As gun and gang violence continue to claim lives in T&T—two internationally renowned reggae icons on Thursday appealed to pupils in the Morvant/Laventille area to focus on their studies, as they are the leaders of tomorrow.
Calling on the Government to find out what was affecting the people, they said a conscious effort is needed to find out what issues continued to fuel crime.
Tying the shoelaces of some of the pupils at the Rose Hill RC Primary School, Laventille, minutes after he arrived at the facility, Miguel “Sizzla Kalonji” Collins, urged the 65 children present to aim to be more successful than him.
Admitting it was beautiful to be back in T&T as he spoke to reporters briefly before entering the school, Collins said, “Education is the foundation.”
Collins, along with Clifton “Capleton” Bailey III visited two primary schools and one secondary school as they sought to send a conscious message to the youth.
Collins said they were “sending the conscious message of Rastafari...reaching out to the people in the diaspora for them to know they are one despite the situation, despite the crime and violence and distractions within the media and all those stuff.”
He added, “You are one black people from Africa and you should be conscious and be mindful of that.”
“Don’t be easily distracted, stay focused, know what you want in life and work towards that, and you will get it done.”
“School is the foundation,” he noted.
Sizzla and Capleton, along with Calvin Scott (Cocoa Tea) and Keith Blair (Anthony B), are in Trinidad to perform at the Kings of the Earth concert at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain, tomorrow.
Both Collins and Bailey, along with their respective entourages, visited the Rose Hill RC Primary School; St Barb’s Government Primary School and the Morvant/Laventille Secondary School – where they provided words of inspiration and hope for the future to both staff and students.
During the visits, they also distributed notebooks, pencils and socks to the students, and reminded them of the importance of keeping themselves, their uniforms, books and surroundings clean.
Asked to comment on the viral video recording of the situation which occurred at Rose Hill RC on October 31, when pupils and teachers were seen lying on the ground and under desks whilst gunshots from warring gangs were heard echoing through the surrounding hillsides, Collins said, “The disturbance of the citizens are still within the whole entire structure of the system naturally, and these people residing in this area, knowing it has got tertiary institutions here and they still in that likely manner, to create violence...something must be done and something is really wrong.”
He said work was required to determine “the needs of the people, get the people comfortable, see what’s bothering the people, and assist the people so the people can be more comfortable as for them not to cause any violence to disturb the schooling for the children because we all know that education is the key.”
Focusing on those who had created the fear and panic in the community, he added, “There are big persons doing what they are doing, and they know the crime and violence and the exploding of the guns disturb the children in studying, yet still you are doing it, so something is wrong, so we just need to assist the people.”
He added, “The Government needs to reach out more to the people and know what’s the problem with the people as to quell the violence.”
Assuring they will be standing in solidarity with the community, Collins smiled as he said, “I am Sizzla Kalonji, the voice of the people is the voice of Jah. And I think I should be using my voice for the children also.”
Hugging Collins as they greeted each other outside the school, Bailey echoed similar sentiments as he said reggae music had the power to heal the hearts and free the minds of the people.
“Reggae music is music with soul...so it can make people get into themselves,” Bailey said
Embracing the students at all three schools as they performed excerpts from several hits, both Collins and Bailey were warmly received as they appealed to students to stay in school; remain focused on their studies; maintain a spotless character, which would be their calling card; and also build integrity and improve self-awareness and confidence.