When the few would override the majority
What a mixed bag of a weekend it has been!
As patriotic Barbadians, the majority of us would have loved for it to have been an uninterrupted three days of wholesome activities in celebration of our national Independence. Never mind we have not yet reached the stage of full actualization, we still believe the hard-fought rights and freedoms which we have achieved by the blood, tear-stained faces and sweaty backs of our foreparents are worthy of acknowledgement.
Thus, as part of our annual commemoration, it has become commonplace for born and bred Bajans to spend the Independence Day first watching the ceremonial parade of the troops, then liming with friends while feasting on conkies and other traditional Bajan delights.
For Barbadians at home and abroad, Independence Day is the one time we literally wear our National Flag on our sleeves, while using any available opportunity to sing a folk tune or reminisce about old times. And given that there is a public holiday, a “good old Bajan seabath” may be added to the mix –– except for those who prefer to stay at home virtually all day watching the full diet of reruns on Channel 8.
But, alas, the criminal element –– which we must underscore is very much in the minority –– would “drive by”, as they did in Danesbury Road, Black Rock, St Michael, this past Saturday night, and try to rob us of our cultural tradition. In a most cowardly but dastardly act, perpetrated in the dead of the night, the entire community would be jolted by the piercing sound of gunshots, one Barbadian left dead and four others injured.
The incident threw a pall of grief and melancholy over Independence Day on Sunday and Independence Bank-Holiday yesterday Monday, which occasion was further marred by the news that a ZR driver was found dead in his vehicle, albeit from natural causes; that human remains were found in St Peter, albeit an aged skeleton; that a pedestrian was struck and killed in St George; and, just yesterday, that a man was shot in the arm by police at Browne’s Beach in St Michael.
“Bloody hell! What is Bimshire coming to?” many asked aloud.
Even we in the media, who are trained to passively report the facts, couldn’t help wondering openly where is the “community-mindedness” that Donville Inniss longs for and that Barbados so desperately needs again was. Where indeed are the basic decency and respect for the sanctity
of human life?
We do not believe that crime has descended to the level of crisis as has our economy; neither do we wish that it should ever reach such a stage. But perhaps our Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite needs to do as we had earlier asked our Acting Commissioner of Police Tyrone Griffith to: stop bragging about a drop in crime!
It would seem that every time they do, the criminal element sets out to prove them wrong, and our crime problem suddenly seems out of control again. In fact, we believe former Attorney General Dale Marshall is right on the money when he suggests that what is most worrying to the people of Barbados right now are the “flagrant and brutal assaults” that are occurring in a way that “we cannot ever recollect seeing”.
“We have individuals shooting young fathers in the early hours of the morning, on our beaches, with their infant children in their arms. We know it is not daily, but the frequency with which people are going up to other people and pulling a gun and taking their life is alarming.”
Furthermore, while the level of brutality has not reached where the majority of Barbadians feel they cannot walk the streets at night, we yet need to take cognizance of Anglican cleric John Rogers’ recent warning that there are “some very bright people who have no scruples” in this country.
Additionally, the reverend advises that in the face of an ongoing retrenchment, Government needs to be very mindful of circumstances “where citizens feel they will not get justice”.
To this, we now add that the rights of the irresponsible and wreckless minority must never be allowed to override those of the majority. Otherwise, we fear, thug life and culture will overrun this beautiful land of ours in much the same way chikungunya, dengue fever and the like have got us reeling, forcing many a traveller to shy away.
Then, Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy’s boast that Air Canada has just added its big Boeing 777 would be all for naught.
Mr AG, beware!