A new study shows that Barbadians are deeply concerned about the level of violence “creeping into society” and are anxious to see it halted as soon as possible.
The finding is contained in the Barbados at 50: National Values Assessment, details of which were released this afternoon at the Sagicor Cave Hill School of Business.
It shows that violence is the number one worry for Barbadians, followed by crime and gangs, drug abuse and guns.
Barbadians are also concerned about the infiltration of American culture on the society, the focus on materialism, the rejection of hard work as well as a seeming “laid-backness” and entitlement within the society.
The national survey, conducted by the Special Studies Unit of the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies (SALISES) between January and March of this year, captured the views of more than 1,000 respondents, representing a wide cross-section of Barbadians.
Respondents also highlighted intolerance, adoption of other cultures, gossiping and substance abuse among values which they said the country had not lost, but needed to quickly discard.
When it came to those values they wanted the society to hold on to, respondents said being loyal to family was most important, followed by being thrifty, being hard-working, showing courage and being hospitable.
However, in this category being charitable, being responsible for their actions, being tolerant towards different beliefs, being modest and being forgiving were less important, based on the responses.
The survey also targeted educational institutions, including sixth forms, the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic and the University of the West Indies.
In addition to assessing values, the survey also sought to establish how they have changed over time.
The top three areas where increases were seen over time were with having material possessions, owning a vehicle and having social networks while the greatest declines were seen in terms of respecting older generations, knowing your neighbours and obeying the law.
Limited change was observed in terms of having clean surroundings, being independent of others, having a job and buying local goods.
However, while having a job is still very important to Barbadians, marriage is not. Being Religious was also rated as moderately important.
Director of SALISES Professor Don Marshall also made a point of commenting on how Barbadians viewed the issue of tolerance.
He explained that while “we might be tolerant of people with alternative lifestyles
. . . that’s not to say we are embracing them.
“So tolerance in one sense may appear to be a value to engender and embolden, but at the same time tolerance is arms length that otherizes other people and just gives them respect by way of tolerating them.
“Maybe that’s not the way the society should go,” he added.