Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee - John Donne.
Everytime an alleged bandit or gang member is shot dead, there is rejoicing among sections of our beleaguered population. Last week, the horrific news that over two dozen Venezuelans fleeing the difficult circumstances in their country perished in the waters between Venezuela and Trinidad. That some citizens of the twin Island Republic expressed a measure of satisfaction was distressing, insensitive and cynical.
Those who are happy need to excercise caution and reflect on the words of John Donne.
The frustration of the law abiding citizens of Trinidad and Tobago, with the crime rate and high incidence of gun related violence is understandable . The large number of Venezuelans seeking safety in Trinidad and Tobago is perceived negatively, because many Trinbagonians catch their nennen and believe that the state not helping them, so how we can help others. In other words fix "we first".
This is against a back-drop where many citizens feel that none of the institutions are capable of, or have the capacity to provide solutions that can make a positive difference.
Who can we turn to? Such feelings of utter futility and hopelessness is revealed in what some consider to be insensitivity to loss of life.
Truth be told, is we need inspiration to rally around Trinidad and Tobago. Last Saturday the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee held its 73rd Annual General Meeting. The atmosphere at the AGM was sombre and pensive, or as some will say "heavy".
I see the "heaviness" not as a negative, but as a call to action to rescue our youth.
Sport organisations are well, even best positioned to dissipate the heaviness. That the statistics will show that action is needed, now is not the time nor the hour to be paralysed by fear or despondency.
Instead, awaken from your slumber and rally to the rescue of the youth and young people of Trinidad and Tobago.
As Mary Mcleod Bethune so succinctly put it, "We have a powerful potential in out youth and we must have the courage to change old ideas and practices, so that we may direct their power toward good ends."
My thing is, we need to look at what is happening around us and realize that the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago, not just our youth and young people, are crying out for help.
There are a lot of justifications and rationalisations. But at the end of the day excuses can't save lives. If we have to make a tough choice then let us make the youth and young people the priority. Remember for whom the bell tolls it tolls for thee.
Written by Brian Lewis.
The views expressed are not necessarily those of the TTOC and TTCGA.