‘However, it is important to note that other factors such as pandemic restrictions, unemployment and economic stagnation have all played major roles in creating a volatile segment of our population who are frustrated’
THE public outcry over the murder of Andrea Bharatt in 2020 was not unique. Similar violent acts have generated waves of anger and remorse. The petitions, motorcades and words on social media reflect public discontent and usually occur in other parts of the world.
It’s not only about gender-based violence, this is a brutal act that reflects the regression of our society. Some have blamed men but it’s a more complex issue. We no longer value life and this is the lowest point of human civilization.
In comparing the past two decades, there have been an alarming number of heinous crimes. T&T society has become desensitised to the killing and harming of fellow human beings. The failure of the decrepit justice system, the high number of murders and the inability to protect our citizens seem to be a remnant of our ugly past that occurred during slavery and indentureship.
The outrage citizens of T&T witnessed was more of a social outburst rather than a social revolution. For many, the term “revolution” signifies change… usually positive change. We have to remember that many of us are good at talking, pontificating to others and protesting but very few of us are brave enough and willing to risk our reputation, jobs or lives to undertake a serious revolution for change. Any social revolution needs proper leadership, discipline, patience and core values. The question is – do T&T nationals possess these ingredients for the recipe of a social revolution?
There are trigger factors such as age, gender, class and innocence of the victim that would have generated this outburst. I do not want to be accused of “attacking” our culture but we also need to consider the fact that the cancellation of Carnival was an important factor. The public was focused on this murder of Andrea largely due to the fact that there were no distractions such as fetes, competitions and parties associated with Carnival.
However, it is important to note that other factors such as pandemic restrictions, unemployment and economic stagnation have all played major roles in creating a volatile segment of our population who are frustrated.
The hype surrounding the murder of Andrea Bharat eventually fizzled out. It could have escalated but this depended on the commitment of persons who are at the forefront, the media and also the popular support. It will also depend on whether there are businesses or wealthy persons willing to fund events and other activities to maintain the momentum.
Some of us blame the justice system and the government. However, there are many institutions that have failed citizens of T&T. For instance, the education system – from kindergarten to tertiary levels should be focused on creating citizens who are caring. Our value systems need to be adjusted, our moral compass has to be recalibrated.
Dr Jereome Teelucksingh is a recipient of the Humming Bird (Gold) Medal for Education and Volunteerism. He is
attached to the Department of History at the University of the West Ind ies at St Augustine. He has published books, chapters and journal articles on the Caribbean diaspora, masculinity, culture, politics, ethnicity and religion. Also, he has produced a documentary – Brown Lives Matter and presented papers at academic conferences.
Click to read other articles by Dr Jerome Tellucksingh below: