Our Readers' Opinions
November 28, 2017
When good men do nothing

The things we condone

EDITOR: Three years ago, (and up to this day), my family and I had the misfortune of being subjected to the noxious fumes of spray-painting conducted by our next-door neighbours. This was passed off as “just business”.

After an entire year of being exposed to the poison, and being sick from waking up and going to bed in fumes, numerous complaints were lodged to the Public Health Department, who advised us to go to the police, and the police, who advised us to go to the Public Health Department. Shortly thereafter, we were labelled and slandered as being “bad-minded and jealous” by those same neighbours. Why, is anyone’s guess…

Most disturbing and absolutely disappointing, however, was the response of the police, when, one fateful night, as the entire village was engulfed, literally, in a toxic cloud of fumes, they finally turned up on the plea of another villager. I witnessed the sergeant disembark the police vehicle and approach the spray-painters, as they laughed and mocked the rest of the village. Not five minutes had gone by, when that same sergeant returned to the vehicle and declared confidently that “This is ah bad-minded thing, man. Leh we go!”

Shocked, I thought, if a sergeant in the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force could make such a stupid and reckless remark, it is of little amazement that the uneducated and the small-minded (by choice) have such sway in active communities across the country. Surely, “there is no greater tyranny than that which is perpetrated under the shield of law and in the name of justice” and what of the fact that “wise men speak because they have something to say, but fools because they have to say something.”

Is it any wonder, then, that the spray-painters have their police buddies who come by for special favours on their vehicles? So, it seems that the ones being paid to protect the constitutional rights of the people have outsourced to become legal muscle for hire.

Twenty-six years is the length of teaching service that my wife has given, in an effort to free and elevate the minds of the youth… Twenty-six years of seeing the true potential in the eyes of the future of this nation… Twenty-six years of hoping for the best, instead of planning for the worst… And after 26 years… in the words of the singer/songwriter, Tracy Chapman, “You give your lives and invariably they leave you with nothing.”

I shudder to think that she has not put in enough effort – certainly not after all the sacrifices she has made for the cause across the years. Education is a matter of choice and in order to learn, one must be teachable, which the spray-painting neighbours and the police in question certainly aren’t. Their remarks confirm that much. An uneducated people make a weak nation, and at present we are rather weak if the price of the health, safety and well-being of another is a dollar.

Here’s hoping that 26 will be the minimum number of lives that the teachers of this nation would have positively influenced to become 26 pillars of righteous, unwavering strength to lift and uphold this country. Here’s hoping that these 26 youths will grow to adulthood and take up the responsibility of being good men and women, if only to justify the words of the great parliamentarian, Edmund Burke, and later echoed by other great stalwarts: “Evil thrives [and society crumbles] when good men do nothing.”

ACD Franklyn