Paul’s lesson on combating crime
Barbadian teachers have come in for criticism from Member of Parliament for St Michael West Central James Paul for displaying “a lesser commitment” to the service and allowing some students to “drop through the cracks”, resulting in social problems.
Paul became the latest public figure to speak on the upsurge in violence that has gripped the country in recent weeks, telling reporters at his constituency office on Seclusion Road, Black Rock, St Michael today that the education system must bear some of the responsibility.
The Government MP took aim at teachers, suggesting some did not do enough to mould the personalities of their students.
“I sense that today there is a lesser commitment on the part of our teachers. I sense that in the teaching system we have too many teachers who are prepared to let some of the students drop through the cracks, and we have this situation existing in our society where the highflyers are highlighted and the rest are allowed to fall through the cracks.
“We need to be more inclusive in terms of letting people know that we are looking after everyone. I know it is good to produce a Rihanna, but what about the others?” he asked.
Paul called for an educational system that comes up with strategies to deal with rising crime, and suggested that the current leadership of the trade unions failed to recognize the critical role that teacher played in shaping the character of the country’s youths.
“I find it incredible that educators cannot understand that they have a responsibility in creating better values for our youth. If they do not understand that, I think it is unfortunate at this time. When I listen to the leadership of our unions I do not know if they recognize that in the past what made our society strong was the fact that the teachers actually helped to stabilize the values of the students.
The root of the crime that we are experiencing is based on the fact that we give our youth unreasonable expectations. They come out of school attaining in some cases little academic success. In the area of marketable skills we do not teach them enough and based on these deficiencies they are feeling frustrated. We do not assuage that frustration when we give them the impression that all is lost. We need to develop programmes to let the youth know that all is not lost,” the MP contended.
Paul argued that the political directorate could not fight crime alone, and called on the church to play its part in saving the island’s youth.
“I think the churches in our communities need to stand up and deal with the issue of crime. It makes no sense for us to think that the Government can do it all.”
At the same time he advised the young people against becoming consumed by adversity and stressed that success was seldom achieved at the first attempt at a goal.
The rise in gun crime has prompted concerns from business, church and civil society leaders, as well as Members of Parliament on both the Government and Opposition sides.
And speaking at a news conference last week, acting Commissioner of Police Tyrone Griffith disclosed that officers of the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) had recovered 33 high-powered guns so far for the year, including Tec-9, a self loading semi- automatic pistol; .380, .40, .45 and 9mm. pistols. Additionally, Griffith blamed most of the gun-related violence on gangs.
“From a law enforcement perspective, these gunfights are results of feuds between rival groups where there is a common denominator in that of illegal drug activity being at the core of the disputes.”
The Commissioner also gave his assurance that police were doing everything in their power to bring the situation under control.
“The strategy going forward is to continue reinforcing the strategies that exist in that we are ensuring that every gun-related case that is reported to us, and that we become aware of, we are going to be assiduous in ensuring that we get to the bottom and bringing those persons responsible to justice,” Griffith maintained.
Among the strategies being employed by the RBPF is the “stop-and-search”, which some residents claim is illegal.
However, Assistant Superintendent of Police David Welch has defended the practice, saying it was not new.
“We are engaging in these exercises over time. Sometimes it may not be as intense as what was seen [of late] but these are continuing and person ought not to be alarmed at these spot checks. All it is, is that police officers are engaging motorists on our roads and enquiring of them, obviously of their particulars etc, and all it is, is that we area asking motorist to comply with police officers,” Welch told Barbados TODAY this evening.
He described the practice as a “tool” that the RBPF used occasional, and assured the public that it would continue to employ strategies “that we believe would suit the current situation relative to the rise in crime and stop and search is one of these tools” that the force would use to combat rising crime.
“When ever a police officer stops a vehicle the police officer would request of the driver to search the vehicle. It is not every vehicle that we do search but we would ask for us to search the vehicle.”
Welch warned that the public would “see more of [this]” and called on residents to comply with the directions of police officers.