Commentary: Too Much Mistrust

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‘We are the definition of insanity, doing the same thing again and again expecting a different result’


Alicia Chamely
By Alicia Chamely

AT APPROXIMATELY 9.40 am on Thursday, October 19, 2023 I had not yet settled on what to explore this week.

On Friday, October 20, 2023, 12 hours later, I still had not decided. At 2.58 pm, I resigned myself to the fact that this week’s piece was doomed to be a detailed map of fragmented thought.

It’s not that nothing happened this week or there was not anything worth commenting on… there was a lot. The problem I faced was that everything I had to say was the same. This week’s underlying issue of every event or crisis is the same underlying issue of every other event or crisis I have ever written on.

We are the definition of insanity, doing the same thing again and again expecting a different result.

Take for example national security, last week I was toting on the fact that the government was spending a butt load of money on new police cars and increased community patrols. Something we have done before with minimal results.

What should be done and has been suggested again and again, is rooting out the corruption within the police service before new recruits are bought in, and tackle crime from the source rather than focusing on the surface players, i.e., the gang members targeted by the police tend to be the foot soldiers rather than the bosses.

This week the police boasted a bunch of “finds”, guns, drugs and lots of police and military gear, obviously meant to be used to impersonate officers. Yeah, pat on the back for everyone! Look we are doing something wee!

Erm, why is nobody questioning the amount of police and military gear that was seized? How did it get into the hands of criminals? Who provided it? Is the source being investigated? Clearly, the source is someone on the inside.

And if it’s someone on the inside that means our security services are severely compromised and therefore commonsense would dictate that before you can throw money into “outside” problems you should tackle your internal issues. Make sure your house is in order if you want the public to have any faith in our law systems. But nah…new cars, more officers, that’ll solve everything.

Things I have said before, things people way more experienced and knowledgeable than my armchair warrior self, have said before.

I thought of writing on the heart-wrenching discovery of two abandoned toddlers found living in absolute filth in Arima. As a mother… wait… as a normal human being, the entire situation was absolutely horrifying. Someone somewhere must have noticed something. Someone must know the parents. Why didn’t anyone contact the authorities? But praise must be given to the officers who discovered them.

Again, this all comes down to a lack of community, wanting to stay out of others’ business and lack of faith in the authorities to respond and handle the situation. All of this I have spoken about before. Maybe someone noticed, maybe that person thought of calling the Children’s Authority, but due to institutional mistrust didn’t pick up the phone.

Mistrust that these children will just be plopped into a children’s home where they will face similar if not worse abuse. Mistrust that despite the circumstances, nothing will be done, and a report will anger the parents or people involved and the children’s lives will be further put in danger.

Institutional mistrust, ahh yes, this we have discussed many a time, especially in relation to the public services, but this week we saw firsthand justification as to why there is a massive distrust in private sector, especially among our financial institutions.

Last week every credit card holder and PriceSmart member frantically searched through their statements to ensure they didn’t fall victim to the “repeat charge that was taken in USD and thanks to fluctuating exchange rates your returned money is less than what was taken in error” debacle.

PriceSmart kept their mouths shut, rolled their eyes and I am sure pretended like they didn’t notice some extra income flowing through. Finally, after the villagers were at PriceSmarts door with their pitchforks and torches, Republic Bank crept out of the shadows and whispered, “Heyyyy, so it was our fault, sorry about that. Tough luck on the exchange rate, but thoughts and prayers.”

The kick in the face is that the bank will not face any severe consequences for this misstep, nor will they be forced to rectify the “exchange rate.” Like many circumstances within the public service, our private sector also seems to get away with everything and do as they please with no regulation or rule in place to penalise them. It’s not just here, it’s worldwide.

The thing is in T&T due to the lack of competition and the tooth-pulling process of changing banks, not many of us will be like, “Hard luck RBTT you screwed the wrong one, I’m bouncing!”

So much like the horrible service we receive at various public offices and utilities we just have to white-knuckle through it.

A lot of mistrust my friends, in our security services, our welfare services, our financial services. Mistrust, is a common problem that I and many others have discussed before.

Come to think of it, I think I wrote an article about the same problems repeating again and again, which would make this one a repeat, which would equate to an abstract form of the cycle of insanity, which clearly, I have sunk into.

Have a GREAT WEEKEND everyone!




One thought on “Commentary: Too Much Mistrust

  1. My goodness, we still have a few right thinking citizens….well, well,well put, go to the head of the class. Thing is our country is riddled with corruption, and so bad that all the rotten apples sit at the top making absolute ases of us the sane, hard working citizens who know exactly what needs to happen,but we don’t or won’t have a voice.
    This saying keeps repeating in my mind constantly, divide and conquer!!
    I wish trinis would wake up from their slumber. In any other country, the so called hiding place where those things were discovered, a sting operation would have been put into place to catch the perpetrators, but not in TT…dummies who have not impressed to date…
    Anyway my dear your article hit the nail on the head, well said but don’t expect any change only lies and deceptions…games.

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