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EDITORIAL: Making of worthy citizens

BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

EDITORIAL: Making of worthy citizens

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For all the?celebration about our capital city being of World Heritage status, the recent degree of violence in some parts of Bridgetown would numb our sensitivities, while driving great fear into many of the law-abiding citizens living therein.
But The City is not the only hot spot on the island, and the recent incidents should cause us all to reflect on what has happened to Barbados since 1966 to have bred these once unfamiliar circumstances.
We must not blind ourselves to the growing trend where the gun is a necessary part of the culture that says the “stash” has to be protected. We make this point unashamedly because it ought to be clear that the drug culture has spawned a criminal enterprise system that seeks to mimic the traditional form of enterprise, in that the maximization and control of profits are very often the prize on which these abnormal operators focus.
For four decades now we have trained our eyes on the improvement of access to educational facilities and the overall development of the economy of our island, and it is noteworthy that in this year of our Lord when the United States has re-elected a president who put Obamacare on the statute book, that public provision of health care is no issue in this small independent and not so powerful country.
We must have been doing something right that we have moved peacefully from a colonial society dominated by a planter class largely white and a largely black population who ate their bread by the sweat of their brows in large measure. Political power has shifted from the minority people of one ethnicity to another group in the majority, and by and large our development has been orderly.
And, unchecked, this burgeoning criminal culture we are now facing could, in very short time, destroy all that we have built up over that past four and a half decades.
The political system of which we boast, as it facilitates the change of Government smoothly from one party to the other, will scarcely assist us in attracting foreign direct investment, if significant attention is not paid to the root causes of behaviours that breed the kinds of results now being seen in some parts of our island.
Cultural penetration obviously plays a part in conditioning some youngsters, for if they copy the gangsta-style clothing seen frequently on television beamed from within metropolitan capitals, then thinking criminally, akin to portrayals on television, is simply a walk in the park!
And if cultural conditioning has been partly responsible for this deviant behaviour, we may have missed the boat when in our aggressive pursuit of an improved economy, and a more rational distribution of our social and other services, we failed to emphasize the critical importance of religious instruction as a tool in fashioning a successful secular life?
One need not be a Christian to have one’s lifelong practices informed by such maxims as “love your neighbour as yourself”, or “go to the ant thou sluggard, consider her ways and be wise”.
Heeding the admonition “not to follow the multitude to do evil” may have saved as many a potential accomplice from starting a life of crime, as adhering to the injunction “thou shall not steal”,  or for that matter that of not coveting one’s neighbours’ goods.
We must never forget that even though the peace, order and good government of any country may rest on firm foundation, they are the stronger when reinforced by a widespread respect for, and an appreciation of, the importance of religious instruction as a guide to successful living.
Training up children in the way they should grow is also a high principle that should adorn national social policy!