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Let us foster a spirit of compassion in our people

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Fri Oct 11, 2013

Editor: While selfishness would have kept me miles from writing this letter, I have decided that it is true that man must be his brother’s keeper. A couple weeks ago, we found out that a student of the St Joseph’s Convent Kingstown was accused of disrespecting a teacher. The most important point to be made about this case is that, thus far, we in the general public do not have enough details about the case to be commenting. This is one of the reasons why I was reluctant to write, the main one being fear of criticism.{{more}}

The main thing I picked up about this case was how easily a child’s future became trivialized. I have seen this before and when these things happen I wonder if our Prime Minister knows about them. I know that he will want the best for our children, for our people and that he will always do what he can to see this achieved. While we strive to provide discipline, let us also teach our children about compassion. Let us foster a spirit of compassion in our people. Let us not think only about ourselves, but also about the needs of others. We are currently at a stage in our civilization where we are looking at the past and looking for reparations for the things done to us. While we do so, we must also understand the things that will move us forward. We must put aside spitefulness and vindictiveness (I am not suggesting such is the case involving the St Joseph’s Convent student).

I also think about our prisoners. How many of us think about the conditions they live in? Our society appears to be one leaned towards punishment and not reformation. I am not familiar with how the prisons are run and I do not want to assume. Being ignorant of something is not an indication of its non-existence. If it does not already exist, there should be a system in place where prisoners are offered the opportunity to be educated beyond the level they were at before entering prison.

After obtaining certificates indicating that they have passed, time should be taken off of their sentences and as an extra incentive the amount of time taken off can be based on their performance. Courses and reading material provided should be geared towards aspects of criminology, understanding the law, respect for others, respect for property, compassion etc.

Shamal Connell

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