Friday, February 26, 2016

Monsters Inc.

Everyone knows that having no regard for the law, no respect for others and a love for violence are the traits you need to be a success in Trinidad and Tobago. Just ask certain second hand car dealers in Chaguanas, Ian Allyene, or that guy Machel Montano beat up outside Zen. Of course this only applies to adults. As everyone also knows, children who display these traits are nothing more than Monsters.

 Take for example, the Monsters who allegedly planned a gun attack on a teacher at the Chaguanas North Secondary School this past week. As a former student of Chaguanas North Secondary myself, I was completely shocked by this. In my day we would never dream of doing such things. When I wanted to take revenge on a teacher I would just walk through the car park and key his or her car. Or just call in a bomb scare.

Luckily the police were able to intervene in time, and according to the Minister of Education Anthony Garcia, some 24 Monsters, who either had criminal charges pending before the courts or criminal records, were eventually removed from the school. Minister Garcia didn’t say what would become of these Monsters, only that they were being removed and not expelled. Presumably they are going to stay out of the school system until they are old enough to join the army, lead a CEPEP gang or perhaps manage CNC3 News.

Naturally this incident has shocked the nation. Mainly because people are struggling to believe the T&T Police might have actually foiled a crime before it happened, but also because it appears the Monsters are getting out of hand. Speaking at the National Consultation on Education in Tobago this week, Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley hit out at the parents who breed these Monsters at home and then send them to teachers. Especially if those teachers are unmarried pregnant women, whom Dr. Rowely thinks sets a bad example for Monsters; making them think they can raise children on a single teacher’s salary. 

Dr. Rowley’s remarks came in for some criticism though by those who pointed out that aside from negligent parents, undiagnosed learning disabilities such as dyslexia, attention deficit disorder, autism, sexual and violent abuse, or a lack of the necessary emotional coping skills, are all factors which contribute to the unruly behavior of these Monsters. However the Prime Minister’s defenders reminded his critics that those are all American things that only white people’s children suffer from.

Most experts in Trinidad and Tobago, and by ‘experts’ I mean, religious leaders, radio talk show hosts and political party hacks, all agree that what Monsters really need is tough love. And by tough love, they mean brutal licks. National Security Minister has suggested reinstating corporal punishment. This should come as no surprise as beating people up is the one thing our security forces are good at.

Critics against corporal punishment point to the fact that studies suggest that beating Monsters results in mental illness, lower IQ’s and Monsters becoming more prone to violence themselves. But ‘experts’ in Trinidad and Tobago counter that argument by saying beating Monsters is what God wants us to do. After all, when God wanted to teach humanity a lesson, he drowned almost everyone in a flood. And humanity has been on its best behavior ever since.

President of the National Parent Teacher Association (NPTA) Zena Ramatali suggests that Monsters also be sent to special boot camps like those in America. The ones that studies in America suggest don’t work, and receive universal condemnation by psychologists and criminal justice experts there. 

Almost half of the Monsters who go to those boot camps will reoffend. But those studies were done using scientific methods. Ramatali, who last year warned Monsters not to play the Charlie Charlie game - because summoning demons via pencils is dangerous - knows that science doesn’t work in Trinidad and Tobago.

But if science did work here, perhaps it would be interesting to examine things like the pre-natal and post-natal care available to mothers. Studies suggest they play a huge part in the development of a child’s cognitive abilities as well as his or her IQ and propensity for violence.

T&T’s high infant mortality rate might be an indication that women are not receiving the level of healthcare they need.  Perhaps by increasing the quality of our healthcare as well as focusing on early childhood development we can help create brighter children and less unruly Monsters.

That is unlikely to ever happen though. After all, Monsters do grow up to be loyal party supporters.

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