CRIME, VIOLENCE NO LONGER “ALIEN By Lesroy W. Williams I continue to reflect on the word “alien”because I hear it used repeatedly by those in high and ordinary places that crime and violence are alien to us here in St. Kitts and Nevis. Although I understand the gist of what is being said, I believe that that word in the current context is anachronistic. Maybe once ago crime and violence was “alien’to our Federation because of a low incident rate but that is no longer the case. Crime and violence are now too familiar; their faces much uglier; they are no longer alien, but homegrown. I can hardly think of a place now in the Caribbean or elsewhere where crime and violence are “alien”because we are so interconnected as a global village. According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, the word “alien”means belonging to or relating to another person, place or thing or relating, belonging, or owing allegiance to another country or government. The word “alien”is too ambiguous and can be misunderstood. We cannot speak of crime and violence as though it is “alien”. We have to treat it as though it is national and familial. We cannot simply blame a present or past government but we must all accept that the responsibility of curbing crime lies with each of us. Because crime and violence is no longer alien in our country, we simply cannot turn to “alien’solutions and “alien”law enforcement agencies to rescue us from our anti-social problems. Please do not get me wrong. I think that the help of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and any other foreign help is welcome because crime is global and the characteristics of crime and violence are similar in every country. However, the police in this country must come to understand the domestic situation and people much better to be able to deal with the crime upsurge. However, the real solution to our crime problems is domestic. We must be the ones to understand the psyche, attitudes and behaviours of our own people more than anyone else. The problem of gang-culture that presently bedevils the country has domestic roots although we can argue that the influences are “alien”and imported. I am a firm believer that the crime and violence upsurge is largely to be blamed on faulty parenting and a breakdown in moral and ethical values. There is nothing that will convince me otherwise. The family is the basic cell of society and healthy families will amount to healthier and wholesome communities. Train up a child in the way it should go and later on it will not depart from it. If it departs from the proper way, then the parents are not culpable. But, the problem today is that too many parents are. I do not believe that crime has its genesis in poverty either. We were poorer many years ago and yet crime was nowhere close to the level that it is today. Life was much more respected. Crime has its genesis in the heart. When people’s hearts grow cold and dark; when their consciences become dead; when they have no respect for God, others or self, then things get ugly. But people’s hearts and minds do not grow dark and cold overnight. These things fester for years and are fuelled by an atmosphere of revenge, hate and lack of forgiveness. Love, respect, prayer, forgiveness must be cultivated in our homes, schools and churches. I am not saying anything that has not been said before and I can go on and on. Crime and violence are no longer “alien’to our country. They are domestic and the solution by and large must be looked for domestically. It is time that all of us wake up!