The word is that crime in Barbados is down, but murders are up. The cynic might proffer out of this that there is little point to reporting any serious offences against the law if the chances of facing your own demise for it are high. The 16 per cent reduction in crime reported by Acting Commissioner of Police Tyrone Griffith recently could therefore present an image other than is settling –– as we are sure was intended.
An interesting case for reflection and analysis; but let us not linger here just now.
Yesterday, our murder figures reached 20 –– within the past eight months –– when a father shot four times by an assassin on the beach, and before his very child, succumbed to his injuries at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital last night.
The “unknown” killer remains at large, after eluding a group of chasing men.
We make no effort to paint a picture of the circumstances surrounding this Fitts Village, St James tragedy in which the 31-year-old Nepaul Trotman lost his life; but we are reminded of the police’s position of blaming the illicit drug trade for fuelling these current execution-style killings, and the contorted impression some members of the public might conjure up.
There is no question about illicit drug dealers having their own turf wars and taking out one another. Nor of their soldiers being hit upon by their own bosses for pilfering and the breaking of established codes. And so, while some of us will take comfort in the “killing out” among themselves, there is the circumstance to consider that assassins will hit on anyone, including law-abiding citizens who may have provided the very police with information on the said drug racket.
That is why we tread carefully with the platter the police chief has offered us, that “this violence is not directed to the public at large, but rather to a restricted group which engages in a particular type of behaviour that is driven by the drug culture”. The young and the restless, especially those between the ages of 15 and 30, know no boundaries; they are wanderlusts of sorts!
The point is we should seek no satisfaction from these “restricted” shootings, and definitely no security in the notion that the more the gunplay, the fewer the drug dealers and movers. We as families, as a people, as a nation –– as the very police will tell you they are –– must be concerned about all these killings; these demises of our very young.
We have been advised by the police that there are certain areas to which the criminal element have gravitated and for which there is a greater urgency of social intervention. We need to point out that community effort begins with every single individual.
And individuals, if they will be good citizens, must first have tasted of the virtues of good upbringing. We are not unmindful of the fact, regrettably, that many a parent in current times has had good cause to depart from such because they themselves simply were inculcated with none. In many a case there has been no exemplary conduct or practice to pass on.
We understand Acting Commissioner Griffith’s suggestion about social intervention; but it will not succeed without the cooperation of parents and guardians. One can hardly fault the church for seeking to play that remedial and preventative role in the nurturing of our young minds, if so-called role models publicly diss houses of worship, seeing no place for them in modern society.
It seems we all –– including the powers that be, public personalities and the influential –– have a responsibility, even for our own safety and peace of mind, to help mould our young’s minds towards civility, comity, propriety, decorous advancement, and our continued civilization.
This ruthless and brutal taking of life by the gun, and by the young, that would engulf us just simply will not do. Beyond the outrage, and righteous indignation, that will bring us diddly-squat, we need a reformation of thinking about what is appropriate and uplifting –– especially among our young. Burying our heads in the sand –– brains and all –– against this dire social need will not relieve us of the naked belligerence and bloodshed.
Acting Commissioner Griffith would yet give us the assurance Barbados remains safe, even if we must be conscious of our surroundings and not expose our property or ourselves to the potential robber and hitman.
By our deeds we shall be judged; not by our words!