Chairman of the September 3rd Foundation, David Comissiong, yesterday questioned whether schools, churches and even politicians were failing the Barbadian society when it came to addressing issues of violence.
He posed the query shortly before midday while addressing a gathering in Heroes Square there to commemorate the death of six young women in a store on Tudor Street, the City, which was fire bombed three years ago by two young men attempting to rob the business.
“What do we need to do to create a Barbadian social ethos, a culture in which we no longer produce men and women who are so alienated from their fellow Barbadians, who are so lacking in empathy with their fellow Barbadians, who are so bereft of any sense of connection with their fellow Barbadians that they are capable of doing the unspeakable acts that we have seen played out time and time again in Barbados.
“So we want this occasion to be one of self-reflection as well. What responsibility do our churches have for creating the kind of positive nurturing and nourishing society to create healthy men and women. We want churches that preach that prosperity gospel for example, are you giving people a correct estimation of human and social worth.
We want to ask our school system – are you not failing too many of our young people, making them feel that they are less than appreciated; making them feel that there is little hope or little of a future for them? We want to say to our politicians that we live in an age where values of cynicism and self-interest are foist upon young people. So when you send your agents on election day into communities to offer young people $100 bills for their votes, aren’t you augmenting that cynicism, that individualism, that selfishness, that ethos?”
He questioned of parents as well whether inflicting undue criticism on their children was not creating in young people a sense of alienation.
“When we leave communities to fester in inter-generational poverty, where we reduce households to poverty and stressfulness, aren’t we creating a dysfunctional environment to foster and nurture our young people? The point is all of us need to reflect on this issue,” he said, adding that it was not simply a law enforcement matter.
While there was a role for better policing and more community policing with an improved judicial system, Comissiong said that violence concerned every segment of society and as such the day’s activities should be used to remember for all victims of violence.
In his prayer for the nation, Wayne Onkphra Wells too questioned whether self-analysis was not needed, noting that if the society continued doing the same thing, it could only reap the same reward.
“Teach, as all the agencies of socialisation, from the Government, to the church, the schools, to the businesses, the families, lead the inward search oh God, that we can arrive at the place where we can truly call the just society of Barbados, where none will be left behind,” he prayed.
He prayed for healing of the families who still grieve for their loved ones. (LB)