Local neighbourhood watch programmes and residents associations were urged to unite in the interest of national security.
Radio journalist Stetson Babb, speaking as chairman of the Graeme Hall Residents’ Association and Neighbourhood Watch, made the call as the new body launched at the Maurice King Sports Complex on Sunday.
Crime in the Graeme Hall area has been low over the years, Babb said, but he told the modest gathering that no citizen is excluded from the ongoing scourge of crime and violence.
In the presence of nearly a dozen police officers, Babb encouraged residents not to view the worst and most violent manifestations of society as only limited to certain individuals and communities.
“Barbados is too small for that, too interconnected and too interrelated.
“I propose that we seek to establish a national coalition of residence associations and neighbourhood watches that don’t just function as disparate entities, but as a network of active and activist communities that shall support and assist law enforcement and be a catalyst for initiatives at the national level that build strong, positive communities.”
While promoting the Graeme Hall Neighbourhood Watch as being integral in pursuing the residents’ common interest, he insisted that the nation’s economic and societal challenges required a collective anti-crime response.
Babb said: “We cannot and must not import and copy the worst values and attitudes of other places. We must cooperate with, aid and assist the authorities in the fight not just to solve crime but also to prevent crime.
“Each of us, accepting our individual responsibility as citizens to act, to assist and contribute and not be made bystanders. That is the call to duty for each of us today as residents of Graeme Hall and beyond, but also as residents of a nation.
“Beyond any economic turbulence or fiscal challenges, is a crisis of culture and values that represents an existential threat to our traditional ways of life. This was traditionally characterised by an abiding commitment to and respect for the value of life, decency, honesty, thrift and hard work.”
The veteran journalist and Graeme Hall resident also pledged the community’s support to the “agencies of the state, including and especially the RBPF”, whose vital work, he said, must be assisted by right-thinking Barbadians.
RBPF Superintendent Elfine Moore meanwhile underscored the central role of community policing in the fight against crime and disorder and praised Graeme Hall residents for their commitment.
She said: “I am honoured to be among you and it gives me great pleasure to know that you are launching your neighbourhood watch. Kudos to you, this is one of the better decisions you have made in the group.”