Party At Your Own Risk

A close friend of my sons got stabbed after a cooler fete a few hours ago and is now being operated on to fix a collapsed lung and who knows what other injuries. A few weeks ago my children and their friends were attacked by a young man and his bodyguards outside Prive nightclub in San Fernando. This was after the young man had shoved one of them, thrown a drink on another and his friends started slapping another inside the club; there was an altercation and everyone was evicted from the club (though the young man and friends were allowed back in). This young man is apparently a known pest, both in North and South, but appears to have loads of money at his disposal (How else would a 20-year-old have a choice of whether to drive a Hummer or a Lexus?), and that seems to give him licence to do whatever he wants and start fights for entertainment whenever he feels like it. (It helps, of course, that he’s well connected in South, because the bouncers from the club, instead of breaking up the fight that ensued outside when the young man and his people jumped out of the Lexus and rushed the group, instead joined in and attacked the young people they did not know). This incident has been reported to the police but I’m not taking bets on whether it will go much further. The young man has threatened to look for them in clubs in Port of Spain so is clearly fixing for a rematch. Like the mess in San Fernando, today’s incident seems to have been a random event as the young man who’s now in hospital was also unknown to the people who attacked him.
What is terrifying is that this seems to have become a normal part of life for young people. So many of them have been killed in car crashes and now every day one reads of more deaths during limes and fetes. A drink spilled; a toe stepped on by mistake; a glance at the wrong girl, a recollection of some perceived slight, all of these insignificant events have led to injury and death. There’s too much frustration, too much ‘beef’ and way too much alcohol going around these days. Why should it be a normal thing for people to attack others because they are from another part of town, another group, another ‘clip’? There are wars where the young men from one street dare not be seen on the next street or they will be shot dead. Why have our children become targets of other people’s children—their own peers—for no reason at all? Don’t for one minute think that it’s only young people from the so-called depressed or ‘garrison’ communities who are involved. The young man in the Prive incident is an extreme example of how well-off kids are involved as well—those who do not have the excuse of not having opportunities, education, family or social support. In a few recent incidents, young ‘rich boys’ have also been involved in these ugly dramas. Why we are making strangers of one another, fabricating reasons for people to be enemies? The adults—a government that pays little, if any, attention to its people’s needs, politicians who have no shame; people who drive on the roads with complete lack of consideration for anyone, and complete lawlessness; teachers who have no interest in the subjects they teach, far less their students—are setting a bad example, and young people don’t think there’s anything worthwhile for them to inherit (in my opinion, even the Lexus kid has not been served well by his adults). Alcohol has become this country’s answer for everything. Lime and forget. This is what the young have inherited from the adults, but they have started earlier and go at it harder. So they drink and they fight and they crash cars. And bid farewell to their ‘fallen soldiers’. Their attitude is Party With a Vengeance, Party No Matter What. And for a parent, every time they go out, we have no idea whether they will come back whole or come back at all. Nothing you can do to stop them; just try sleep and hope the phone doesn’t ring.


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