Crystal clear, cascading waterfalls, lush green mountains, cobalt blue seas and an infestation of thieves, rapists, drug traffickers, white-collar con artists and killers. How sweet it is to live in paradise. It seems weekly, as if penned into our calendar by the hand of destiny, we are subjected to increasingly depressing news; another car was stolen; another home broken into or suspiciously reduced to ashes; another woman ravaged in the worst way. Another young life lost. Paradise never felt more like hell.
For so long have we talked and talked and talked some more about crime, the subject has become quite boring. Just about everyone has a solution to the rampant lawbreaking, everyone it seems other than those whose job it is to keep Saint Lucia safe. We blame everyone else for our nation’s predicament, everyone but ourselves – regular citizens who persist in playing blind and deaf in the face of crime; parents, relatives and friends of criminals with a twisted sense of loyalty. How many more times must we hear: “The police are not doing their job. The government ministers are never here . . .” But the line most often heard is, “The youth of this country have gotten way out of hand; they are nothing like young people used to be back in the day!”
How many of us recognize the danger in blaming every crime on the youth of the nation, even when no one has been arrested, let alone charged? Why are we silent about the vast majority of young Saint Lucians itching for opportunities, whether for jobs, self-expression through their art, and so on? What do we have in place that might have salutary impact on citizens in the prime of their time? I daresay, very little. Truth be told, we are surrounded by successful individuals well known to be operating contrary to law. They are the ones who shout loudest about how terrible are our young, ambitious and frustrated males and females.
There have been studies that state quite clearly the reasons for crime among the youth of the Caribbean and Latin American. I propose to present some of them in a future article. Rest assured the recommendations to our governments by experts like Professor Deosoran have gone largely unheeded. We are in dire need of facilities where young people who went astray can be rehabilitated – not made worse by a seemingly uncaring system.
During a workshop held in June of this year, InSight, an organisation dedicated to monitoring, analysing and investigating organised crime in various countries, was reported as saying, “The Caribbean is a huge transhipment port for drugs to the United States.” Insight directly linked this point to the region’s records of increased violence and gang-related crime. It was also underscored that the rise in crime is the result of “weak governance and endemic corruption.” Stay tuned.
Until next time, please take a long look in the mirror and ask yourself whether you will be part of the problem of our overwhelming crime, or part of the solution.