Thursday, March 28, 2013

Celebrate the Good not the Bad: Jack Warner

Jack Warner said on Wednesday there is too much negativity in Trinidad and Tobago society, noting that when people "glorify bad things we empower negativity to stifle goodness and positivity."

The National Security Minister made the statement at a graduation ceremony in Port of Spain for Traffic Wardens, Transit Police Officers and Immigration Detention Centre Officers. 

The office of Law Enforcement Policy (OLEP) facilitated the training course for the three programmes, which comprised core modules and special units that were specific to the respective agency. The training was conducted at Hillview College, not the police academy, which Warner noted is sometimes stretched to capacity. He commended the "out-of-the-box" thinking that made it possible for the officers to be training at a public high school.

"It shows me that our administrators are capable of being creative in finding solutions to minor – and even major – problems. I have, however, been forced to ask myself why we have not seen more of this kind of thinking in the past?" Warner said.

He also commended the graduating officers. "Let me advise you that now that you have demonstrated your capacity for brilliance, I have lifted my expectations of you. “Impossible” and “no” are words that you will have to erase from your vocabulary if you have not already done so," the minister said.

He also seized the opportunity to comment on something that he said is infecting the society.

"While some of you may take for granted those things which may seem to be simple and of little consequence, I want to tell you that in today’s society we need more now than ever to find every iota of goodness and positivity and to hold it up so that it becomes a beacon – a beacon of hope.

"One of the gravest problems that we face today in this country is that negativity gets too much of the spotlight. Negative behaviour gets too much promotion. And positive behaviour gets none," Warner declared.

"In the communities, the gangsters are given the glory. They are exalted for how many robberies they put down, how many murders they commit, how many women they use and discard, and even for how many children they abandon. They are given respect for disobeying the law, for being a nuisance to society and for disrespecting others.

"The result of this is that badness becomes that which our youths are programmed to emulate. And sadly, they don’t really see the ugly side to the shiny glamorous, romantic exterior.

"They do not see the side where they are lying in a pool of blood or in a drain with bullet holes in their bodies, gasping for breath while their mothers and grandmothers hold their bellies and cry. They don’t see that until they are gasping for their last breath."

Warner spoke of the Hoop of Life project, which the government introduced last year for youths. Last weekend the Champions of the Hoop of Life Community Basketball League paraded through the streets of their hometown of Laventille.

"Every single one of those young and not-so-young men is a success story," Warner said. He added that it is possible that some of them could have been victims of crime instead of being part of a success story. Each of them now knows what it is to fulfil a dream.

"Each of them has ensured that they have stayed clear of criminal activity for the duration of the programme...They have shown that they are the best in the country."

Continuing on the theme of the glorification of that which is negative and bad Warner asked: "When last have you heard anyone say anything good about Laventille?"

He said the "Hoop" champions have given their fellow community members and their relatives a reason to hold their heads high and something good to boast about. 

"They have put a spotlight on talent and they have given the country something new to think about – they have given us reason to keep hope alive and to continue the fight to make their community comfortable once again," he said. "I implore everyone to help us find the good out there and let us lift it up," he declared.Addressing the graduates Warner reminded them that they must exercise great responsibility and do their jobs as diligently as possibly. 

"You also have a responsibility to the organization to which you are attached and to the State of which you are an officer and an agent. That responsibility is to exercise your authority and power in a proper manner, not to abuse it and therefore not to expose the State to liability and criticism," the minister stated. 

"You have a responsibility to bring pride to your organization and not to bring disgrace upon it...And this reminder goes out to every single officer in law enforcement today. Do not practice misbehaviour and do not condone it from others," he added. 

Every one of us is under intense scrutiny. And we must be able to stand up to the scrutiny. We must prove our critics wrong. We must show them that not everyone is prone to abusing power. And we must show them results. 
"You must repay the faith that has been reposed in you by making our policies work; by being agents of success – agents of delivery, and by upholding the trust that comes with the power vested in you."

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai