A 16-year-old girl was among four people killed in a road accident on May 20 in Trinidad. The girl, along with three males, died at the scene of the accident. They had been returning from a nightclub in Arima.
The introduction to this story is a startling reality that many of our youths here in T&T are a part of a culture that subscribes to less parenting and societal involvement and more self-reliance. Why was a 16-year-old girl allowed to leave her parents’ home to go to a nightclub? Why didn’t the nightclub staff request identification when this child appeared at the door? As T&T embarks on the 50th anniversary of Independence, we must question whether there is truly a lot to be proud of, when it seems that our casual lack of concern for life’s issues put us at risk on a daily basis.
Is our nonchalance our destruction?
Years ago when I studied in the US, I recall the people of this country being described as nonchalant because of our free-spirited attitudes and our ability to simply dust off the stresses of life. Today, however, I’m wondering if this attitude has placed us in a precarious position, where we are less proactive, less caring about others and more self-absorbed. On receiving news of her daughter’s unexpected death in such a reckless way, the mother of this child must have wept uncontrollably. On seeing the images of the wrecked vehicles on the front pages of the newspapers on Monday, most of us may have been critical of the teenager and her friends. What many of us may have failed to realise, however, is that we can all play a role in curbing such tragedies. As parents we can teach our children not to abuse social privileges. As nightclub employees we can monitor who patronises the establishments at which we work. Got the picture?
Live fast, die at the same pace
We have all heard about the days when communities raised children. Back then adults scolded children they didn’t even know for things they felt were inappropriate. Today, that may not be the ideal, but we must find a way to guide our children along a safe path. Some of our young people are facing a terrible reality—they’re living fast and dying at the same pace. Our nonchalance to the realities that we face as a nation may actually be to the detriment of our true independence. Far too often we criticise, refusing to be a societal team for the benefit of ourselves as a people, a nation. Even our governments, past and present, have set little or no example. Today, three months away from the 50th anniversary of T&T’s independence, I ask, are we proud to talk about our achievements when some of our children are being led astray by negative elements? Will we be proud when more young men and women fill our prisons or are laid to rest in our cemeteries? Parents, take back your children. Aunts, uncles, neighbours, friends, stop turning a blind eye to the issues around you and speak up. The power of change lies in our hands if only we have the guts to fearlessly face the realities of today head-on.