We have long lost our Innocence
I wrote this column on Wednesday, August 22. As I started writing, news reached me of another murder; this time, a security guard who while on her way home, was robbed and stabbed, and died later at the hospital. This followed two murders on the weekend, the robbing and abduction of four women, and the burglarising of one of the Ministerial offices. Increasingly, people are asking what is happening in this country. This of course is a question which should have been asked long ago. I don’t know why we are still shocked, because to be is to lack knowledge of what has been happening in our society. Some of us assume that we still live in a country that one might call ‘innocent’. But we lost that innocence a long time ago. We have a mindset that allows us to operate as though nothing has changed.
There is a lot happening that we don’t know or don’t want to. Our analysis of problems and the answers we provide, betray the realities we face. Crime is about bad guys, drugs, and gangs. If you do not fit into any of those categories, you have nothing about which to worry. So, four girls minding their own business were robbed and abducted and only saved by the timely intervention of an alert and brave person parked nearby. I don’t know what categories these girls fit! What more would it take for us to realise that these things cannot be seen in isolation and therefore divorced from other issues in our society? While we count the number of murders and become shocked, we pay little attention to the spate of robberies that happen every day.
There is obviously a break down in our society and we must not find excuses. We are no longer people, but have become either “We” or “They”. The challenges are enormous and demand a serious societal response, and not empty rhetoric. The “haves” can no longer feel safe, while the “have nots” multiply. There are enormous pressures in our society which I now better appreciate after giving someone a ride last week and he confessed his readiness to take his own life. I tried to talk him out of it, but realised that he had concluded that there was no hope for him.
We continue to look outside for solutions and hope for the best, but we are not doing a good job with things which we need to and over which we have some control. We have recognised the need to educate our people, but other things have to come with it, as can be seen from the growing number of educated unemployed. We hail and speak about our high achievers with over 10 passes at CSEC, but neglect the under achievers. The CXC Registrar has recently brought to the region’s attention the number of students who get no passes at all. The numbers reaching that level are, in the first place, smaller than they should be and those with no grades are astounding enough to create an alarm at CXC.
There is a lot of work to be done, but many of us either find excuses or accept that as reality over which we have no control. Some leave it up to the Lord and find themselves trapped and swindled by those who come to us claiming to be the ‘Lords anointed’. Ours is no longer an innocent society where we are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers. We can no longer assume that we share the same values and concerns. The fight for survival is one where anything goes with no holes barred. Anything to get ahead of others and the devil take the hindmost. Our main challenge is to put our society in order and then take it from there.