“Together We Take a Stand, Not a Seat”February 8th, 2017
By Terez Lord, CYPAN Country Coordinator (Trinidad and Tobago)
The recent escalation in crime, coupled with a spirit of paranoia has led to the mass proliferation of civic-minded citizens overtly demonstrating their disgruntlement in Trinidad and Tobago. Friday 13 January 2017 was a black one, for more reasons than one. The streets of the capital city Port of Spain were transformed into a stage for a tragic theatrical performance based on actual events. The plot unfolded to physically and bodily represent the 463 murders recorded in the country in 2016.
The Commonwealth Youth Peace Ambassadors Network (CYPAN) was a part of the cast for this production of the Drama Making a Difference Company (DMAD). This local non-profit organisation uses drama to sensitise audiences on issues of critical and contemporary relevance. DMAD believes that each individual’s story should be told and heard, utilising the entertaining and realistic means of theatre. Apart from CYPAN, other organisations on the cast included the 2 Cents Movement, the Commonwealth Youth Council, and Freetown Collective as well as local celebrities such as CYPAN supporter, Anya Ayoung-Chee.
People wore necklaces from which hung signs marked with the name of each person who fell victim to crime in 2016. Demonstrators lined the fence of Woodford Square with their placards chanting “I will stop this bloodshed” while massive containers of red water symbolising blood were poured down the drains. The 2 Cents Movement and I-ACT Christian Theatre showcased their dramatic presentations, with one profound piece involving actors gruesomely “dropping dead” and their bodies were piled up on top each other on the grass.
As the crowd lay “dead” on the grass for ten minutes, Freetown Collective altered the mood from one of melancholy to hopefulness with their original songs, including “Love in Transition,” when all gathered in the square singing songs of love. This event is proof that Trinbagonians, even in the midst of turmoil, can truly muster up that common love, which binds and makes us one, as our national song preaches.