By: St. Clair Sazam Hull
I was at a local restaurant a few days ago, having a conversation about football when my attention was distracted from my friends. One of my favorite songs was been aired via radio and I listened intently, like I usually do whenever it is being played.
“Thirty six square miles of sheer beauty, eight thousand people and friendly, they call it the Queen, of the Caribbees, a land of talent and folklore, education and much more, just in case you missed, a talking about Nevis”.
“We don’t have war like the Middle East, in little Nevis we live in peace, and our crime rate ‘broda’ is way below zero”.
The above mentioned, are words by Keith ‘Dis n Dat Scarborough some twenty one years ago in a popular calypso entitled ‘Land of my birth’. While I subscribe and give concurrence to the former, it is unequivocal and obvious, that the latter is a distant memory and a thing of the past. An island that was once the epitome and exemplification of peace and tranquility, has now been reduced to a mere shadow of its former self.
Crime is pervasive universally, but when it has engulfed a tiny island like ours the way it has, we have to pause even if momentarily. Murders have owned a rampant in our beloved homeland, and the question that floated across my mental sky was, what brought about this metamorphosis?
As I sat and pondered about the recent death of Albert Myers, and the countless killings prior to his demise, I asked myself two additional questions, whose fate is next to be suffered in similar fashion and what can we do to diminish the terrifying levels of crime and violence that have plagued our infinitesimal society? The usual responses from some of the masses are “let’s hope nobody else gets kill and we have to pray”. But those are just myths and dangerous ones, because it is actually impeding us from solving the crime problem. Here’s the reality, the issue of crime cannot be stabled by prayer and optimism alone, for while we hope and pray, others plot.
I don’t want to be branded as being pessimistic, but if we as a people believe, that crime is going to ultimately disappear through way of prayer and its reliance, then our belief is left a lot to be desired. Sometime last year, the Rectory at the St. Thomas’ Anglican Church was broken into, and the pilferer/s made off with a small amount of money and jewelry. That incident alone is indicative to us, that criminals and kleptomaniacs could care less about God’s holy place.
Those elected to run the affairs of our homeland, both past and present, have also been the victims of some strange illusions. One of the illusions is a myth of ‘time’; you’ve heard them said, “With time things will get better”. The fact is those who were elected to governed, should be trying their endeavor best to make a much more effective use of time. They should be implementing ways to curb and control the crime problem, and give assurance to the citizens of this country, that things are going to improve dramatically and drastically.
Tough laws should be reinforced once again such as, ‘hanging’ because as we ought to be aware, the only way human beings bad behavior can be eradicated or synchronized, is when they know that the ramifications of their actions can be detrimental. When a schoolchild knows, that the consequences of swearing can be resulted in getting six lashes, more times than not, he or she will be circumspect about their language.
Our elected officials must get rid of the notion that progress just rolls in on the wheels of inevitability. They must come to realize that progress is never inevitable; it comes through the tireless efforts and persistent work of dedicated individuals, and without this hard work, ‘time’ itself becomes an ally with the forces of stagnation. Therefore, these officials should be telling us about plans and projections.
But we as a society also have another pressing issue to grapple with. Crimes are committed by humans, unlike natural disasters which are acts of God. So what have driven persons to engage in such activities? We can’t even blame it on crime infested areas for most part, because I have said on numerous occasions, that Nevis has no ghettos. Majority of persons who get into trouble are usually teenagers, persons in their early twenties and a few may have shown ominous signs, before reaching their teen years.
Some have blamed it on parents for not playing proper parental roles in their children’s lives. There are some parents who are indeed delinquent, but I do believe most of them give sound advice to their offsprings. We also have to bear in mind, that children spend a large part of day away from their parents and once they are cohesive with their peers, it is not difficult to partake in certain doings. Parents generally want their children to be the best they can be, and majority of them provide the necessary tools for their children to be successful in life.
We are in the darkest period of our existence, on this 36 square mile island. It is not in good shape for future generations to inherit. If something is not done quickly in order to control crime, the situation will get worse, but if swift action transpires, then Nevis will be a peaceful place once again.