Daly Bread: Ease the tension on crime

I was in Barbados last week. For five days, I was relieved of the need to think about the possibility that someone might try to hold me up or invade the minimally fenced home in which I was staying.

Many readers who travel abroad will be well aware of that feeling of relief and an ease of the tension.

A burglar breaks into a house.

On the occasion of a previous visit to Barbados I may have related an interaction with someone at the beach whom I did not know but heard the Trini accent and engaged me in conversation. He volunteered that he was returning home that night and would miss the feeling of freedom he had been enjoying while in Barbados.

The day before arriving in Barbados I read the conclusion of fellow columnist, Joanne Paul, that “the suffocating crime atmosphere causes stress, anxiety, fearful vulnerability”.

She is right but I am always compelled to ask why so many did not see it coming, or simply wished it away?

Police officers get to work behind crime scene tape.
Photo: AP Photo/ David Goldman

As emphasised in these columns, much of the answer lies in the insecurities of a small, complex, post-colonial island society in which the government is predominant in the economy. These two factors of insecurity and government dominance constitute a double whammy.

By misuses and abuses of power (whoever is in power), satellites, sycophants and the supine can be rewarded for fawning collaboration or silence.

The rewards are the easy grant of access to undeserved material wealth from the massive state economic sector and appointments to positions of perceived status.

The art of the bribe…

The situation is further complicated by the division of political alignment by race and a consequential lack of a more open-minded discussion of issues. In addition, fear of victimization or being branded “political” allegedly inhibits the business community and other elites from making statements other than bland or broad ones.

A little over a week ago, on 7 June 2024, I noted with interest yet another statement from the business community on crime. The president of the American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) stated in part as follows:

“[…] The business community is willing to assist. We want to assist. All we have to do is be engaged and [be] told what the broad plan is, and how our help will fit into this plan.  Fighting crime is the responsibility of the government.

Minister of National Security Fitzgerald Hinds.

“If crime can be solved by the state alone, then great. To date, we have not seen evidence that this is possible. It is time that we put aside our differences and work together with a common goal of putting our beautiful nation first.”

Unlike the statements made by the domes and chambers of commerce, of which I have been critical in the past, this one was interesting because a little backbone seemed at last to have been found.

The statement was bold enough to place the responsibility of fighting crime on the government.

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley.
Photo: OPM

This was in contrast to an earlier, somewhat pathetic AMCHAM position that “we’re not pointing fingers; however, we’re all in this together”.

Even at that time then fellow columnist, Andy Johnson, described a situation of “citizens, prominent and peasant, at one in a collective sense of fear”.  See my column on 6 August 2017 – Not pointing fingers.

Seven disastrous years later, into the now “suffocating crime atmosphere” the vlogger with the handle Chris Must List (Chris Hughes) arrived and vividly exposed the thriving gang sub-culture that the politicians would prefer we did not see.

Controversial “tourist” Chris Must List.

If the Chris recordings were promoting sedition, then it must mean the acts that he recorded were seditious as well.

More importantly, accountability is required of law enforcement regarding its state of knowledge of the areas in which this sub-culture rules. How will law enforcement protect and serve our stressed-out population?

How will the government carry out its responsibility to mitigate the socio-economic conditions which sustain this sub-culture?

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley (right) and Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
(Copyright Newsday)

As we approach the next General Election, perhaps the elites will put aside the flim-flam and finally put some more backbone into defining for the government and opposition what it sees as a government’s responsibility to contain violent crime—particularly as the current government, constantly in deflection mode, talks about the responsibility of others but not of its own.

More from Wired868
Daly Bread: Death of a salesman—lessons from Che Mendez murder

As readers are aware, I take an empathetic side with those who are dealt blows in a society, which—although mitigated Read more

Daly Bread: A basis for general election choices

At the end of last week’s column, I described the Opposition United National Congress (UNC) after the results of its Read more

Daly Bread: The cracked facades, as we head towards general elections

Last week I closed by referring to our democracy’s dysfunctional concentration on personalities and tribal loyalties. This dysfunction acts as Read more

Daly Bread: Battling in Opposition space; can Paray or Mickela articulate feasible crime plan?

With increasing frequency, our editorial writers and commentators treat with our dismal crime situation, which is now oppressing the entire Read more

Daly Bread: If ministers feel “helpless” about crime, then what now?

With great dismay last Tuesday, I read the lamentation of three government ministers concerning the state of crime in Trinidad Read more

Daly Bread: Auditing conduct in public office; more self-control needed

An indication given in a weekly column to deal with an identified topic “next week” is one that is difficult Read more

Check Also

Daly Bread: Death of a salesman—lessons from Che Mendez murder

As readers are aware, I take an empathetic side with those who are dealt blows …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.