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We really gone through

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A video of the funeral for Giovanni Charles last Saturday was brought to my attention by a friend. We both reacted with disgust. i am referring to the ceremony at the burial ground.

What caught our attention was that the police, including what appeared to be top ranking officers, were boogieing at the burial ground, feting carnival style to the music of the police orchestra. Now, let me point to a few things. This was advertised as a full military funeral and there are certain expectations that come with this.{{more}} It should have been a very solemn occasion, for after all, one of their colleagues was murdered while in the line of duty. I know that these days the trend is to treat a funeral as a celebration of the life of the individual. I might have had little to say if it was only the civilians who were boogieing, but the police, on an occasion like this! It appeared very distasteful to me. Even without knowing the young constable, I felt a sense of gloom and sadness. There are certain times that demand certain patterns of behaviour and Saturday’s military funeral was one. This is why I found the behaviour of the police totally out of place.

Celebrations of the lives of the dead are becoming a part of our funeral ceremonies these days. It becomes raucous when there is a steel band around, but really to see that it has penetrated the police on such a solemn occasion is ill-becoming. As my friend and I agreed, this appeared to have had no significance to others who might have seen what was going on. We have to accept changes in the society, especially at times when we have lost our innocence and are influenced by global forces, but there ought to be institutions that do not readily buck to the trends and tendencies of the ‘new times’. And let me repeat! This was a military funeral and there is a certain dignity we expect, particularly given the circumstances under which police Giovanni Charles met his death. Then, perhaps I am simply an alarmist. It is the in-thing, so we must step in line.

It is very taxing these days to read the newspapers and to look at or listen to the news. You have to be a completely callous individual not to be moved by what you see and hear. On its front page, Searchlight carried an item captioned “Teacher’s Prophecy or Curse?” It is about a teacher’s comment to a class some years ago, to the effect that “…their behaviour was so appalling that… in a few years half of them would be in prison and the other half would be dead.” The article goes on to say that “an uncharacteristically high number of them have met untimely deaths or have been caught up in violent activities.” Five, I believe, have met their deaths and two had been to gaol. This is alarming! It is about a class at one school, but to what extent are there parallels in other schools or in other classes? The Education Department should begin to track the career paths of their school graduates. This should be useful for planning at the level of their department and will help to inform government policies. While on education related matters, I need to refer to the editorial of last week’s The News that dealt with the dress of male students at the Community College. This was apparently in response to a letter the week before that was critical of the young male students dressed in a way designed to expose their underwear. The News pins the blame on the education authorities. It asks, “Have the College, teachers, parents and entire Ministry of Education lost their sense of direction and leadership?”

Over the past week there were some other disturbing developments. The Inland Revenue Department was robbed, the offices rummaged. What were these thieves expecting to find? Cash Wiz was robbed in the late afternoon by two males, who took with them $100,000, in the process striking the manager several times. We are beginning to see some reactions. A farmer from Calder whose house was burglarized on several occasions, confronted and shot two men who were taking away a vault from his home. One died and the other was wounded. Is this likely to become a pattern? Is this the start of a fight back by homeowners? The public sentiment seemed to have gone heavily in favour of the farmer, since it is felt that some stop has to be made to this. Farmers, in particular, have been hard hit by theft on their farms. I have heard many stories from farmers who are at the point of giving up.

One positive sign is that more persons are beginning to openly express their disgust with these developments. A letter to one of the newspapers said to ‘Hang them! Hang them high!’ I am not sure that this, by itself, is going to solve the problem. Someone expressed a prayer for the nation: “Lord Heavenly Father our once fair land seems to be collapsing around us.” But of course, we cannot just sit back and await divine intervention. We have to start the ball rolling.

Behold: Another murder!

Dr Adrian Fraser is a social commentator and historian.

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