As I stood at Sogren Trace Recreation Grounds and looked at the hundreds of children from East Port of Spain and environs interacting in peace, while the hard core onlookers on the surrounding perimeter kept a visible presence, many thoughts and ideas came to my mind on Saturday.
The conversations focused on the determination to make a positive difference and the initiatives that could have a meaningful and life changing impact but also on the never ending hypocrisy and neglect.
The organisers of the Laventille Nights programme - I95.5Fm - Tony Lee and Darien Marcelle, with support from the Police, Defence Force and the community, deserve credit for going into the belly of the battle and facilitating the empowerment of positive messages and actions.
The battle is in the heart, hands and souls of the law abiding patriots who live in and love their communities. The battle is on the ground in the bowels of the communities.
The headline blared ‘Poverty Rising in Trinidad and Tobago’ - three hundred thousand living on $985 or less a month. Poverty increased while oil and gas dollars flowed aplenty. Income and economic inequality. The myth shattering dire economic circumstances revelation has exposed the cultivated ignorance. We have been living a deluded life. All is not well in the kingdom and the waifs aren't simply ungrateful and never satisfied. The spoils according to the report hasn't been shared.
Alas! The truth is out or is it? Those in heartland communities didn't need a poverty report by Kairi Consultants to tell them that.
On Sunday, Trinidad and Tobago Pro League history was made when Morvant Caledonia Utd hosted San Juan Jabloteh at the Morvant Recreation ground. The community came out in their numbers. As bodies drop in the blaze of fire, the battle for the heart and soul of Trinidad and Tobago is no academic matter.
As long as the reality of income, wealth and social inequality and injustice is the leading narrative, the perception that some lives matter more than others will frame the danger for one and all.
Sports and a sport industry can contribute to the efforts at sincere poverty reduction and the diversification of the T&T economy. But it requires a genuine desire to allow the micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) business sector to thrive.
No fancy words, denials and justifications can erase the sobering reality of the poverty report and the socio economic truth laid bear. The dots of crime, poverty, crowding out of MSME entrepreneurs to fight over crumbs, the stush white collar crime overlords, poor governance, corruption will connect. Inequality is the intended consequence of the social and economic construct of the plantation economy.
When 8-year olds can look up at their mothers and ask "when can I join the war?", the battle is real. Hats off to the organisers of Laventille Nights and to the TT Pro League CEO Dexter Skeene for walking their talk of unwavering advocacy for community empowerment.
There are many other individuals and organizations through fighting the good fight from the ground up. Every life matters. Communities matter. Be indomitable .
To the individuals who spoke to me at the Sogren Trace Recreation Ground about bringing the Team TTO merchandise, the 10 Golds 24 message and talent identification programme to their communities. I hear you! Trust me we are on the same page. I hear you