I don’t know if to feel angry, sad, frustrated, hopeless or emotionless.
Two boys- brothers—one 9 and the other a 15 year old were executed at 3 pm last Sunday. Two gunmen entered their home made them lie down on their stomachs next to their mother and a 16 year-old neighbour.
The two brothers were then shot once in the back of their heads. According to media reports police sources said the 15 year old was well known to them.
Neighbours were quoted as saying the end wasn't unexpected as the two brothers (9 and 15) were known troublemakers. Their mother worked Sunday to Sunday in a supermarket to make ends meet. No mention of the boys’ father. How many more must die? How many more mainly afro Trinidadian male teenagers must die before this society reaches the tipping point of intolerance for the cold blooded murders.
Have we become indifferent to what such tragedies say about us as a nation have we fallen so far so fast?
These deaths are in the main avoidable. What are we doing as a society? Do we care enough or is it that it’s someone else’s problem to solve?
The situation can be retrieved but not if we continue to engage in polite conversations that are nothing more than public relation exercises.
Corruption, drugs, guns, crime, teenage pregnancies, and absentee fathers. Serious sums of money are being thrown at various solutions but yet the perception remains that nothing is working and where meaningful results can be found it appears as if it is nothing more than a drop of water in the vast ocean.
Saying it’s a social issue intellectualises and dehumanises the sheer tragedy that we as a society seem collectively to be either ignoring or denying. Sure we talk about it around the water cooler or in our social circles. We all have views and opinions about how to address the problems.
How many more must die?
This is not about statistics this is about flesh and blood. Human beings. How many more must die?
A 9 year old deemed a terror is executed. When children, mere babies, are now written off you better smell the coffee. We have a problem a deep seated structural, systemic, sociological and spiritual human problem.
I make a simple call. Let’s put aside the denials and the artful dodges.
Our society needs help.
Sport is ready and willing to answer the call. Whatever funding is available must now get into the hands of the right people and right organisations.
This is not a laughing matter—not when children are being executed.
National sport organisations and the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic committee must stand up and champion the cause of sport and the positive role models that can be found among our world class athletes. Sport can make a powerful and positive difference once resources are applied ethically, honestly, effectively and efficiently. Any other option or approach will only ensure that sport is part of the problem rather than a solution.
Sport matters. Life matters. Children matter. How bad can a 9-year-old be? That bad?
Where are the sport clubs and national sport organisations? Where are the positive role models?
How do we use sport as a tool to make a positive difference? Children love sports and they love to play sports. Children making babies and children killing children when children should be playing sports. Let’s not trivialise or minimise the problem. Turning a blind eye is a temporary and convenient short term solution. This is not to say that solving the problems is in any way easy. But no matter how difficult the issues may be to overcome. One life saved matters more than the huge mountain we are climbing or building. Sport can help not hurt.
Brian Lewis is the president of the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the TTOC