Last week, Trinidad and Tobago faced its own Black Lives Matter (BLM) day of reckoning. The lives of PC Allen Moseley, Joel Jacob, Noel Diamond, Israel Clinton and Ornella Greaves had all the elements of our nation on edge. Guns and bullets.
Guns, Guns and more guns.
Many have skirted around the issue while others have in a deliberate, intentional and simplistic narrative, sought to put the blame squarely on the black youths from at-risk communities.
The reality is Black Lives Matter is relevant to Trinidad and Tobago.
How do we deal with unemployment and alienation of the black youths from the at-risk and deprived communities?
The question is, who is trying to understand the behaviour of those who feel short-changed because of the lack of empathy for the challenges that black youth face today? Who is addressing their issues from their perspective, as opposed to talking down to them from the lecture lectern?
The youths feel that the political and economic systems in Trinidad and Tobago are uncaring and predatory. Perception is reality - it is said - but not for the black youths from at-risk communities. To suggest that the problems are all their fault is dishonest - to say the least.
Are they wrong to feel that brown and white Trinidad and Tobago care more about Black Lives in a foreign land than right here on home soil? Or is it that black lives matter everywhere else but here?
As tensions flared, I discussed with a friend, during a Chancellor Hill morning walk, some of the solutions. We focused our attention on the social, economic and environmental issues to which sports can contribute and in a meaningful and very significant fashion. It is important to focus on the intentionality of sport-based approaches and creating the right conditions to bring about change through sport.
There are different development issues all around. The potential of sport-based approaches to contribute to development outcomes has been recognized in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. There are important focus areas.
Sport for health and well-being of all - The Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) created programmes that have, as the main tool, sport-based approaches. including #replacegunswithmedals, #next champion, #future is female and #10golds24.
These programmes contain an outreach element that targets at-risk youth and communities, creating and fostering inclusive access to sport, physical education and physical activity for all youth and young people.
There's no doubt that Black lives matter right here in Trinidad and Tobago. We must have a sense of determination as it comes down to crunch time for our country. If we do not face up to the reality of our situation the black youths who feel deprived, left out, left behind and without hope will fight for their piece of the pie the only way they know.
If, as it is said, perception is reality, so let us listen to those who feel left behind, frustrated or those who experience a sense of despair and take them very seriously.
Black Lives Matter in Trinidad and Tobago and sport can contribute to the sustainable development and peace in Trinidad and Tobago society. Give sport a chance to make a difference.
Brian Lewis is the President of T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) and the views expressed are not those of the organisation.