Today, the sixth day of the New Year and of a fresh decade, we are forced to focus on two dreaded issues – crime and suicide.
Just four days into the New Year, Barbados recorded its first murder, even as we prayed and hoped for less of the senseless bloodletting in 2020 after a record 48 murders in 2019.
But today, a man was shot in Marl Hole Gap, St Michael
It seems no matter what is said or done, the lawless and criminally minded are bent on wreaking havoc on families and society.
And Barbadians are fed up.
On our social media pages, one commenter pleaded: “Man wunna stop nuh. Pleaseeeeeee.”
Another said: “I so wish these rebels without cause would stop too. My God man. Please stop.”
A third writer added: “Barbados is better than this, not bout hey.”
We certainly have our work cut out for us if we are to stem the tide of violence that would sweep over us.
Hardly can anyone point fingers at the Royal Barbados Police Force and its efforts to arrest the scourge with scarce resources.
In any case, we accept that this issue requires tough decisive action on all fro– Government must invest the resources and support the most effective crime strategies while continuing to provide opportunities for those likely to stray from the straight and narrow path to a life of crime.
We expect stern action from the judiciary.
And then there is the rest of us. We need to stop upholding crime and lawlessness in our neighbourhoods, our homes, our circles. If we fail to take a stand against crime, one day the pain and the tragedy that we turn a blind eye to could very well end up on our doorsteps.
Regrettably, we also have to address the issue of suicide.
This morning we woke up to the news that Constable Ryan Coppin was found hanging at a house just shy of a month after Shamar Bascombe took his own life.
There really is no room for the whispers and gossip about who takes their own life and why.
Any incident of suicide is sad and alarming, for no other reason than that life is simply too precious to lose.
Admittedly, suicide is an uncomfortable topic for us to discuss but we must if only to save a life.
The fact is it continues to plague people across the spectrum with devastating and long-lasting impact.
Experts have described suicide as a public health threat as any other disease that has been unfolding for many decades.
We have to let those struggling with depression or other mental illness know that they aren’t alone and they can access the help they need.
We are aware that initiatives aimed at suicide prevention are primarily led by mental health professionals and non-profit groups.
Perhaps the time has come for the establishment of national unit which would provide a range of resources and services aimed at preventing suicide and addressing broader mental health issues.
This new decade should not see us struggling to come to terms with these twin social ills which require not only official action but our personal attention.