Why the State of Emergency should not be Extended
Like other hermits, who have nothing resembling a social life, the announcement of a State of Emergency (SOE) last week didn’t really hit home for me. Be home by 9 p.m.? I’m often in my house at 9 p.m. What to do at home after 9 p.m.? The same thing I do every night. Surf the Internet. Work. Live on BBM. Listen music. Watch YouTube videos, or catch reruns of “Keeping up with the Kardashians”, “Jersey Shore”, or “Basketball Wives”. Doh judge meh!
After the first few days of the State of Emergency, I remained unperturbed, because I knew I was gonna be locked up in my house for the next few days tackling a pile of work. However, when I started to hear talk about possibly extending the curfew, I started to get antsy. Minister of Justice, Herbert Volney, suggested that it be extended to last six weeks or three months, and said that most people are home by 9 p.m. anyway. I’m all for tackling crime, but really, you wanna keep a young girl like me caged up?
I don’t club much (okay, at all), but I do want the luxury of walking out my house to go meet a nice young man (or two… ah kidding). Can’t we find other ways to strangle crime, and allow law-abiding citizens to carry on as usual, without fear of saying the wrong thing (in real life, or on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube), or watching a security official too hard (which is a whole other topic on its own)? Some of you may say that you felt trapped any way, and your argument has validity. However, some people didn’t feel anxious or ‘unsafe’ until the announcement of the SOE.
Personal desires included, here are my reasons for not wanting the state of emergency to be extended.
People are gonna be cross, angry, and miserable
If even people like myself will go mad being shut up in dey house for so long, what will happen to the people who are accustomed to going out Friday nights and weekends? I mean… is only so much curfew party you could host or go to. What I supposed to do if I want to go on a date? Tell a man I hardly know, “Yeah man, I go sleep by you”, and then wake up to realise he’s a psycho?
The other night, I saw Sampson Nanton on CNC3 asking people in Movie Towne if they’re happy as a result of the SOE – especially since they were getting more time to spend with family. What kinda stupid question is dat? I swear some stations need to come up with new angles to create stories from. Who’s happy to have a state of emergency announced in their country? Every day, you’re seeing people become more agitated on social networks. Who lights fireworks for that announcement? Who tell him everybody like dey family, or has a safe, healthy home environment? Who tell him every husband or wife wants to go home to nagging? Who tell him everybody has food in their house, games, and television to entertain themselves? By the way, I LOVE my family!
PS: I wanna know what’s going on with the homeless during all of this. I hear nobody harassing them for being on the road after 9 p.m.
Small businesses just can’t take it
Some of us have life nice. We go to an 8 to 4 and get a guaranteed salary. Some of us, however, run our own businesses, and some of these businesses revolve around night-time activities (clean thoughts people). Less crime is something all of us want. However, can you imagine what life would be like if your business takes a serious dip in income for six weeks to three months, or even six months (which is the longest a State of Emergency can be held)? Note that these people would still have expenses to bear. Some may even have to let go of staff. More people on the breadline equals more people who will be tempted to find ways to make ends meet.
Big business will also feel the effects. The port, and other business places, have already changed hours of operations, and with the normal routine of daily life disrupted, citizens may not be as ‘gung-ho’ about spending money. Some clients may have also stalled projects until the SOE stops.
Stop people from lying
Almost every time I switch on the local news, and they’re interviewing citizens about how they feel about the State of Emergency, people saying yes, they fully support it, we need to take back we country, blah blah blah. However, I know half of dem buggers does be cussin’ off camera. Even if they fully support the SOE, they upset. No one wants to be caught on camera speaking their mind, or saying while they’re in full support of extreme measures to curtail crime, that they’re less than pleased with the implementation – unless their name is Martin Daly of course.
Tourism will go into a coma
Poor tourism industry. You’re like the outside child who no one cares about. Firstly, you need more funding. Secondly, the global recession mash yuh up, and now a state of emergency is certainly putting you in the emergency room. Unless we come up with a creative museum of state of emergency, and some seriously amazing marketing campaigns, I don’t see why tourists would willingly travel to Trinidad and Tobago over the next few months. You know embassies already like to warn people about coming to ‘sweet T&T’, once they smell any whiff of crime.
Someone from abroad messaged me last week, asking about the coup that’s happening in Trinidad. Another acquaintance told me that a friend from abroad called, very concerned about her safety. When people aren’t fully in the know, they assume the worst, once they hear T&T is in a State of Emergency. Our international image cannot take a prolonged State of Emergency.
With Christmas and Carnival coming up, and these two periods being the tourism’s main peak seasons, I’m sorry for all of those who depend on this industry for their livelihood. Tourism mightn’t have the amount of value as the energy industry, but less visitors means less contribution to national GDP.
From a social and economic point of view, extending the SOE won’t do much except make people more anxious, divide communities along class lines, create more opportunities for negative emotions to perpetuate, and put some serious obstacles in the way of business momentum.
Corrective action of crime was, is, and will continue to be needed, but an extended SOE will erode confidence in our way of life, and freedom of expression. With the talk of an extension bandied around here or there, I think it would be best to adopt a communication strategy to let people know what’s taking place, in a very clear, consistent, and coherent manner. Effective management of crime is the real issue here. So whatever the next step is, those measures must be well thought out, and have actual impact on the root of the problem, so that citizens’ sacrifice is well worth it.
How do you feel? Would you support the State of Emergency being extended, or do you want it to end after the scheduled 15 days?