As we celebrate our 50th Anniversary as a nation, we are faced with two opposing value systems, each striving to emerge as the dominant culture. The first speaks to a spirit of collaboration and community exemplified in the fellowship of religious institutions; in the unity and camaraderie of the steelband; in the supportive organisation of the sou-sou; in the healing influence of the panchayat; in the socially-nurturing role enacted by many business and professional bodies, and in the benevolence of our richly varied world of NGOs and organisations of civil society.
In sharp contrast, and posing a growing threat to the first, is a value system based on rampant individualism - a value system characterised by a spirit of intimidation and lawlessness, and one that finds expressing acts of violence, brutality and the exploitation of the disadvantaged and the voiceless. Regrettably, for many of us “tolerance” has become synonymous with indifference; and these reckless, lawless, dysfunctional patterns of behaviour are treated as examples of “Trini” culture that we condemn in private but accept as par for the course.
[…]My Fellow Citizens, We cannot and must not be indifferent to the ravages of social injustice and marginalisation. As the United Nations document Social Justice in an Open World, published in 2006, bluntly reminds us “__________ neglect of the pursuit of social justice in all its dimensions translates into de facto acceptance of a future marred by violence, repression and chaos.”
[…]All children need bread and shelter. But a true home, of course, is more and that. Children also need love and order and, because they are not born knowing the difference between right and wrong, home is a place where they can begin to develop a moral sense.
The observation of Aristotle, the Philosopher is pertinent, he stated that, “it is the peculiarity of man, in comparison with the rest of the animal world, that he alone possesses a perception of good and evil, of the just and the unjust, and of other qualities, and it is association in these things which makes family.
- President of Trinidad and Tobago, Anthony TA Carmona