Editorials

Our outrage must birth action 

Here we are once again, a familiar place, face to face as a society with the gut-wrenching reality of crime ravaging our communities and, again, claiming the life of one of the most innocent among us.

Many of us are understandably outraged after hearing the unimaginable news that a four-year-old boy in his father’s car was killed by a stray bullet on Fleming Street on Tuesday night.

Some of us do not know how to feel. We are numb because murders keep happening on our small island where we have our capital city, over and over and over again.

Some of us have no doubt found odd comfort in reports from police and our political leaders that, in the main, the violence plaguing New Providence is resulting in the murders of gang members killing each other, individuals known to police taking each other out, bad boys dealing with bad boys.

But every now and then, and it is always too soon, we are jolted back to the grim reality that no one is guaranteed safety, especially in a society where the availability of illegal guns is out of control, law enforcement authorities struggle to keep our streets safe, social decay is so far gone that its consequences are reverberating at an alarming and sickening pace, and our politicians frame their public statements on crime depending on the side of the political divide they are on at any particular time.

Just last month, we reported that 13-year-old Quinton McKenzie was shot dead at a park on Kemp Road. That crime is no longer making headlines, but the grief is no doubt fresh for that boy’s family.

We never wanted to be back here again writing about the murder of yet another child, but, here we are – a dark place where the solutions seem elusive, and commentary on what to do about crime appears almost trite, due to the countless times it has been stated.

As a society, we will, this week, and maybe into next week, focus the spotlight on four-year-old Kenton Seymour Jr., who had no chance at growing up and fulfilling his potential in his Bahamas because his Bahamas could not keep him safe.

Meanwhile, the perpetrators responsible remain free. Others already accused of murders and charged in courts are roaming the streets because the system seldom provides for them to be tried in a timely manner.

We are told by police that many of them are reoffending.

While we are left to reflect on the latest tragedy involving a small child, the grief being experienced by his family, like McKenzie’s, will undoubtedly last a lifetime.

The pain expressed yesterday by Kenton Seymour Sr. is a pain many of us, thankfully, cannot relate to, but one which too many Bahamian parents have had to experience in recent years.

Through his tears, he told a Nassau Guardian reporter he had been working to give his son the kind of life he never had.

Yesterday, Commissioner of Police Clayton Fernander assured that police will stop at nothing to find the perpetrators.

There have been six murders since he assumed command of the police force on July 5.

During the handover ceremony, Fernander announced the establishment of a special Anti-Gang and Firearms Unit.

He said a request will be made to have a court dedicated to fast-tracking illegal firearms and ammunition cases for swift justice.

Fernander also said, “… We want to review the laws to add tougher penalties in cases where persons are found in possession of an illegal weapon, and the use of a weapon in the commission of an offense. Tough times call for tough measures.”

These seem to us to be important measures. But as has been stated ad nauseam, driving down crime requires a holistic approach from all stakeholders in addressing the root causes of crime.

We cannot sit comfortably in our homes, many of us in gated communities, and think we are protected while many of other communities remain breeding grounds for new crops of criminals.

We must build stronger neighborhoods with sustained outreach programs, strengthen our education system, provide economic empowerment opportunities for greater numbers of Bahamians, make our judicial system more efficient, and get even tougher on those determined to turn our streets and our homes into killing fields.

Our outrage must birth action for the sake of our children, for the sake of us all.

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