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Enforce law to deal with lawlessness
A now relatively common and arguably true description of T&T is that we are a lawless society. This “lawlessness,” as it now persists, is perhaps a furtherance and progressive manifestation of other traits that have long been ascribed to us, that being that we lack discipline and are a mediocre “dah good so” society. It would seem that Dr Eric Williams and our independence framers were quite astute in choosing “discipline” as one of our national watchwords. So while at many times, and rightly so, our leaders do bear the blame for some of the many ills that be-set our country, in many instances we need not look too far to see that many of us, by our actions and inaction in various spheres of activity, are part of the problem and not part of the solution that would make us a better country with a better quality of life for us to enjoy.
One way, of course, of arresting—pun intended—our rampant errant behaviour is by enforcement of the law. Many of the problems we have, for instance with traffic, flooding, and consumer contractual arrangements, are that laws are not enforced. This is because the agencies that are to police these activities are either understaffed, uncoordinated, disorganised, indifferent, or inept, or some combination of any of these or other challenges, as it is doubtful this list is thoroughly exhaustive. In terms of traffic, gladly we now have more traffic wardens to enact enforcement. While the presence of wardens may not solve all our traffic woes, they have been and continue to be effective in several areas where motorists tend to park or stand in- considerately, causing pile-ups behind them.
What we do need now are more traffic wardens and traffic police putting a halt to the speeding and brainless driving habits, such as reckless overtaking, poor changing of lanes, handling mobile phones, and the myriad ways in which motorists are a nuisance and a danger to themselves and others on the roads. As regards flooding, it would seem that the Ministries of Local Government, Food Production, Land and Marine Affairs, Housing and the Environment, and Planning and the Economy, with its Town and Country Planning Division, remain MIA (missing in action), all being kept captive and languishing somewhere by some set of the aforementioned challenges. I am no lawyer, but anyone can agree that surely there are rules and regulations aplenty within the ambit of these agencies and their various labels over the years, which have been neglected for decades.
As regards consumer protections, be it in services or goods from both public and private entities, many a person can attest to lack of redress after not receiving in good order, or not at all, the goods or service they sought or paid for. And with all such lack of enforcement, we still incredulously wonder why things are as bad as they are. And this becomes even “curiouser” too when many among us knowingly flout the very regulations for our own selfish advantage, yet always quick to point out the breaches, or daresay breeches, of others. Of course, one of the main problems with law enforcement, as many well know, is the inequity with which it is sometimes applied dependent on one’s status and connections in society, as well as the corruption that exists among some law enforcers and regulators alike.
All this too adds to our proclivity for lawlessness, where, perhaps daily by attrition, some of the lawful among us decide to throw in the towel and join with the errant class. It is thus left to the good and lawful among us to take stronger stands and make their voices heard and causes effected. One does not like to be a Cassandra, but if we apply only platitudes and bandages of good intentions, we will lemmingly continue headlong to the hell of decay and depravity that awaits us.
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