Speaker of the House of Assembly Michael Carrington has warned that Government alone cannot resolve this island’s crime problem.
Addressing a Democratic Labour Party (DLP) Christ Church South branch meeting at the St Lawrence Primary School, Christ Church yesterday evening, Carrington insisted that society as a whole had a major part to play in stemming the recent wave of gun related offences and shooting deaths.
In fact, he suggested that the now ruling party had made a mistake back in 1993 when it had campaigned under the leadership of David Thompson on a platform of crime and violence.
“We can’t just pretend that there is this issue with crime and violence and [say that] it does not concern me . . . that it concerns just the Government, it does not concern you, that it concerns the Opposition. As far as I am concerned, this thing concerns each and every one of us,” he told the gathering of party faithful, while pointing out that “we still have problems of crime and violence”.
“From where I am sitting, the problem goes beyond just someone taking up a gun, or someone taking up a knife [and] resorting to violence. I think it is a reflection of what is going on in society,” Carrington stressed.
He further pointed out that the late South African president and renowned freedom fighter Nelson Mandela had said that “politicians are made from the mud of society of which they come.
“I am saying that that is true, [but] I am also saying that what happens in the society, in the same way that politicians are made from the mud, each member of the society comes from that same mud and therefore what happens in society is a reflection of each and every member of society,” he added.
His comments came against the backdrop of 27 murders here so far this year, including 21 that were gun-related.
Carrington, an attorney at law, cautioned while there was a tendency to compare standards in Barbados to those of countries like Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, some of the problems experienced here, were not major issues in these neighbouring societies.
“Some of the smut that you hear in the ZR vans in Barbados, you would not hear on [the vans in these other countries] and I have travelled on public transport . . . . You wouldn’t hear it because the adults on that form of transportation would say, ‘look don’t play that. Take it off’.
“You have to ask yourself why is it in Barbados that adults cannot say to a ZR driver or a ZR conductor stop playing that nasty music . . . stop playing whatever it is that you are playing. Why is it that we can’t say stop doing that? Why is it in Barbados that adults cannot stand up on public transport and say what you are doing is wrong, it is illegal . . . . That’s what we have to ask ourselves and that is at the root of the problem right now of crime and violence,” Carrington said.
The St Michael West representative said crime associated with illegal drugs had left uncertainty in people’s minds that there was an escalation of crime and violence though he pointed out that this was not reflected in the current crime statistics.