Written by: LadyBird
- 24th Jan, 2008 - 5:24pm
The various business organizations including the local Chamber of Commerce and the American Chamber of Commerce have all maintained deafening silence on the allegations that members of their respective organizations are actively contributing to the crime situation and the overall culture of crime in our country.
But what goes around comes around. Let them continue to sow the wind. They will certainly reap the whirlwind, with retributive force.
Here's some food for thought: Maybe the bandits are performing a social service after all, maintaing some equilibrium in the social equation.
Businessman robs community, bandit robs businessman.
Written by: LadyBird
- 21st Jan, 2008 - 4:29am
In PNM's "Magnum Online Newspaper". It was one of two commentaries I did on the crime situation in T&T.
And yes, I do live in Trinidad.
|where was this published? You living in Trinidad? |
Written by: Buff
- 18th Jan, 2008 - 8:53pm
Well that was very thorough, where was this published? You living in Trinidad?
Written by: LadyBird
- 18th Jan, 2008 - 7:03am
The following article was written by LadyBird some two years ago:
Not too long ago, I told a PNM Parliamentarian that in my view, there was little difference between the violent bandit and the unscrupulous/corrupt but ostensibly "legitimate" businessman, and that the Government's anti crime strategy should make no distinction between them.Â
The MP's response was "You are talking damned nonsense. The unscrupulous/corrupt businessman does not invade your home or business place, hold a gun to your head, shoot you or terrorize your family before robbing you of your hard earned property."
"No" I replied, "He simply robs poor people on a daily basis and threatens their economic survival while creating the environment for violent crime to exist".
Today I ask the question:Â Is the crooked, but ostensibly "legitimate" businessman who through unscrupulous practices cheats and robs entire communities of poor people of their hard earned money any different to the bandit who points a 9mm at the businessman's head and relieves him of all HIS money?
The unpleasant and undisputable reality of that analogy is that whereas the bandit selectively targets a specific individual or specific individuals for robbery, the crooked, but ostensibly "legitimate" businessman is not so selective in whom he targets for his dishonest acts, as his intention is to cheat and rob as many people as he can,Â and he actually does cheat and rob,Â systematically, and over extended periods of time, entire communities of poor people through unscrupulous business/trading practices.
One may argue, as the MP did, that the unscrupulous, crooked yet ostensibly "legitimate" businessman does not use violence in his robberies.Â But when a businessman cheats a poor mother of her hard to come by pittance by selling her substandard, or defective items or spoilt or expired food products, at exorbitant prices, repeatedly, he commits an act of violence against her that is as devastating as the armed hold up, as he jeopardizes in no less a deleterious manner, her economic and physical survival and that of her dependent loved ones.
And when he repeats his dishonest, greedy and purely selfish act, from which he alone benefits, several hundred times a day against other poor people, over an extended period of time, his worth as a valuable member of Society diminishes to the point where he becomes a social menace and a blood sucking leech on society.
But, many may argue, quite correctly, although he may be crooked, unscrupulous and a leech, he operates his business within the law, albeit barely within the marginal framework of legality. But does he really? And does he not actually contribute in a significant manner to the violent crime that besieges the very business community to which he belongs and the society as a whole?
As the crime situation continues to trouble most of us and people from all quarters are criticizing the Government's efforts and calling for better crime fighting initiatives, the business community, in particular the small to medium sized business sector,Â whose owners/operators and their relatives seem to think that they are theÂ favorite and popular targets for bandits and kidnappers,Â need to understand that violent crime - and we are not speaking here of gangland violence and gangland murders, that is an entirely different topic - does not exist in a vacuum.Â Society on the whole has a contributing hand in its breeding and culture. And the time has come for the small/medium sized business sector in particular, and also some of the larger businesses - to engage in some serious, critical introspection and to publicly acknowledge its own role as a major contributor to this social evil.
The violent bandit, kidnapper or murderer, and his activities, represent only the brazen and high profile aspect of crime. But this aspect of violent crime would cease to be attractive or profitable were it not for the role played by the unscrupulous/corrupt small/medium sized businessperson, who in spite of his veneer of "respectability" and "legitimacy" represents the other side of crime: the low profile but more sinister and insidious aspect that is conveniently overlooked.
It is this type of unscrupulous business person who provides an indispensable service to the bandits and purveyors of looted, plundered items by purchasing, and not asking questions deliberately, stolen vehicles, jewelry and electronics, many of whose owners were murdered in the course of those robberies
When the BWIA pilot was murdered in the course of a robbery by Glen Ashby and "Yellows", where do you think the police recovered his stolen vehicle and the family's jewels? In Laventille/ Morvant, Enterprise, or Gun Hill?
NO!Â They recovered the looted jewelry from the pawn shops of legitimate jewelers in Curepe and from the homes and business places of business persons in the very area where the murdered victim lived. Those business people knew of the murder but that did not stop them from purchasing the plundered blood items. The stolen car was recovered from the parking lot of a "respectable" and "legitimate" used car dealer in Central Trinidad from whom many a stolen car whose owner was murdered has been recovered.
