PEP COLUMN: A day of national significance
The People’s Empowerment Party (PEP) is urging the people of Barbados to treat September 3 as a “day of national significance” – a special day on which the entire population takes time out to remember Kelly-Ann Welch, Shanna Griffith, Kellishaw Ollivierre, Pearl Cornelius, Nikkita Belgrave, Tiffany Harding and all the other innocent victims of violent crime, and to reflect on our duty to socialize, nurture and direct our young people in the correct manner.
Failure to embark on effective measures to nip violent crime in the bud will cause the destruction of all that is good and wholesome about our country.
PEP’s judgement is that for some time Barbadians have needed a “wake-up call” to get us to start grappling seriously with the many issues threatening to undermine the very fabric of our nation.
And surely, that “wake-up call” has come in the form of the Campus Trendz tragedy. If the September 3, 2010 killing of six young, beautiful and totally innocent daughters of our nation does not grab the attention of the people of Barbados and focus it on the issue of violent crime, then nothing else will.
So we welcome the establishment of the “September 3rd Foundation”, and the current effort to have September 3 recognized and treated as a day of national significance.
Our party is therefore urging all of our fellow citizens to participate fully in the national minute of silence and/or silent prayer that is scheduled for noon on Monday, September 3, 2012, and to otherwise use the day to reflect on the several sacred duties that we owe to the children and youth of Barbados.
We are particularly concerned that our current-day Barbadian society has adopted and is imposing a deeply flawed and highly antisocial value system on our young people. More and more, it seems, we are telling our youth that the measure and value of a person is determined by the size of the car they drive, or the model of the Blackberry or iPad they possess, or the cost of the “bling” around their neck, inculcating in them values of materialism, self-centredness, greed and contempt for others.
This, in turn, provides an environment in which vulnerable youth can easily slip into patterns of violent, criminal, anti-social behaviour.
Like the September 3rd Foundation we would prefer to see Barbadian society opting for a value system in which young people are urged to strive to become “persons of value” – persons imbued with character, moral qualities, manners, and academic, artistic or technical attainment.
Clearly, it cannot simply be a matter of preaching at our young people.
Ultimately, it is about us all striving to build a nation together – seeing each other as brothers and sisters; seeing our brother’s problem as our problem; and working together to create a Barbados in which we all have a genuine stake.
The proper commemoration of September 3 provides an opportunity for us to get on that path.
• The PEP column represents the views of the People’s Empowerment Party.