MURDER IS THE ISSUE, NOT MEDIA COVERAGE

A doubles man was killed at Chase Village at pre-dawn Tuesday and an apple vendor at Tunapuna on Saturday afternoon.

They are among some 80 people who have so far lost their lives in the six weeks of 2019.

Presumably, they were honest family men working long hours to put food on the table.

The homicide rate is continuing pell-mell from last year.

And the year before – and so on.

But the national discussion is an esoteric talk about media coverage, about participants on political platforms – and whether Machel Montano should sing Hindu bhajans.

There must be something wrong in our land when the outrage is directed at the news industry, the political opposition – and our champion artiste.

Things must be even more skewed when the accusations are being levelled by the police chief, the Minister of National Security – and the Hindu faithful.

The brutal reality is that lawlessness is still rampant, even while we make mas with our famal-al-lay.

For his part, Gary Griffith has reaffirmed our faith in law enforcement, leading from the front in an uncompromising resistance against criminals.

In that respect, Griffith is the most effective police boss in a generation, and references to Randolph Burroughs are a tribute to him.

Burroughs was highly image-conscious (I might one day tell of my exchanges with him, as a young reporter), but he was a relentless crime fighter who, like Griffith, kept a constant rapport with the media.

Griffith is our best hope, and we must support and wish him well.

But the media’s coverage is a subsidiary issue to the urgent need to return Trinidad and Tobago to a relatively safe zone.

The commissioner’s protest should, however, prompt introspection among media practitioners, and, especially, senior operatives.

On the other hand, the ever-zestful National Security Minister rushed to the media like a child who had lost his favourite toy.

Predictably, his angst was about a reported ex-criminal appearing on an opposition platform.

Those who expected the Prime Minister to be tempered and to provide assurances on crime-fighting were, instead, treated to another episode of opposition-shaming.

In the meantime, relatives of murder victims – like the doubles and apple vendors – are burying their dead and asking, like the rest of us: How many more must die?

They would find no comfort from the bluster of the Prime Minister and National Security Minister.

As for Machel Montano, let’s be grateful that he did not enter the chutney fray, in which case he would have ensnared into singing about horn and rum.

For that, of course, he could have pulled down a cool million-dollar first prize.

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