There is an uncomfortable sense that things are falling apart here, and if we are not careful the peaceful and placid paradise that we call home could be lost in the twinkling of an eye.
Equally disconcerting is that we will not be able to say we did not see it coming because the signs are being shot at us virtually every single day.
Unless, of course, we have been sleeping through this or we adopt the posture that is popular with the ostrich.
We might not have noticed, but even as the country continues to crumble under the weight of a seemingly unending economic malaise, few of us are talking about the economy these days.
And it is not because we have given up and chosen to wallow in self-pity.
In recent weeks the conversation has turned to crime and safety, as gunmen appear to be running out of control. In the last month alone, five people were shot to death, 21 have died by the gun this year, and we have registered 25 murders so far. That’s more than the 22 for all of last year and on track to surpass the 31 recorded two years ago, unless something is done now to curb the scourge.
Add to these the unknown number of shootings that do not result in death, and it is easy to see why so many of us are worried that beautiful Barbados has lost its innocence.
Amid the shock and dismay about this frightening travesty, lies fear for our safety. And in times like these, we need the calming voice of our leader to reassure us that
Government is taking control of the situation and everything will be alright.
It is what leaders do in times of crisis. It is what people expect in dangerous times.
But while the criminals run amok, leaving families in mourning and an increasing number of us in fear, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart is yet to address the nation on the crime situation, to outline his plans to regain control of a situation that is quickly getting out of control.
What does this mean for our little paradise? And what does it portend for a people who have become used to firm, decisive, reliable and rational leaders who take us into their confidence?
Aren’t the alarm bells ringing loudly enough across our beautiful Barbados? Or is it that Mr Stuart is not hearing them? When will he take note? When will he talk to us, assure us, calm our fears?
After the next killing? The next shooting death? The next murder? Or the next? Or the next?
True, he is just one man, but he is the man who offered to keep us safe when he took the position of Prime Minister.
And now his silence, his utter silence, leaves us wondering what is going on. His
Government’s inaction will likely embolden the troublemakers.
Following the latest murders – a double homicide in Marley Vale, St Philip this week–
Mr Stuart, who lives a short distance away at Coles Terrace, visited the scene. It is instructive that he chose to say noting, except that he would comment at a later date
Maybe he will wait until he addresses the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) conference this weekend. It is not unusual for him to speak to us through the tunnel of his party.
However, it is not enough for Mr Stuart to parade before party faithful – the last poll said there was only 11 per cent support for the DLP – to spell out his plans for fighting crime. It is not enough that he should shout his message of comfort from the top of the partisan pulpit. It is not enough that he should speak to all of the people through just some of the people.
This is not leadership. This is the theatre of the absurd, the stage of parody that devalues the very leadership the country needs at this time.
While the Prime Minister remains silent on the escalating crime, we feel aimless. We feel rudderless. We feel lost. Meanwhile, the criminals are shooting their way towards a record number of murders.
We need to hear from Mr Stuart, and until we do, he will forgive us for believing that we now live in a kakistocracy. And we deserve better.