Who would you want watching your back?

It seems im part of a small section of Trinidad society that is fast becoming a dying breed. You see, I live in a community that I’ve been a part of all my life. I briefly relocated for a year or so, but ultimately, returned to my hometown. Over the years tho, I have noticed two distinct things, the first is the natural progression of persons growing up in one location, and then eventually moving on to a new location to begin their own lives. Putting down roots in new communities, or developments, opting for townhouse living rather than having to clean a 3000 square foot yard in a family home, has become a bit of the norm these days.

The second thing that I’ve noticed is the less obvious but growing change of the communities that were left behind by these, aspiring persons seeking their own new place. The change being that the communities that were once all composed of owned properties had a certain pride and sense of community. The sense of family and neighborly conversation was commonplace and kids of the area would all play together, shop at the corner store and we would all meet at Church on Sunday Morning. Assuming we got up in time. Today, these homes may have been passed on to these kids, now all grown up, and in an effort to leverage these properties as assets,  are now being rented, or outright sold, sometimes to persons seeking Investment Properties, to yes, rent .

To my estimation, this trend has impacted most of what I spoke of in the previous paragraphs, the feeling of a neighborhood and community is slowly being replaced by automatic gates and shared grounds on rented homes converted into duplex. Now, this is not a bad thing, just a new thing, and the old feelings of course, will go out with …. well, the old. Now there is a more individual sense of space and less of the community life that defined previous generations. But then again, this is progress and I’m sure that argument can be made in may other aspects of T&T living as well. But here, in the community, the imagery is evident, at least to those that slow down to watch. The corner store? Now a bar and night club. The street games, football, cricket, are no more, instead we stay glued screens to watch european teams playing in games far away from the streets of our small communities.

Of course, the next question becomes, as it always seems to these days, How does this impact on the security of the neighborhood. Well, in my humble estimation, (and without a shred of actual statistical evidence to back me up) it does feel less of a safe lifestyle because the question of “neighbors watching out for each other” seems to be also going the way of the birds. Please note, Im writing this a day after the tragic shooting of Akesh Sooklal, a 14 year old boy that was shot by robbers in Kelly Village, Central Trinidad, while trying to raise an alarm that his uncle was being car-jacked at their home.

So, Maybe the comfort of familiar faces might have added to my story having weight a few weeks ago when I started this post. Naively, I thought that would have made a difference, instead, I’m just left to wonder, and venture a question……… an unfamiliar face of a new renter, or the known one of a lifetime resident, the feeling of community ultimately lies in the gesture of every individual to be “their neighbors’ keeper”, if you grew up in the area, or are just passing through.