Barbadians are rightly concerned about a rise in violent crime, specifically with guns. Those in charge see it as a duty to paper over concerns because it is about maintaining calm in the society. Overall crime statistics may be trending satisfactorily for those whose job description should depend BUT there is is rising concern by the public about violent crime, specifically gun crime. A significant rise in the number of murders since 2018 has caused tongues to wag.
There are some issues we have to regard of national importance and work together to solve. While working together there must be leadership at every level to ensure the change desired is achieved. Do we have the right leaders in place as the Attorney General, Commissioner of Police, Chief Justice, Director of Public Prosecutions, Director of Welfare department, Director of Probation department, Dodds, GIS, Minister of Education – the list is not exhaustive. This is on the enforcement and rehabilitation side of the equation to curb acts of crime; recidivism.
There is more we are obligated to do. A chain is as strong as the weakest link. Each link represents YOU, YOU and YOU. We see every day the wheelies, running traffic lights, littering the environment, flouting of government’s financial rules, acceptance of monies from those in the shadows to the campaigns of politicians and so on. We know this, we see it , we condone it by turning a blind eye, then we complain.
Barbadians are happy to cede the awesome civic responsibility to politicians- we are delinquent as parents, teachers, policemen AND politicians and expect the police force, government and said other delinquent players to play clean-up. There is no doubt citizens expect if laws are broken the authorities must ensure justice is meted out swiftly. What we want as well is for deviant and dysfunctional behaviour that leads to increase crime and specifically gun crime to be arrested as well. We have to hold agencies responsible- this includes GOVERNMENT- for enforcement ACCOUNTABLE. We have to hold ourselves accountable in order to be guardians of our fate.
In much the same way garrison behaviour is a way of life in some neighbouring islands, we are seeing a similar trend of behaviour in Barbados with violent crime centred in depressed communities. In the lead in to the 2018 general election concern was expressed by some members of the public about then Opposition Leader Mia Mottley seen in the presence of questionable characters on the campaign trail. Again some questioned why questionable characters were invited to the opening of parliament. It has become too blatant for many although it is known that the relationship between the criminal element and public officials have been blurred for a long time. The chickens are coming home to roost. We have reached the tipping point. There is no moral leadership.
The Barbados we romanticize is no more. Like community spread of infection caused by the COVID 19 virus, so too we have community spread caused by crime. It is why the vacuous calls by politicians for citizens to give up the bad boys and girls will yield little if any positive results. The underworld economy is well managed and families and communities depend on the economic activities attached to the arrangement. In the same way extra income is derived from kitchen gardens, baking and other type activities so too is criminal activity for too many.
The recent murder of a police officer by a band of robbers in the North of the island is an example of today’s problem. The horse has bolted and it will require a long term commitment to solving the problem at every level of our small society.
Will the real leaders raised wunna hands – that means YOU, YOU and YOU.