The women’s advocacy group, the National Organization of Women (NOW) is recommending a reengineering of the education system, the family and community in order to successfully tackle crime.
Public Relations Officer for the Marsha Hinds-Layne is suggesting that there are deep rooted problems that have led to violence being endemic here.
And she is calling for a multi-faceted approach to treating the root cause of the problem.
“The problem that we are seeing in this society with crime is not a wave, it is not a crisis, it is a longitude reality that we have always had with us. We live in a society that has always been made of violence, that has always had high levels of crime against the people who built the society, and that is our reality,” Hinds-Layne said at a public forum themed Yesterday, Today, the Future: Violence in Barbados – Issues, Challenges and Solutions, held at the Barbados Workers Union, Solidarity House headquarters on Sunday night.
“The crime is a symptom but it is not the thing that we have to be able to treat. We can’t treat the crime by itself. We have to treat what it is that is causing the outcome.”
She suggested that the education system needed to focus on adequately preparing young people to properly handle feelings of frustration or aggression.
The NOW spokeswoman contended that schools must produce students who are not only intellectually competent, but emotionally intelligent as well.
“We have to pay more attention to what is known as emotional intelligence. If you are able to say ‘I am upset. I am happy. This is why. How can we fix it?’, you don’t need to resort to violence in order to be able to do that,” she said.
“If you can feel like you can write a letter, engage your government, engage your National Organization of Women [and] have a response, you become less a type of citizen who gets entrapped or who gets enamoured with alternative forms.”
However, President of Barbados Youth Action Programme Lumumba Batson argued that eliminating crime was an impossible task and the focus should instead be on reducing the scourge.
Baston, who was also a panellist, said the society needed to create alternative paths or different educational opportunities for wayward youth.
“Instead about thinking about going to school or going to college, we got a lot of youths now thinking about going to prison,” he said.
“We should try to put things in place in our communities so the youths wouldn’t be so enticed to pick up guns . . . . We can curtail it by creating jobs, creating things for the youth to do, to keep them busy, keep them away from crime. And this is something that we need to focus on.”
During her contribution, Hinds-Layne also emphasized the need for community involvement and participation, arguing that the voices of the community were not being heard by Government.
“We have removed the power of the community to be able to respond to its own needs. We tried to governize community action, so you have constituency councils . . . that would remove the power from the level of the people in the community. If we are going to strengthen community . . . then you have to have the involvement of the actual people in the community,” she stressed.
“At the governmental level, we need clear bold and forthright statements from the people who have our destiny in their hands about what it is that they are trying to do,” the NOW spokeswoman added.
Other panellists in the discussion included president of the Men’s Educational Support Association, Grantley Osbourne; former police officer Jeffery Grant; and Dr Lucille Baird of Mount Zion Ministries Inc.