Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Once Ago, We Could Sleep With Our Doors Open!

It's been a while since I last wrote on here. Different from seeking full time employment, I have been sooo busy with other things. It is also quite difficult to focus quietly and intently on a topic, then put those thoughts into words when you have young children running around each day! I have decided to write today, however, because there are a few pressing issues that I'm concerned about. Namely, the increasing crime problem in my hometown... among a few other things.

I do love my beautiful country and after having traveled to quite a few of our Family Islands, I appreciate it even more. We as a people have to thank God for all of the blessings bestowed upon us as a small chain of islands. We are very fortunate to be able to brag of our natural beauties and national treasures and the fact that we are independent, democratic and economically successful. This though, is why crime is such a major problem and threat to the fabric of our society.

It is my opinion that many factors are contributing to the increase in crime and the severity of it. They are (to name a few) :
  • High level of unemployment and lack of employment opportunities. 
  • Lack of strong, positive role models not on TV, but rather in many communities. 
  • Breakdown of family structure and lack of strong father figures to head households. 
  • Over-abundance of churches feeding spiritual "milk", leading to confusion, indifference and a general mistrust of religious leaders by the younger society. 
  • Badly flawed judicial system. 
  • Corruption of government officials and law enforcement officers.
  • Overflow of poverty stricken, under-educated illegal immigrants who continue to pile into the country and mesh with ease into society. 
  • Lack of affordable educational opportunities for citizens. 
  • Lack of voice and support for the people. 
  • Increasing abuse of illegal substances (drugs) and alcohol by younger generation. 
  • Because of the above mentioned, a growing belligerence on the streets. Haughty, negative attitudes towards each other. 
  • Minimum wage being under $200 for many years vs. the extremely high cost of living for many, many years, leading many to feel as though "normal jobs" just aren't enough anymore. 
  • Misunderstanding and misjudgment of those with mental challenges and disorders as well as improper monitoring and treatment of such persons. 
To list a few! (Each of these factors deserve a post all of their own because of their significance and negative impact on society but I'll leave those for a later time).

About two weeks ago, an extremely heinous and tragic crime took place where an 11-year old boy, missing for five days, was found dead. It was discovered that this precious angel had not only been kidnapped, but viciously raped, then murdered and discarded like a piece of trash behind an apartment complex in Western New Providence. This event shook the nation to its core and led many to question what the beautiful Bahamas has really become. It also leaves me to question what our government stands for and what will ever be done to begin correcting this major issue on an island that is merely 21 miles by 7!

Years ago, a similar incident took place in our nation's second city of Grand Bahama, but on an even larger scale. The lives of five young males were taken at the hands of another sick psychopath who had a deranged thirst for under-aged boys. As a mother of two young children, things such as this make me nauseous and brings a sense of anger and rage like hardly nothing else does. When will we, an independent nation, ever carry out the death penalty again? I've read that the last person to be executed in Britain was in 1964 and that capital punishment was later abolished altogether in 1998. Is this why we too have ceased to execute these vicious animals, because Britain is our sovereign nation? What else will it take to make our law-makers as well as those invisible "powers that be" see that by their nonchalant attitude toward crime, they are, like the criminals themselves, inevitably destroying our magnificent Bahamaland? One cannot possibly have more sympathy for the perpetrators than the victims!

We know that the men guilty of carrying out these sadistic acts must have some type of mental disorder and should not be placed back onto our streets. It is also my belief that if one kills, then, according to The Holy Bible, he too should be killed. Genesis 9:6 "Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man.  Why are these men let back into society? Currently, a man is in custody for this last child-related crime who has just recently served a 12-year prison term for a very similar one. Why has he been released without intense monitoring and proper evaluation? That should not be! 

My deepest, heartfelt sympathy is extended to all of the family, friends and loved ones of little angel, Marco Archer. May you rest in peace until that faithful day.

Once ago, we could sleep with our doors open. Literally! Well, of course that was long before my time but the fact remains..crime was NOTHING like it is today.  The opening of numerous Cash For Gold establishments throughout the island has led to a dramatic increase in house-break-ins, armed robberies and day-time "snatchings". I have even witnessed a middle-aged lady's chain be torn from her neck on a bright and sunny Saturday afternoon. In fact, just last week, one of our Golden Girls, Olympic Gold Medalist Pauline Davis-Thompson's home was robbed (once again, in the afternoon) and the thieves stooped low enough to even steal three of the track star's medals! These are considered National Treasures that can never be replaced since she is now retired. I can't even fathom what they intend to do with them. Thankfully, the Gold won at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 was presented to our Prime Minister some years before! Then there is the trade and export of scrap metal, chiefly copper,that has led to countless business places and residents alike being targeted and put into thousands of dollars of expense because of copper thieves. As I type, two men are being charged before the courts for stealing over $60,000.00 worth of copper from our country's own Water and Sewerage Corp. You mean they don't even care if we have running water anymore? This is the extent of crime in Nassau. Understanding that many have only been able to make a living by these means, one can also understand why some are vexed at the moratorium imposed by our Prime Minister some weeks ago, after thousands of dollars worth of copper was stolen from our chief energy supplier, B.E.C. From the get-go, proper measures should have been in place to screen those who turn in goods in exchange for cash.   

 If something radical is not done soon to improve conditions here, then we will be the ones on sloops, fleeing for a better life in another land! It may sound a bit far-fetched but if you really think about it...true. Remembering that it won't take the government alone will be crucial in this fight to rebuild, renew and restore our jewels of the sea.  We have to stop aiding and abetting criminals by hating the police (they too can do a better job at interacting with the public). Officers of the law MUST abide by their own laws and stop acting like everyone is a suspect. We have to develop a clearer and richer sense of self and stop watching and following others. We  must learn to start being leaders not followers. We have to start caring for our fellow brethren and stop turning a blind-eye when we see things we should speak out against, and most importantly, we have to start putting God first and teaching our children to do the same.  Our judicial system also needs a desperate overhaul in order to properly and efficiently deal with the backlog of cases just lingering, seemingly in limbo.

Early last week, Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham gave a national address on crime and spoke of what strategies are being implemented to ameliorate the problem. Some say "too little, far too late" but I say better late than never! For him to do that shows that it's irking more than just me. We cannot let our once peaceful, beautiful, "paradise" of sun, sand and sea become a dangerous, hellish-like city that even we do not wish to remain. The Bible talks of the swine that the pearls were cast to which were savagely and callously trampled. Let's consider our islands "the pearls", if you may. Let us treasure and cherish our nation. This is the only way the generations to come will as well. In doing this, we show God that we appreciate what we have been given and he will continue to bless our efforts.

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