Youth Voices

There are lots of signs in life
Some that you may not like
You could be living this minute…the next minute you’re gone away…..
In the summer of 1996 (I’m mentioning this at the risk of giving clues to my age) a song entitled “Never Dis Di Man” by Jamaican artiste Sanchez blazed the local airwaves. Every young person, and even the older folks, seemed to know the lyrics of the song and sang along with it whenever it played. Fast-forward to eighteen years later, and the song’s haunting lyrics, when heard, can still make the listener stop and think.
As I listened to the song recently, my mind traveled to the year 1996. At that time, Trinidad and Tobago still could fit into the category of a “paradise”. Reports of crime were few. Political corruption had not yet reached its ripening point. And all the young people wanted to be “conscious” like the artistes they listened to. It has taken eighteen years (dating from 1996) of a worsening crime situation; eighteen years of a gradual but frightening downward spiral of a nation, to make me realize just how prophetic that song was, and how much we need to take the lyrics to heart.
The latest spate of reported deaths have unfortunately been that of the very young. From babies to teenagers, it seems as though almost every other day, and sometimes twice in one week, another young person loses his/her life as a result of either violence, carelessness (on the part of the adults in charge of them) or unfortunate accidents.
The sudden rise in the number of deaths of our youth (in some cases, under the strangest of circumstances) forces the superstitious-minded citizen to wonder; is this normal? Or is this the result of some evil spirit passing over the land?
Some say that Satan himself is after the youth of the nation. Others say that parents need to buckle down and pay closer attention to their children. Some even go as far as saying that it is an election year, and the devil wants his quota paid to him in blood. Whatever the reason behind this rise in children losing their lives, there is one thing we can all agree on; there is nothing “normal” about it.
Tell me; what is “normal” about being the only country in the Caribbean at present that reports 1-2 deaths of children per week? We are indeed living in very disturbing times, and, like Sanchez said in that popular song, we really need to “say a prayer and chant a psalm” to keep the evil at bay.


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