” at a nearby shop. “Side Winder” was shot twice in the head and several times about the body. He died because the bullets hit several of the right spots. The gunmen escaped and were later never seen again. A team of homicide detectives, including ASP ______ and Inspector ______, visited the scene and bought several items including two packs of Orchard Orange Juice and a Kiss bread. Investigations are also continuing.
Johnny “Garlic” Breads, 24, became this year’s six hundredth murder victim. Police reports state that “Garlic,” of _______, San Juan, was beaten to death with a bag of hard hops bread after he was accused of peddling 12-hole Crix to an unknown gang member who felt cheated and gassy.
18-year-old _____“Bonkers” Khan, of______, Port-of-Spain, was shot to death at the corner of two streets in Port of Spain. The killing took place in full view of a CCTV camera and scores of citizens who, like the CCTV camera, saw nothing. According to relatives, Bonkers was liming with friends when a group of men approached. One slowly whipped out a big gun and shot_____ in the ____. He died as expected and on time.
Every day seems to be a better day in Trinidad and Tobago and yesterday was no exception. Camille Danniel, a woman who lived in Diego Martin, was carjacked. She attempted to escape by pulling into a “Model Police Station” but this plan didn’t work. The carjackers probably threatened to shoot Mrs. Danniel if she pulled in to the police station and she may have thought it was an acceptable risk because a Police Station should be a symbol of security. Tragically, Mrs. Danniel last moments were spent in terror as she was shot in the back on driving into the police station by one of the carjackers who was intent in keeping his criminal word. She died on the spot.
Most people, except The Party Faithful, were appalled at this recent assault by criminals on a defenseless woman but it was not unexpected since the interceptor boats have not arrived in the country yet. Citizens also think there is only a cosmetic approach to the crime problem in Trinidad and Tobago as there were always rumors saying some very big people with long strings and the police are involved in drugs and guns in Trinidad and Tobago. Citizens are outraged by this Murder in a Model Police Station and the only thing that may take the people’s minds away from the incident is if the Prime Minister announces the construction of another smelter or praises Martin Joseph’s intellect again.
We do not care if Martin Joseph is putting his best foot forward. We do not care The Prime Minister never expresses compassion because he has none. Did he speak with any compassion about Tecia Henry’s murder? We do not care if the Prime Minister has a fragile ego and Martin Joseph is his mentor and scapegoat. All we want is to not get killed and raped. We want to walk the streets without worrying about carjackers and muggers, and not worry about drunk drivers and speeding cars. All we want is to breathe air without toxins and to not fight the Government to do what is right. We are not asking for much but to the average ruling politician we are asking too much.
No doubt the studying of the latest crime plan by Martin Joseph will be fast tracked to give the nation another illusion of care. Just wait and see.
The Trinidad Guardian today carried a summary of current Travel Advisories for Trinidad and Tobago. These Advisories truthfully warn visitors that Trinidad and Tobago is a haven for crime where visitors’ bodies and their possessions are at great risk. These Travel advisories paint Trinidad and Tobago as a place where criminals and their guns are safe and where no crime is solved.
In an apparent retaliation for these advisories from five countries that have already attained 2020 status, the Government is planning to unleash, once again, The Minister of Works or a similar dodo head onto the population. It is also expected that either the Commissioner of Police or The Minister of National Security will go on TV and state this will be the safest Carnival ever but nothing about after. The population will jump up and down on hearing these words of reassurance and feel safe once again. The Minister of Works will call these travel advisories mischievous and foolish and put the blame on the Opposition while The Prime Minister will continue looking through newly acquired files for more evidence against The Leader of The Opposition and upload a new profile picture on Facebook. The Minister of Finance will continue Googling and Wikipediaing Financial terms and concepts. While all this Ministerial activity is going on three hundred serious crimes including three UDECOTT tender awards would have occurred.
Government’s Vision is clear and that is what is so frightening.