When warehouses are broken into, like the massive theft of computer parts and equipment from an El Socorro warehouse sometime ago, where did all that equipment end up?
In Laventille/Morvant, Enterprise Village or Gun Hill in Point Fortin?
NO! They ended up in the business places of many "legitimate" computer parts retailers in Central Trinidad.
When truck loads of furniture, electrical and electronic appliances were looted from a warehouse in the East-West Corridor and later found in a Central Trinidad warehouse, who are the real beneficiaries? The thieves?
NO! Guess again.
When the Carib truck was hijacked and disappeared with 1000 cases of Carib products, where did it end up? In my fridge or yours? In my belly or yours?
NO!Â They ended up in a well known Arima pub from where the son of a well known Arima businessman was kidnapped two years ago and later rescued by the police in Beetham Estate.
And again quite recently, just a couple of weeks ago,Â another shipment of Carib products valued in excess of $250,000 was violently hijacked at gunpoint from a Central Trinidad warehouse and towed away with an 18 wheeler truck which I am sure was not owned by those actually stealing the stuff. Obviously some big ostensibly legitimate business person or persons had to be the real beneficiaries of the heist. Fortunately the police stopped them dead in their tracks.
I can continue in this vein "ad nauseam" but the point is sufficiently made.
That type of crooked businessman who facilitates and accommodates acts of banditry and theft by providing an easy outlet for stolen items is by no means a minority element, or an aberration within the business community. And the various Chambers of Commerce are only too well aware of this disgraceful situation among its membership.
People must understand that without a ready market for looted or illegally obtained goods, banditry, robberies with violence, and ordinary burglaries will cease to be profitable and will not be worth the risk, and the perpetrators will have to look for other ways of earning money.
But quite apart from this penchant for dealing in looted items, there is yet another unsavory, criminal aspect to the business practices of these business persons. They hire the very same violent criminal element, including Muslimeen and other known criminals as debt collectors and enforcers, to threaten, intimidate and physically rough up persons who are indebted to them.
Their strategy is to use the element of fear to collect their receivables rather than pursue recovery efforts through the courts. In addition to this practice many of these same business people employ these known felons; they pay them to provide bodyguard and security services for them. They use them as drivers, bouncers and enforcers. Is it any wonder that when there is a parting of the ways, or even sooner, the owners/operators of these business places become targets for robbery and kidnapping by accomplices of the very thugs they hire(d).
And they are the very people who are quick to bawl "de police ent doing dey wuk and de govvament only encouraging crime" but they continue to ignore their own insidious role in creating the type of atmosphere that is conducive to violent crime.
Why, is it that in areas where business places abound, only certain establishments are targeted for robberies, and repeat robberies at that, and their owners and children are kidnapped on more than one occasion, sometimes as many as two and three times. Those are not typical kidnappings.
Why it is that the really big business persons, the owners of the large companies and conglomerates, the ones who pursue recovery efforts through legitimate legal channels are seldom attacked or kidnapped?
Why is it mainly the owners of small to medium sized businesses who use improper methods to recover monies owed to them and whoseÂ proprietors use known Muslimeen thugs and felons as bodyguards and bouncers at their business places are the main targets for kidnapping and robberies?
Violence breeds more violence. When people who owe legitimate debts to these unscrupulous business persons and who cannot or do not pay the money owed for one reason or another, feel that their physical safety and well being and that of their loved ones are threatened by the illegal recovery efforts of these business people, their instinctive reaction is to protect their loved ones and remove the threats to their safety. And therein lies the cause for the pre-emptive elimination of many an unscrupulous business person.
If the small and medium sized business community and their owners were to stop providing outlets for hot cars and hot car parts, hot jewelry, hot appliances and stop employing people with known criminal records the crime figure would certainlyÂ drop.
What about the many rackets? Do these not contribute to violent crime as well? And who are the masterminds and main beneficiaries? Is it the violent criminal element, the lowly paid minions who do the dirty work? Or is it the unscrupulous business persons who were the masterminds behind the Passport rackets, visa rackets, land stealing racket, driving permit racket, foreign used car racket? Birth and death certificates rackets, Immigration scams, Airport corruption, WASA corruption, Desalination Plant, Inncogen, N.W.R.H.A, S.W.R.H.A., The illicit Drug Trade, the Illegal arms trade?
Who hired low life assasssins to murder Mohess and Darling Rampersad,Â Mala Mohammed, Vindra Coolman, Chandra Naraynsingh and the senior customs officer a few years ago who refused to be bribed to allow uncustomed liquor and supermarket products into the country? Who were the real beneficiaries to these and other high profile murders?
Certainly not the trigger men!
Need I go on?
The state must deal ruthlessly with violent criminals but the message must be sent as well to the many unscrupulous business persons among us who contribute to the culture of crime, by encouraging crime and creating the environment for violent crime to exist and be beneficial, that their activities will not be tolerated and they too will feel the heavy hand of the law.
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