Three stories in our paper share a connectivity that, at first glance, may be hard to fathom. The preview articles about Culturama, the account pf the brazen shooting outside police headquarters, and the interview with our new premier, Joseph Parry, all speak to a holistic approach to saving our youth and reducing crime.
In the Culturama article, there are details about young people getting involved in activities of service and enjoyment to the general community. Their participation in such festivities makes young people stakeholders, citizens who have an interest in seeing that what we call cultured society continues on its fine and beneficial way.
The account of how two young men robbed and shot a local entertainer and businessman illustrates the rising specter of youth crime. But in that same story is the eloquent concern of the victim’s father, who sees the propagation of our island’s culture as one solution to youth crime is.
“Culture is embedded in us, it’s not something that comes and goes,” said Steve Granger, the shooting victim’s father.
He is correct. But all too often elements embedded in young people, be they notions of right or wrong or a respect for what has gone before, are overcome by new thrills and distractions that lead our young away from us. Granger helped organize schoolchildren during the 2000 Culturama, he said, when he showed them how to celebrate their community history through interactive skits and displays.
By teaching the young about our culture, we embrace them and bring them into the intergenerational family that sustains us. But when we surrender to the boom boxes, hip-hop, and other aspects of culture from beyond the seas, we divorce ourselves from the young. No, such culture is not wrong, but it should not become a substitute for the folkways and craft that have sustained us. When that happens, culture becomes a wall instead of a bridge, separating us not only by decibels but, more importantly, by values.
The third element in the triad of stories with a linking theme is our interview with Premier Parry.
The premier, an educator of renown, knows the importance of communicating knowledge. The transmission of knowledge allows us to rise on the shoulders of our predecessors; it is what stops us from reinventing the wheel. But such a cycle of knowledge and culture can be broken if the educational apparatus fails to adapt, or neglects those many consider uneducable by hidebound standards.
During the past election, NRP officials understood the power of bringing young people into the sphere of politics. And, although such sentiments were seldom articulated, our guess us that young people who responded to the call felt a sense of pride and belonging.
Suddenly, they were a part of something bigger than them, yet intimately connected with their lives.
Premier Parry and his NRP team raised expectations among the young. They showed young people that they can become politically efficacious.
As the NRP delivers on its promises of expanded educational offerings, it is our hope that the administration also understands the link between cultural connections, youth crime, and the feelings of national honor and belonging that could stem the rising crime wave on our island of Nevis.
Premier Parry is right to label is efforts at community and cultural development indirect ways of combating crime. Regardless of whether one wore blue or green during the election, all Nevisians must come together to embrace these concerns.