Our Readers' Opinions
September 7, 2018
Who’s monitoring our airwaves?

EDITOR: I’ve long had a grieving heart when I listen to our local radio stations and I’m repeatedly shocked and appalled at the content of both the discussions held by some radio deejays and the nature of the songs that are allowed to be aired, especially at prime times. This was further confirmed this week when one internet news site indicated “wholesale denunciation of police by irresponsible commentators”.

I have long said over the past few years, the direction and trend which has been taking place with our radio broadcasting is as if persons are not accountable to any institutional laws or moral rules of conduct. Who is the governing body entrusted to monitor our local FM radio stations?

Vincentians are bombarded with content that leaves very little work for the imagination, through amplified sound systems in public service vehicles and on local live radio.

We have a nation of young people, especially young men, that are falling by the wayside. Yet there is rarely anything uplifting or encouraging coming from media personnel who should be trying to gear our young people into positive directions. Radio deejays are permitted and continue to engage in narratives that denigrate the female gender; they broadcast lyrical contents that refer to women as sex objectives and instruments for male pleasure. What are we teaching our young men and women about their bodies and relationships? Is there any wonder that others ask if a rape culture exists in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, why incidences of domestic and relationship violence are often swept under the carpet? Women are seen as objects to be owned, controlled, and used, possessed and disposed of as seen fit by the opposite sex. After the many years of struggle for women’s rights, a woman’s right to choose is often being castigated. Why are we allowing these things to further fester in our society?

Even social media pages that inform with the news, they won’t often seek to promote the many positive things that happen within our nation; instead we more often quickly hear of the last shooting, death and such the like. A nation must be informed, but how many of our island neighbours do we see engaging in this kind of strategy of negativism without balancing with the good things? For instance, many of our neighbours have a thriving tourism industry, but not many may be aware that St. Lucia had 60 homicides in 2017 and about 22 murders up to August 2018, or that St. Kitts and Nevis had 56 murders in 2016.

If Vincentians claim to love our island so much let’s do what’s right and fix the many broken bridges.

Let’s strengthen families and encourage stronger communities. While there are opportunities for training, find strategies to encourage young men to get involved so that they can become better literate, functional and productive young people. Let’s find means to invest and develop small businesses and entrepreneurship and find niche markets for our export products, in addition to buy local campaigns. Let’s train small food vendors in better handling practices, hygiene and business management, so they’re successful.

Let’s enhance opportunities to encourage our young people to obtain employment outside the borders of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Let’s strengthen rehabilitation efforts for our young offenders and persons with mental health issues to encourage their reintegration. Let’s have a single cohesive message on marijuana and stem its prevalent use. Let’s identify proven strategies to address gang warfare and discourage our young men from joining such groups and engaging in undesirable behaviours. Let’s embrace our churches and encourage young people to believe in Christ, not worship pastors, but yet to hold church leaders accountable to any infringements. Let’s engender good habits in our young people and encourage young men to respect our young women.

What should be the responsibility of the local media when it comes to education? Perhaps these are areas in which radio personnel can further educate themselves and try to positively impact on the minds of our young people. Our institutions are quickly eroding, perhaps due to development, but let’s own the responsibility to ensure that the right decisions and actions take place so that young people would not always fall short. I beg our people, be cognizant that we have a very youthful society, let’s review how we implement our policies and do what is right for the future of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.