Are we living in a fundamentally broken society?
The question is posed after reading the headline in The Nassau Guardian on April 24 which stated that according to Police Commissioner Clayton Fernander, crime is down by 28 percent.
This comes on the heels of the previous day’s newspapers which headlined the murder of two brothers, shot to death, in New Providence.
How can crime be down, while the anguish level in Bahamian society has surely passed the tipping point? Who or what is to blame?
Ever since the beginning of the crime and violence era, which began in the late 1970s with the scourge of drugs and gang violence, this Bahamas has been asking the same questions — who or what is to blame for a seemingly endless body count of murdered men and women in our cemeteries?
Today, there are no simple answers as there were none in the 1970s. All avenues of social, physical and educational factors were explored by every government agency and NGO over these past 50 years.
Their recommendations on crime reduction and prevention brought forth a plethora of initiatives from parenting classes to increasing social and affordable housing, adult education classes, national insurance, national health insurance, social welfare payments, expansion of local education centers, job training for incarcerated people, expansion of clinic and medical services and a host of mental health awareness programs.
Despite a continued and increasingly costly focus on Bahamian communities and families, crime and murder rates have only risen. Crime moved from a localized Over-the-Hill area to every corner and road and island.
We continue to ask, who or what is to blame?
Is it something so convoluted at its very core that the answer remains out of our control or is it essentially a fundamental problem which simply requires more resources to solve?
We know, as a matter of general social knowledge, that there is an established link between physical and mental abuse and breakdown in social order which is a contributing factor to crime.
We know, as a matter of further general social knowledge, that lack of job opportunities, ready access to guns, aggressive societal nature, gambling, drugs, alcohol, poverty and just bad luck of being in the wrong place at the wrong time are all in varying degrees contributing factors to crime.
The point is, that for every murder, for every crime, there is a simple answer and a complex solution.
There is an urgent need for all stakeholders to combine their resources and come together and seriously address this growing madness, a madness that has held this nation by its throat for these past 50 years.
Crime is literally strangling this Bahamas.
We all know the usual platitudes of it takes a village and being our brothers’ keeper and all that falderal. However, in today’s Bahamas, we no longer know the people living who are living in our village and our proverbial brother has said time and time again, keep out of his business.
So we look to government and politicians to intercede on society’s behalf with those who are hell bent on destroying the building blocks of Bahamian good communities.
Dear government, dear politician, we beseech thee. Hear our intercession. We are tired of the crime. We are sick of the murders.