A national consultation is being planned this month in an attempt to unearth the root causes of the social unrest that seems to have a firm grip on a segment of the country’s young generation, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart announced Tuesday night.
In his contribution to the debate on the Magistrate’s Court (Amendment) Bill 2016, Stuart said the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports would organize the discussion.
The Prime Minister revealed little else about the planned discourse, but it was clear his focus was on the youth, who he said believed there was no verifiable way to prove what was right or wrong and felt they were free to do as they pleased.
“We are seeing this behaviour in all of its nakedness today. All of us in this House of Assembly are of a generation that still do something called a moral calculus. If you are going to do something you are going to ask yourself, ‘is it right or is wrong? Should I do this or should I not do it?’ We do this because we have been socialized to do an ethical or moral calculus as part of our everyday lives.
“Unfortunately, we now have a segment of our young generation across the Western World uninfluenced by any of those considerations and who ask one question: what is in this for me now? They do not want to know if it is right or whether it is wrong. In fact, rightness or wrongness is determined exclusively by what they want to achieve now,” Stuart explained.
The country’s leader added that of “such a caste of mind is the armed robber, of such a caste of mind is the rapist, of such a caste of mind is the man who wields a gun to achieve his objective”.
Stuart said that is what Barbados was dealing with in terms of certain elements in a certain cohort of our society.
He revealed this was why he had asked Minister of Youth Affairs, Culture and Sports Stephen Lashley to hold a national consultation on the society later this month to discuss the problems that had surfaced in Barbados in recent times, but that have been on the horizon for the last 25 years.
“The young men and young women we are talking about were not spirited into Barbados under the cover of night when we were all asleep. They were born of our men and women, they were nurtured in our homes, educated to the extent that they were interested in our schools, some even went to some of our churches, and they were socialized in our communities. They are a reflection of our failures as a society because we allowed ourselves to be so consumed with other things that we lost sight of the deficits that were overtaking these young people.”
The Member of Parliament for St Michael South lamented the fact that crass consumerism and materialism were eating away at the society, adding that a man’s value in society today is determined by the material items he has accumulated in life.