Teelucksingh: Men must have positive influence on young, old

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley congratulates Dr Jerome Teelucksingh on his Hummingbird medal, gold, at the 2022 National Awards, NAPA, Port of Spain on September 24. President Paula-Mae Weekes is at centre. – Photo courtesy Office of the President

AS countries around the globe marks International Men’s Day (IMD) on Saturday, founder Dr Jerome Teelucksingh is telling men they have the power to influence positivity and should use that power.

Teelucksingh, a lecturer at the Department of History, UWI, St Augustine, said this observance has helped many men to change their value systems, norms and morals, but it is not enough. He said there is still a long way to go for men to understand their roles and responsibilites.

He appealed for volunteers to help men – young and old – who have gone astray.

“There is no vaccine to prevent violence. We need all hands on deck to deal with the epidemic of violence.”

He said the Men Leading by Example theme for 2022 is most appropriate, given the surge of violence and murder, of which men are mostly both the perpetrators and victims.

Speaking to Newsday about IMD, Teelucksingh said the theme is an invitation for men to be positive role models in their homes, schools, workplaces, communities, towns and villages.”

Given the alarming murder rate and troubling incidents of school violence, Teelucksingh said, “It is a wake-up call to let men know that they have the power to positively influence others, especially the boys who are the next generation of men.

“It is also is important as we seek honest, upright citizens who will not be biased in their treatment of others. The theme seeks to produce men of substance and calibre who will demand justice and protect the weak.”

Teelucksingh, a 2022 recipient of the Hummingbird medal – gold, for education and volunteerism, observed, “It seems as if violence and murder has become the new normal in Trinidad and Tobago.

“It is most unfortunate that this way of life has become entrenched in our society. Many of us have become desensitized and grown accustomed to violence. This reflects a dysfunctional society. Violence is no longer restricted to the battlefield. It has become a common and everyday scenario.

“It is even more frightening when we realize that there are few persons and NGOs who are willing to volunteer their time to help these youngsters and men who have gone astray.”

He said some people are content to stay in their comfort zone and not intervene to help troubled males.

Saying an increasing number of men were comfortable with mediocrity and low standards, Teelucksingh urged men to lead by example to promote a culture of excellence.

He extended greetings to every single male in TT and the world and recognised the contribution many are making towards the development of TT.

A number of events have been planned in observance of IMD, in TT and internationally. On Thursday, IMD was also observed by the Central Administrative Services, Tobago, and at a UWI Vice-Chancellor’s forum in Jamaica.

Teelucksingh will be a virtual guest speaker at IMD forums in Sri Lanka and Curacao.

He will also make guest appearances at a fire services event in Chaguanas and the 2nd Annual Multinational Motorcycle Ride/Motorcade in celebration of IMD.

Motorcycle and classic car groups from the English- and Dutch-speaking Caribbean countries will celebrate IMD. TT is the host country of this event, which started in 2020 and which included bikers from Barbados, St Lucia, the Cayman Islands, Grenada, Curaçao, Dominica and St Vincent.

The pandemic temporarily halted the event, which has been billed as the only one other than cricket to bring Caribbean people together.

Motorcyclists and classic car organisations from the north and west will assemble at the Brian Lara Promenade, Port of Spain. Participants from Arima and the east will pass through San Juan and join the north group in Port of Spain by 8 am and leave the city to meet the south contingent in San Fernando at 10 am.

Because of the J’Ouvert celebration in San Fernando to mark City Day, the group will not pass through San Fernando, but assemble at the KFC parking lot, Gulf City, La Romaine.

The journey will continue to Point Fortin, where the formal festivities will take place.