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A strong word must be sent criminal kind

CRIMEYears ago in Barbados, whenever serious crime reared its ugly head, attention immediately focused on a few individuals, especially if guns were involved. These persons, who were well known to the police, were regular guests of Her Majesty on Station Hill and somehow always tended to run afoul of the law whenever they were released back into society.

Whenever they were on the run from the law, the country used to be tenterhooks. However, though their names were associated with illegal guns, they were never held for killing anyone. Their clashes were mostly with the police. Eventually, they died by the gun –– at the hands of police –– after living by the gun.

The nature of gun-related crime, which is currently the cause of much public anxiety, has undergone a dramatic change over the years. In bygone years, real guns were not easy to come by, as is the case today. The bad guys of the day, therefore, resorted to the creative manufacture of home-made contraptions known as pipe guns.

Whereas feared criminals of yesteryear were mostly grown men, today they are mostly trigger-happy youths, with obviously much easier access to real guns. Many of them have not lost their mothers’ features, to use an old Barbadian saying. In comparison with yesteryear, the big difference is that gun violence today often results in serious injury and sometimes death.

It is time for our society to take note of what is happening and resolve to taking decisive action against this menace. The key question which society must ask itself is whether it is prepared to allow a small, lawless minority, with no apparent respect for law or life, to hold the vast law-abiding majority of the population to ransom. If the answer is a resounding no,
then the next step is a firm decision on what kind of action has to be taken.

Solving the problem is not going to be easy, but solve it we must, for the consequences of failure are too far-reaching and will negatively impact on all of us. Besides equipping our police with the necessary resources to be more effective in crime-fighting, we also need as a society to engage in
a serious conversation to ascertain the root causes of the worrisome level of deviance among a small percentage of our young men who are at war with each other.

Fighting crime is not the exclusive job of the police, as some people are quick to say. Rather, it requires an effective partnership between the police and citizenry, as was the case years ago, that contributed in a significant way to ensuring our communities remained safe and peaceful. It is unfortunate that the police today no longer enjoy the kind of public support and respect as was the case in bygone years. Changes in societal values have been a significant contributor.

Against this backdrop, it must be challenging for the police to get the kind of public cooperation, especially in the vital area of intelligence, which is necessary for preventing and solving crime. The sharing of vital information with the police is a crucial contribution which the average citizen can make to the anti-crime effort. However, for various reasons, some citizens
no longer see this as a civic duty.

In the last 25 years or so, the police have come to be viewed by some people, especially young men, as being against them instead of being there to serve them. These views, to some extent, were influenced by exposure to ideas from other countries, including a few in our region, which were imported especially via music.

It can be argued that these views have contributed in some measure to the challenges which the police are experiencing attracting young men to its ranks. This is in sharp contrast to yesteryear when being a policeman was a much sought-after career opportunity.

It is in the society’s best interest, and the police’s as well, to work towards repairing the obvious deterioration in their relationship with a primary focus on rebuilding trust. This is important because when the police go after the criminal element, they can only produce the best results if they do so knowing that they have the full support of the society behind them.

Our society still has a window of opportunity to act and send a strong message to the criminal element. There are some countries where this opportunity does not exist and hope is virtually lost.

With steely determination and a united approach, we can fix the problem and spare Barbados from the agony of such misfortune.

3 Responses to A strong word must be sent criminal kind

  1. Tony Webster August 19, 2015 at 6:25 am

    Yes, there is indeed a great challenge, dear Ed., or more correctly, several challenges. I guess, it all depends on what sort of society, we all desire, or wish to retain. What is “normal”. It all depends on whether we have eyes, ears and brains, to see how our sibling neighbours, are faring, in Jamaica, and in Trinidad, and even unto Castries.

    We have options; we can DO something; we can surrender to the minority; or we can fold our arms, and pray that someone else , will accept our own responsibilities.

  2. cecil P August 19, 2015 at 11:16 pm

    the police should come down very hard on these criminals like the way the police in U.S operate if the criminal have a GUN TAKE HIM OUT don’t give him a second chance to kill someone I hope the police isn’t reading this they might just do it . and if they do u would hear lots of people saying why the police had to kill him although every one is scared to open there windows @ night or having to walking home from work when some smart ass shooting off a GUN like if it’s a damn toy .and if the do kill someone they in court laughing like if it’s a damn joke .before I go all BIM have is tourism if this nonsense don’t stop and the word get out about the shootings and the criminals running the country the tourist would just find somewhere else to go and then what that’s the million dollar question from the north pole

  3. Freeagent August 21, 2015 at 7:00 am

    Yes, Mr. P. while I agree to some extent with what you said, eg driving the tourists and prospective investors away from the island, there are other ways to deal with these young men. Many of these men were brought up in single parent homes where no love or discipline was administered. Some seem not to have done well at school, so job prospects are limited. While those two suggestions are not reasons for the bad behaviour, we who have not been in their position will not understand their frustrations. We in our communities can do something for them. Rather than look on them as lost causes, we can encourage them to do something positive with their lives. They may not be scientists, but they may be good farmers or good artists. We must let them know that there are other ways of going forward than with drugs and guns which they see being used in the video games and movies that they love to watch.
    Let us show some compassion and try our best to improve the current situation. Some will adhere to what we are trying to do, but some will continue with their deviant behaviour.
    Now that I am on this topic I believe that our churches and our schools, teachers, need to pay greater attention to our young children, many of whom have never seen a Bible let alone attend church. WE MUST BE OUR BROTHERS’ KEEPERS.


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