August 31, 2018
The profound wisdom of our culture says, “One hand can’t clap”. Unity, a coalition of political will, is critical to restoring societal peace.
Ours is a nation burdened with post-traumatic ailments. Knowing what we are personally experiencing, the citizenry continues to plead for political hatchets to be buried. To no avail; our entitlement to protection and to pursue happiness is swept aside by flash floods of political animosity.
The leaders can be convened. The full weight of the major players in the economy and that of ally countries must be brought to bear. The stakes are too high; lives and livelihoods must be secured. A “Four Seasons Accord” version 2 is “the fierce urgency of now” (M. L. King, Jr).
Beyond the young lives lost and other health impacts, the burden of crime, violence and homicide is also a most pressing concern for our services-dominated economy. That alone demands a leadership conference to agree a set of solutions, their resourcing and performance checking.
What is the data saying about possible solutions? In the Federation, homicide ranks as the 4th leading cause of death after heart disease, stroke and complications of diabetes. Homicide is about people killing people; the orgy of targeted killing should be treated as an epidemic. Thinking in epidemic-mode is a proven public health methodology leading to cost-effective interventions along two main fronts: suppression of spread and breeding ground elimination.
Suppression is fundamentally a military matter because of the transnational nature of violent crime and the inculcated culture of killing (“gangs plus drugs plus guns” - WHO). However, a purely national security response denies the existence of primary schoolers in gangs; a fact reported by the Learned Attorney General.
Security officers are not social workers. Thus, the unprecedented allocation of EC $70 million for national security will not have the hoped for results. The sectors dedicated to social justice also need maximum resource attention. They operate on the frontlines of social protection, community cohesion, prevention and early intervention.
What more is the data saying? Criminality and violent ideation are homegrown. Ours is a paradise where up to 15% of children are born to a woman or girl who cannot cope and a man guilty of dereliction of duty. Such families tend to be, “factories of delinquency” (Ramesh Deosaran).
Sexual molestation is a primary catalyst of family disruption. In 1976, teen motherhood rates reached a high of 36%. Predictions then of disaster have come to pass because of scores of unwanted and unsupervised children unleashed on society every year.
We are in 2018. Approximately 100 teens will give birth this year; 40% girls. This means 30 - 40 men chargeable for statutory rape. However, too many escape only to become repeat offenders. A national conference should not be convened unless leaders are prepared to strengthen social protection. For starters, a sexual offences unit is needed in each maternity ward.
An outside-the-box conference of the parties should address government spending priorities. Clearly, an EC $7 million allocation to Youth, Sports and Culture is paltry. Performing Arts, Creative Arts, Military Arts and grassroots sports programs can gainfully occupy thousands of young people; they deserve at least EC $ 20 million more.
Additionally, the EC $18 million soon be spent on poverty alleviation is better invested in human capital improvement. Real poverty alleviation means empowering young people to create wealth. Substantial return on investment is always derived from scholarships, STEM knowledge and skills uptake, and business mentorship and incubators.
People empowerment is a blessing. The definition of a curse is a food voucher for high-fat, high-salt, highly chemicalized food and sugar sweetened beverages.
Crime, violence, homicide and their family-based antecedents cannot be wished or prayed away. They demand serious intervention work done by competent men and women led by a bipartisan political front monitored by a vigilant electorate. Insanity is regaling in the status quo. The alternative is a unity-inspired, data-informed, solutions-focused meeting of the minds for justice and peace.
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