The Grenville Phillips Column – Eyes Wide Shut
Solving crime in Barbados is analogous to a man sitting next to a functioning water faucet and complaining about being thirsty. However, rather than turning on the faucet, he encourages others to complain with him.
We already know what to do about crime, but we refuse to do it because it is so much easier to simply complain, and commission meaningless studies to make it appear as if we are doing something useful. We have tolerated the collateral damage for decades, and watched the anguish of crime victims, but we have chosen to do nothing meaningful except talk and complain – why?
We know the root cause of why our students gravitate to a life of crime. It is primarily because we have designed a school curriculum to make most graduates leave school with no marketable skills.
We know why our school-leavers gravitate to a life of crime. It is primarily because we have accepted a method of teaching that reinforces the lie that learning complex information is reserved for the few, and that the majority will forever be excluded from that few.
Solutions Barbados has advised both administrations on how to rearrange the school curriculum, so that the easier-to-learn, more exciting practical aspects of subjects can be taught before the more complex theoretical aspects. Therefore, the entire curriculum will still be taught, but in a way that benefits all students, not just the few. However, complaining requires significantly less effort.
We seem not to care about the damage that we have done to the self-esteem of most of our school leavers, leaving them vulnerable to being led into a life of crime, drugs and prostitution, because they believe that there is no realistic alternative to acquiring wealth.
We can easily find the drugs and guns if we wanted to, but evidently, we do not want to. How else can we explain how the least educated school drop-outs can find these illicit things with minimal effort, but our highly trained experts and highly paid consultants claim to have no clue whatsoever. The simple answer is that they are terrified of exposing what they are likely to find, so they prefer to play it safe and see nothing, rather than suffer the consequences of being courageous and honest.
I cannot blame them for being terrified, but they are solely responsible for their dishonesty. Anyone who wants to know what the real Barbados is like under the curtain, need only start a political party and run in the next general election, or listen to those who have done so.
The only persons who can meaningfully address Barbados’ crime situation are our Members of Parliament. They will only do so if they choose to. For decades, they have chosen not to, and have instead pacified an alarmed public with effective speeches. Sometimes, the police would be allowed to make examples of a few token criminals.
Solutions Barbados’ policy on the symptoms of crime is to make every offense carry a fine of 10 times its value. This cost is to be used to compensate the victims and pay for the criminal justice system. The criminal justice system is designed to serve offenders. Therefore, they should pay for their service.
Those who plead guilty should not have to pay for a full-service, but a settlement of 3 times the value of the offence. Those who cannot afford to pay their fines will work them off in providing labour to the nation. For example, in restoring the Empire Theatre, and other state properties. Imprisonment is to be reserved for violent offenders and those who choose not to attend work.
Like all effective solutions, these are simple, but not simplistic. History has shown that simple solutions tend to be initially opposed, but through persistence, the public may eventually benefit. The unnecessary delays tend to be caused by a small group of individuals who remain in their armchairs, loudly complain, and criticise any measure that either risks their sociopathic emotional high from watching others suffer, or their prominent positions.
Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and President of Solutions Barbados. He can be reached at NextParty246@gmail.com