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‘All hands on deck’ crime fighting plan needed


Fri Nov 14, 2014

Editor: The year has not yet ended and we have recorded 34 murders in our small country, with three recorded in one weekend! I believe we would all agree that the crime situation in St Vincent and the Grenadines is becoming out of hand. Some may even say that it is already out of control. It is appalling and we need to work on an effective plan as a nation. Crime and violence have no boundaries.{{more}} The young are not exempted, as was evident in the recent violent school incident where a teenager was blinded by her schoolmate. Crime does not have any political colour either. This is why we must support good initiatives to tackle crime, whether they come from political parties, NGOs or the ‘simple’ man on the street.

The politicians, criminologists and psychologists would often seek to give the causes of crime. Poverty and unemployment are usually ranked among the major causes. However, we must never fail to consider the root of crime. It is the absence of the love of God and His right-respecting principles in the heart that breeds callousness and causes people to commit crimes against their fellowmen. This basic recognition of the root cause is important in seeking to find effective crime-fighting strategies. The solution must meet the mind. It must address the value-system of the individual. If not, all of our efforts would be futile and short-lived. We must begin with the young and impressionable. They should be taught to have a sacred regard for the rights of their fellowmen. The tendency to take and destroy other people’s private property must be rooted out. The exaltation of cruelty, even in jesting and joking, must be discouraged. Children need to be taught that to violate their fellow citizens’ (e.g. classmates etc) rights is an indication of lack of regard for the Giver of rights – their Creator. Additionally, punishment that fits the violation must be speedily and consistently implemented.

All schools should have an ongoing plan where rights education is taught as a central part of the curriculum at each level in interesting ways. Unlike what some think, involvement in sporting activities or extra-curricular activities is insufficient to fight crime. The students need to know how to respect one another, even when they may have strong disagreements – for this would happen on the sporting field and in the social clubs as well.

Those in authority must show that they appreciate the role of education as a crime-fighting strategy. Let’s start by addressing the value system of our youth through planned education – education on respect for God-given inalienable rights of the individual, including the right to life. Additionally, we must all recognize that each of us has a role to play in maintaining peace and respect in our society. The police, the politician, the teacher, the student, the lawyer, the farmer… our God-given duty is to live in love, respecting each other’s rights and freedoms. Yes, it must begin with you, with me, with all of us. We need an all-hands-on-deck plan to fight crime in our land. May God help us. May God help our country.

Ann-Marie Ballantyne

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