I read somewhere that Prime Minister Douglas said he would bring in help from outside to aid in the fight against crime.
I cannot divine where in the world this help will come from but I hope it won’t be from Trinidad where the Prime Minister is at his wits end trying to figure out how to stop Trinidadian youths from slaughtering each other. The last count I heard was three hundred and sixteen (316) for the year already.
The Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago is so confused about crime within his borders that he is on the verge of declaring a State of Emergency in Trinidad. So I don’t think any crimefighter from the twin-island republic can effectively advise Dr. Douglas on crime in St. Kitts and Nevis.
It can’t be Jamaica either. That place is so bad that the criminals are shooting down even top police officers. Nobody escapes their deadly fire. I can only imagine how many bodyguards have to guard the Jamaican Prime Minister around the clock.
It definitely can’t be a Guyanese. The criminals down there are bad, out of control. Their gangs are organized like little armies. Their police have their hands full trying to track down some of them as they strike with their deadly force and melt into the bush.
As a matter of fact, some years ago when we had crisis of crime we invited a Guyanese to lead our Police Force. What a mess he made. Unaccustomed to our terrain, he had to depend on his subordinates to figure our what to do. In the 1993 post election riots, when bottles and stones were flying all over Church Street, the fellow looked as bewildered as if he was in Guyana trying to figure out who was the latest mugger to choke and rob the tourist.
What about a Bajan? Many years ago we used to have Barbadian heads of the Police Force. They used to do a good job in those relatively peaceful times. One of them even used his experience here to propel him to Commissioner of Police in Barbados.
But that was then. Now is different. No Bajan Police can improve our crime situation. For just as it is in St. Kitts, so it is in Bimshire. Crime among the youth has escalated beyond the ability of traditional law enforcement strategies.
It is the same throughout the Caribbean. Crime is rampant. In the Caribbean, the basis of economic development is education and the islands have built their educational strategies on academic success. Those youth who have academic gifts are idolized and nurtured to form the vanguard of our economic upward movement. They are offered free training to become doctors, lawyers accountants, engineers, graduate teachers and para-professionals.
Their qualifications place them at the apex of both our economic and social system. They earn a lot of money, they build huge houses, they flash high lifestyles, and they distance themselves from the rest of society.
What the education system did for them it failed to do for their peers who were less academically gifted. For many years the education system, designed for economic leadership, failed to do anything much for the lower orders and allowed a significant segment of our society to drift into disillusionment and disenchantment at what society had dished out as their share.
These less endowed looked across at their endowed peers and understandably envied them for their high lifestyles. But since they did not have the brains to be lawyers, doctors, accountants, bankers and engineers, since their heads could not hold university degrees, they had to find ways to bridge the gap and catch up with their betters.
They want cell phones, computers and digital cameras like their betters and since they can’t afford them, they steal them. As they grow older they want new cars like their betters so to acquire a new car, the best thing that they think they should do is traffic in drugs.
Drug trafficking inevitably leads to turf wars by gangs, weapons with which to fight. So they have to get guns which are the most effective settlers of disputes.
The problems are Caribbean-wide, worldwide. Not even people from the FBI, Scottland Yard or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police can solve these problems for us. The last Englishman we had here not many years ago left the crime situation worse than he met it. He may have had good intentions but he did not understand the terrain and he could not fix something if he did not understand how it was constructed.
To make a long story short, no outside expertise can solve our criminality, and the Minister of National Security is mistaken if he allows anybody to so advise him. We have right here in our island all the apparata that are necessary to fight crime effectively. We have schools where the youth are nurtured; let the schools become mindful of their duty to monitor their students, not just the bright students, all their students, throughout their school careers.
We have youth departments and sports departments. These departments need to come together, coordinate their activities, focus their collective eye on the conduct and behavior of our youth.
We have an army with a cadet corps which is supposed to inculcate leadership and good values in our youth.
All of these agents can bring healing and peace to our country but they have to be mindful of the seriousness of the problem and they have to be aware of the role which they can play together
If the Prime Minister brings in a stranger, whoever it is won’t be able to function without these local agents. The local agents must work together, bring up their side.
If I had the job, I would advise Dr. Douglas to put all these agents – Education, Youth, Sport, Community Affairs under one Minister, so that this minister would deal with the whole spectrum of youth in our country. One Ministry would be in touch with all youth at every stage of their development. He will see them at school, at play, in their neighborhoods, in their clubs. He will be able to track them down wherever they are.
If the Prime Minister wants to give me the job I will take it and do it for free with the guarantee that in the short span of two years the crime situation in St. Kitts would improve significantly.
Notice I have said nothing about jail or the gallows as these would become non issues of the various resources which we already have are used at the optimum for maximum benefit to our society.
The observant reader would be quick to ask how come I am advising against outside help, when some time ago I kept rooting for Dr. Woosey the criminologist to come to our aid.
Well, Dr. Woosey is a Kittititan. He is a part of the terrain which he knows quite well. He is not exactly an outsider and he has the expertise to bring our resources together in our pre-emptive fight against crime.