The Way I See It – Friday, June 23, 2017

By: Curtis Morton

The way I see it, if I don’t speak out against the crime wave in our community, I will be stifling my conscience.

So today I proceed on this somber note.

Earlier this week, as we assembled to celebrate with Miss Eileen Smithen of Zion village, her 100th birthday, I listened carefully to the words of Senator Wendy Phipps and they were very instructive. She stated that even as she was speaking to us, she had not long before received news that there was another shooting incident at the JN France hospital and one person had died as a result. She went on to say that sadly, while most of the seniors appear to be aspiring to get to the prestigious age of 100, the younger generation seems to have other intentions.

So, when we reflect on the increase in criminal activity, quite a number of our young men are regularly scuffed out and now, the attention has seemingly turned to the ladies as well.

Shootings occur with regularity whether night time or broad daylight; in villages; close to churches; close to Police stations and hardly anybody is brought to justice and if they are, there is a high possibility that they will get away on a technicality because a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty and so the burden is on the prosecution team to bring sufficient evidence to impress the jury that the person is indeed guilty as charged.

Sometimes the prosecution team messes up. I heard of a case when in reference to a stolen television set, the police officer in giving evidence identified the serial number as including a Z, when the defence team was able to prove that the TV’s serial number had all of the other numbers mentioned by the officer except that where he mentioned Z, it was a 2. The clever Lawyer was quick to point out that ‘obviously we are talking about two separate television sets here’ and the man walked away scot free and was given back the watakamus television.

Well I newa!

Sometimes, it’s a simple matter of sentiments, whether out of love or fear. The jurors are selected from persons within the same community in which the accused live. They shop at the same supermarket; maybe even attend the same church with his mother; their children attend the same school etc. So when the time comes to analyze the evidence and maybe convict the individual, you end up with a hung jury, because some persons refuse to agree that the person is guilty, no matter how clear the evidence is.

So how did we get here? First let me say that it is my stated opinion that we have failed in every facet of community life. Starting with the home; the school; even the church, to give our children proper instructions and guidance.

First of all, we have strayed away from God, his principles and his general word.

In my time we were TAKEN to church, whether we wanted to go or not. Nowadays, there are some parents who either never went to church or who have stopped going and their children grow up with the same attitude: No church.

The alternative is to listen to different types of music that insinuate violence and all forms of devious behaviour. What the mind takes in, that is what the individual becomes.

Nowadays, they are talking about child abuse but the bible did indicate: ‘He that spares his rod hates his son: but he that loves him chastens him early’ (proverbs 13:24).

In my time, we used to get it with all kinds of yard broom; pot spoons and all kind of things…and most of us came out okay and more significantly alive and able to tell our parents thanks for training us in the right way.

Nowadays, within too many homes, the children are the ones ‘calling the shots’ (no pun intended).

Parents lack firmness in giving direction and children get to virtually do what they want. Especially when the parents are busy working two and three jobs ‘to make ends meet.’

One parent who works at a prestigious hotel on the island, admitted to me one day that she hardly gets time with her children.

‘When I leave for work, most days, they are still sleeping and when I return from work, most days, they are already sleeping. My father helps me with them and I just make sure that they have what they need for school and give him some money to look out for them,’ she admitted.

Not good.

Despite all of the material things one can provide for a child, that child still requires the physical presence, attention and guidance of loving parents.

And so, not having any proper parental guidance, the children gravitate to the gang culture and the perceived glamour and ‘security’ that it offers and in most cases than not, eventually end up at 1840 or in one of our many cemeteries.

There is also a lot of anger going around and it seems as if some people have an ‘anger remote’ walking around with. There is an incident and heated words are exchanged. Weeks pass and you think the matter is forgotten and then someone presses their anger remote and ‘pow-pow…’

So how do we get from here?

Firstly we have to seek God and go back to the good old days of Sabbath school and Sunday school, where we TAKE our children to church on a weekly basis and let them be fully grounded in God’s word.

We also have to be positive living examples to them.

We have to teach them love and respect for their fellow men, including authority figures.

There must also be a prevailing spirit of forgiveness and measures must be put in place to redeem offenders who are redeemable and so minded.

For those perpetrators who just do not care and officially proclaim that they will continue to live a lawless life, then I recommend that they be dealt with to the fullest extent of the law, even the death penalty if it reaches that stage.

For those who so love guns, when they are caught, governments should have in place a treaty to accommodate all of the gun slingers and wherever there is a war in the world, give them a gun and put them on the front line of the battle…..

To deal with the numberless unsolved mysteries, we should seek outside help to uncover the culprits and make sure that the prosecution team is the best you have, so that they don’t mess up the case.

Put a system in place where a judge can make final decisions at the high court level without the assistance of a ‘jury of your peers.’ It is done at the Magistrate’s court, so why not?

Yes, something has to be done and right quickly. The minority cannot continue to terrorize the majority.
We want to go back to the good old days of a peaceful and tranquil Nevis, when most people died from old age and people used to leave their doors unlocked and their windows opened to get the fresh breeze.

That’s the way I see it. How do you see it?

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