Former Commissioner of Police Orville Durant is warning that if more attention is not paid to strengthening and stabilizing the family unit, Barbados’ crime situation will get worse.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an award luncheon recognising his 37 years of outstanding service to the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) Durant was also adamant that the country was now suffering from years of neglect in addressing the root cause of the current problem of crime and violence.
“Any government or society that does not pay sufficient attention to the family will suffer. And if we don’t respond now to the problems which are facing families in Barbados, then it will simply get worse. That is a situation which I cautioned about years ago…and I am expecting that at some point people will pick it up,” said the trained criminologist and attorney-at-law.
Durant, who was also president of the YMCA for many years, noted that increasing crime and violence were taking place not only at a time of economic challenges, but when the social problems were enormous and very serious.
“Lots of poor people are struggling in a number of ways….and that struggle is passed on to the children, but the children reflect it in a more aggressive manner than the older people did,” he said.
However, he expressed optimism about the future for Barbados and assured residents and visitors that there was no need to panic at this stage.
“There is no reason to give up hope. Just pay attention to the family. Start, not only with the child, but with the parents…the environment from which that child comes. You start with the family in its full sense and you are going eliminate a lot of the difficulties that we face,” the former commissioner contended.
He said any other strategies would have to be done over the long term.
“But it is not hopeless, not by any means…and with the good leadership in the country, I believe that we would be able to overcome them…and when I say leadership, I am not only talking about political leadership. I am talking about the leadership that is to be found in several areas of social activity,” Durant stressed.
The 84-year-old ex-top cop contended that if those in authority decided to act on any of the various solutions offered to them directly or indirectly to effectively tackle crime, they would have to be properly coordinated.
“People are telling us what we should be doing, but we are just ignoring them. But the important thing, apart from just doing it, you need to coordinate it…because if it is not coordinated properly in the society, people would just go in different directions. But that is all we need,” he suggested.
The former commissioner of police has cautioned that even a coordinated response to the present social problems must have the family’s welfare as priority. “Until you are able to give the kind of support that families should be getting, you are not going to make very much improvement,” Durant emphasized.
Turning his attention to Government’s new medical marijuana policy, he urged the Mia Mottley administration to resist rushing into this venture.
He said there should be much greater research and consideration given to this especially the social implications with specific reference to any fall out from crime.
At the same time, Durant acknowledged the benefits of marijuana for medicinal purposes.