Sunday, 20 November 2016

Those Fireworks Injuries - Thank You Karma, Thou Heartless Bitch.

Exactly one year ago on November 20th, 2015 we published the following post
Those Fireworks Injuries - Thank You Karma, Thou Heartless Bitch which we reproduce today because this Keith Rolwey led PNM Government has done  nothing to address the wicked disruption of our lives through the discharge of scratch and cherry bombs and of course, the dreaded fireworks.

The Government  continues to pussyfoot in taking harsh action to deal with this seasonal menace as is its practice in dealing with virtually every important national issue.

The  Newsday report reproduced below tells of the serious injury suffered by a grandmother while trying to protect her six month old granddaughter from a scratch bomb thrown into a moving vehicle in which they were both passengers. The incident epitomizes the criminal recklessness and evil intent of those who detonate these devices with regard for neither life nor limb and worst of all with absolutely no fear of the Law.

Newsday Article: Ban scratch bombs

Sunday, November 20 2016

They have become a feature of almost every celebration in Trinidad and Tobago: those quite noisy scratch bombs and, of course, the complementary fireworks. But there are times when their potential to maim manifest themselves as in the case of Sally-Ann Cuffie, the Talparo grandmother who suffered injuries when a cretin of a prankster tossed one of those devices into a car in which she was a passenger. It could have been worse. The woman sustained her injuries when she sought to throw the scratch bomb back out of the vehicle to prevent it from exploding in the face of her six-month old granddaughter. That is why we keenly welcome Minister of Public Administration, Maxie Cuffie, adding his voice to the public outcry against the scratch-bomb menace by his promise to launch a public education campaign on their hazards.

At the same time, by now people should be well edified on the dangers of scratch bomb. Therefore, even as we welcome the Cuffie initiative, the Government must go further.

Consider the device blew of the grandmother’s fingertips, broke her finger bones and seared her flesh. Surgery saw her undergo skin grafts, implantation of steel rods in her hand and surgical removal of splinters of bone. Diabetes has impeded her recovery, even as she longs for some good Samaritan to intervene to help her seek plastic surgery abroad.

Even amid all her pain, Ms Cuffie still has a household to run and bills to pay.

As she is now unable to work and faces uncertain job prospects, she is now in need of social assistance which Minister Cuffie has pledged to assist her access.

The Government must take Ms Cuffie under its wing as a special case deserving of priority attention, as an expression of our collective abhorrence at her undeserved agony that was the result of this society’s cumulative failings to stop the scratch-bomb menace More broadly we await details of Minister Cuffie’s public education campaign on scratch bombs, which have the sole purpose of creating a sudden, loud, sonic shock. Explosive noises can create severe anxiety and increased blood pressure and heart-rate in nearby residents, possibly even heart-attacks.

We also lament reports of animals being badly maimed by scratch bombs thrown at them by evildoers.

Public education must be supplemented by law enforcement against scratch bombs, which are discharged in every community from Divali to Christmas to Old Year’s Night and in between, according to the whim of the neighbourhood brat. Sadly, anecdote suggests to us that it is extremely difficult for a resident suffering any sort of noise pollution including scratch bombs to get a positive response from the police, who simply seem unwilling or unable to deal with it.

Yet legally there are many devices they can use against miscreants, including common law tort offences of nuisance, plus breach of at least two statutes - the Explosives Act and the Summary Offences Act sections 9 and 101.

The Summary Offences Act penalises the illegal discharge of fireworks including scratch-bombs by a $1,000 fine.

The Explosives Act imposes a fine of $20,000 and 10 years’ jail for the illicit import of explosives, plus a $2,000 fine for illicit wholesale and a $1,000 fine for illicit retail.

These penalties must be raised, and enforcement must follow.

We ask what new initiatives will the police deploy to impede the import of scratch bombs by shipping container, suitcase or pirogue, and to charge unscrupulous retailers? The harm done by scratch bombs to mental well-being is real, as are the physical wounds as suffered by Ms Cuffie. No combination of neighbourhood lout and unscrupulous retailer must outweigh the tranquillity of an entire neighbourhood.

The public outcry is deafening for this cause whose time has come, and the population now demands real action by the authorities.

Notwithstanding this unfortunate incident involving Ms. Cuffie, we continue to have the faith we placed in KARMA as stated in our original post. We continue to hope for the serious injury if not death at their own hands of those responsible for our persecution. We wish it even upon their children, and we do so without fear, compassion or remorse.

Actually,We have no no other option given the State's callous indifference to our plight and the failure/refusal of the Police to protect us by simply doing the job we pay them to do.

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