25 Sept 2010

More flood woes

On Wednesday rains wreaked havoc on Port-of-Spain, driving people into a frenzy—rushing, panicking, hustling to get home. I was lucky to have an option to get home as a few of my cousins work in Port-of-Spain and they were more than willing to accommodate me. That is where the good human nature ended. On the way and avoiding the flooded roads, parts of which were impassable, we turned into the Laventille area, taking the street behind the Success Laventille Secondary School. Keeping parallel to the Eastern Main Road, we tuned into the next available street to exit onto the main road.

Through the rain and narrow road, a few bareback young men, none of them more than 18 years, threw some debris onto the road where the cars were passing. One of the young men then approached the drivers and told them to pass they would have to pay a fee. When that was done the other young men removed the debris, allowing the cars to pass. Imagine people in their own situations coping and hoping that they can keep their own little worlds intact, only to have some young heartless men take advantage of the situation and extort money from them. That is why I will never feel any empathy for those who live in Laventille.

If these young men have the capacity to formulate a plan like that, knowing that people would think twice about confrontation in an area like that, knowing that the situation is so bad that people would do almost anything to get out of it, then these same young men can find and maintain a job. It is sickening to note that instead of helping the situation they would take advantage of it. The irony is that I am supposed overlook these injustices and give those said people a chance. I must not contribute to the stereotyping but give then the benefit of the doubt.

No way! They are responsible for their own reputation. And when they do things like this it only reinforces the disgust the rest of the nation has for them. What was heartening was that after the first car paid what looked like $5, the drivers behind realised what was going on and did not give the other youthmen a chance to replace their barrier. They did not make as much as they thought they would have. When will they realise that they are a scourge on the nation?

I shudder when they say “rise, Laventille, rise.”

Ryan Martinez