Something has gone drastically wrong with Barbadian society as evidenced by the number of young people in jail, the high incidence of drug abuse and the presence of gangs in several communities.
This is the conclusion of visiting pastor Anthony Quintyne, a Barbadian living in New York, who voiced concern over “a decline in morality and the disintegration of the family structure”.
Quintyne blamed these social ills on a number of factors, including a decline in the influence of the church, which he said had been “an agent of socialization and a stabilizing force” in the country.
“Children need some kind of guidance, some kind of moral input. They need something to insulate them from what the broader society is pushing at them. They are not getting guidance in the home and they are not getting it in the church because they are not encouraged to attend church anymore by their parents. In the past if children did not get guidance in the home, they received it in the church at Sunday School,” Quintyne told Barbados TODAY at the Carrington Village Wesleyan Holiness Church on Welches Road, St Michael.
The religious leader lamented: “If children are having children and parents are not trained or disciplined and the extended family of grandparents and aunts are just as young, that is a recipe for disaster.”
He recommended a rebirth of the family structure as the answer to the problem, noting that at an earlier period of the island’s history, grandmothers and even aunts and uncles assisted in shaping the personalities of the younger members of the family.
“The family structure needs to be rebuilt across the country [and] the church needs to be included in the rebuilding process. The church is a support structure as well,” the pastor said.
Quintyne is accompanied on the trip by his wife, Susan, who was one of the lead singers of the Grammy Award winning gospel group, The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir.
In a brief interview with Barbados TODAY she described how she connected with her three children through her book, Love Letters to My Children, which she described as an outgrowth of the concerns she had as they were about to become adults.
“There were some things I never said to them that I wanted to say to them and it ended up coming out in the form of letters that actually started as emails I would have sent to them. I basically compiled those emails into a book,” Susan Quintyne explained.