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What malady stalks this our fair land!

What malady stalks this our fair land!

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SOMETHING is fundamentally wrong in this land we call “Home of the Blessed”. We are drifting but to where? We sometimes forget how small we are, that only about 110, 000 people make up this nation, a post-colonial one we are proud to say!

It is now the middle of May and we have already experienced 17 homicides. The scenarios are frightening. The body of a young girl who should really be in school found stuffed in a bag and discarded like excrement! A young girl with seeming potential!

“ “There’ rests ‘her’ head upon the lap of Earth, A youth to Fortune and to Fame unknown. Fair Science frown’d not on ‘her’ humble birth, And Melancholy mark’d ‘her’ for her own” (Borrowed from Elegy Written from the Country Church Yard). I do not know the individual, but we are talking about a 17 year old, who died in a way we prefer not to think about! To speak about “multiple sharp injuries” is enough to feed our imagination!

I have highlighted one individual but there are others that we must not forget. It is always easy to focus on the police especially when we know that currently working their way through the court system are charges for the theft of weapons and ammunition from the Georgetown police station with at least one ‘former’ police constable being involved. But the administration of Justice also has to be looked at since the manner in which some matters are addressed call for attention.

But we also have to go beyond the police and examine our society. In any situation of conflict these days, including simple arguments, the first option is to pull or find a gun and shoot, or anything nearby that can be used as a weapon. Persons around, instead of trying to assist in resolving the matter, are more inclined to pull out their phones and capture in video form the proceedings to be put on social media. Our Society is getting more and more divided. Politics appears to be at the centre of this as individuals try to place themselves in a position to secure whatever the politicians who control the nation’s purse are willing to hand out. Unemployment is extremely high.

This, of course means high poverty rates, but we treat the level as a national secret which has to be carefully guarded. We put a lot of emphasis on providing opportunities for foreigners to become involved in projects that can be better done by nationals if we only put the necessary structures in place. We prefer to emphasize the number of potential job opportunities than to provide entrepreneurial opportunities. The jobs being offered are at most not well paid and far from satisfying.

But what is stated above is only one aspect of the problem. We boast about how well educated we are becoming as nationals. But what does education mean? Is it only about getting certificates?

What is badly needed is a conversation about what we mean when we speak about our ‘so-called education revolution.’ I notice that some schools are planning protests against the state of criminal activity. This must be applauded but what is expected from these initiatives? It is not a question of us and them.

The schools also have a part to play. They have to recognise that education is more than facilitating and allowing students to get as many certificates as possible. It also has to do with how students live and interact with each other, and how they function in the society.

Our conversation must now focus on the causes of crime. We will never tackle this problem until we get to the causes.

I have simply listed some things to be looked at but there is much more. We have a societal problem.

Let us focus on this!

Dr Adrian Fraser is a social commentator and historian

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