Our duty to act
Between now and next Thursday night when the results of voting are known, it is hardly likely that much else will interest Barbadians like the words and actions of our politicians.
And that’s reasonable, given that what is being said now could have a significant impact on how electors vote on February 21 — and how we vote then will certainly determine in a major way the course the country takes for the next five year.
So Barbadians have every reason and right to be immersed in the affairs of politics right now. Unfortunately though, as the clich√ goes, life goes on and what it deals us is not always wine and roses.
For a considerable time now the high command of the Royal Barbados Police Force has been complaining about the trade in second hand metals, including precious metals — the theft of which was creating a major headache for innocent persons as well as the police.
Government responded with the rather swift passage of legislation that makes provision for the imposition of hefty fines and/or prison sentences on persons who are found to be involved in illegal practices relating to this trade. The aim is to stamp out the illegal traders, in the process cutting off the avenues available to thieves for disposal.
In a society as literate as ours, and in an environment where penetration by the various sections of the media is so pervasive, it is hardly likely that persons who steal and sell scrap metal and jewellery, as well as the persons who receive the stolen property, have not heard of the passage of the new law and the penalties it contains.
Yet, two weeks ago, when the signatures on the new law could hardly have dried, brazen thieves found their way on to the roof of one of the new cottages at the Nightengale Children’s Home complex at Black Rock, from which they removed the solar water heaters, obviously to get their hand on the copper and other metals contained therein.
In the first place, it would take the lowest of characters to steal the water heater from a children’s home. Not that we would approve the theft from the home of one of our millionaire citizens, but we can’t help but wonder what thoughts would enter the mind of a thief when he knows the inconvenience he will bring to persons who could hardly be classified as anything but the most vulnerable in our community?
We may appear a little irrational here, but how could anything but a sentence of life in prison be seen as the just reward for the actions of such an unconscionable person? Our point is that by now it should be clear to all that we have to be the eyes and ears of our community because the passage of laws alone, important as that is, is of little value if the perpetrators are not caught.
Unless those who see these acts being committed, and those who know by virtue of association who the culprits are, decide to act in the interest of the larger society, all over Barbados we will continue to sit in our living rooms and lose television signal because someone stole the antenna. We will continue to pick up our telephones and get no dial tone because someone climbed the pole and stole the cable. Our cars will drop into ditches because someone stole the grills.
We cannot depend on solutions that are based entirely on the parliamentarians passing laws and police being everywhere at the same time to capture the culprits. We have a duty to look, see and act.