EDITOR, The Tribune.
Crime continues to mar our lives in The Bahamas.
It seems that some of the commendable community programmes meant to right the many social and economic wrongs pervasive in our society in earlier times also served to weaken the spirit of self-reliance among some in our community. Too many came to believe that it was not only “life supporting needs” that are to be provided by the government, churches and civic organization but also “wants”. And, when wants are not met many resort to crime to fulfil them.
Most of us accept that the drug trafficking through our country during the 1980s is partly responsible for the breakdown of social norms in our country. Three decades later the menace has not stopped. Young men continue to kill each other. The police report that much of the violence is gang based and the business of the gangs is overwhelming drugs.
When the drug traffickers overran our country some in our community saw participating in that illegal trade as an easy path to prosperity. Social mores and conventions that traditionally shaped our civil behaviours were dropped – as easily as snake shed skin.
Respect for elders, civil and religious leaders eroded and in their place a “survival of the fittest” mentality took hold.
Increases in incidents of crime resulted in demands for more police and more courts, but not for a change in behaviours.
Children are growing up with little home supervision and personal attention.
Teachers and the school system are faulted for poor grades.
Fewer and fewer young people find their way to church where pews are filled with mothers and children signalling to young boys that men need not attend.
Traffic infractions – dangerous driving, illegal parking - are tolerated without regard for motorists or pedestrians.
Roadsides and beach and community parks are littered with the expectation that others will clean it up.
Public decorum has been abandoned.
Tourists are permitted to flaunt laws prohibiting beachwear on Bay Street and Bahamians mimic the behaviour, all without consequences.
An undercurrent of anger and unresolved conflict colours relations between individuals and segments of our community.
The anger is expressed in the stubbornly high crime numbers that blight the country.
It is urgent that we begin to address our inability to date to recover from the tragedies of the 1980s and to attain and sustain a peaceful society.
Looking for excuses and blaming someone else are untenable at this juncture.
We must reclaim personal responsibility as a national goal.
The oft repeated refrain “what is needful is lawful” is a lie. We must acknowledge that; and we must preach that.
There is no value in encouraging young people to “put it to the man” by a swindle. Deception is wrong; there is no justification for a scam.
There is merit in making money the honest way – working for it. We cannot expect to get something for nothing.
As a people we have to stop the political bickering and begin to deal with one another.
KEEPER OF THE RECORD
May 14, 2019.