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CCJ right court for region


Peter Simmons

CCJ right court for region

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What a week! To invest it with the nomenclature “that was the week that was” adequately captures the vagaries, tragedies and evolving promises of hope for a bright new tomorrow after the doom and gloom that has been our daily bread during the galloping decline of recent times.
Monday’s DAILY Nation with the front page headline Day Of Tragedy and the subhead 2 Dead; 3 Injured; 2 Visitors Shot In The City, embellished by photographs of sobbing female relatives, powerfully drove home the extent of the personal loss to one family.
Tuesday’s DAILY Nation highlighted the vicious abuse of her 14-year-old daughter by a mother with a two-by-four piece of wood. In this age of instant communication through the World Wide Web, this act of primitive brutality went viral, instantly available all over the globe on the social networks.
Most amazingly, the caption of the accompanying photograph showed the daughter with a huge smile on her face embracing her mother. They were quoted as saying they “are not in the least bit concerned about the video”. Are these people for real? This is one of the most disgusting acts of aggravated brutality I have ever seen anywhere.
They, the centrepiece of this shameful act which has catapulted this island into international ignominy, don’t give a damn while those of us who care about the way our children are treated by parents and other adults cringe in angst and shame. I anxiously await follow-up action by the authorities.
I feel very strongly about parents abusing or brutalizing their children for whatever reason. I have two children in their mid-40s and 30s and feel extraordinarily proud of the fact that I have never once had the need or felt the urge to raise my hand at either. A changed tone of voice or look always sufficed.
The shooting of two British cruise ship passengers along Hincks Street at two o’clock Sunday afternoon was yet another wanton attack on visitors to our shores attracting significant, damaging attention from the international media. This is the most recent nail in the coffin of our struggling tourism industry, the major income generator which helped propel us to our stellar position in the United Nations Human Development Index.
The police must be commended for their quick arrest of the suspected perpetrators but the question remains, is there a sufficient law and order presence on the streets and beaches? And is the punishment meted out to the guilty commensurate with the gravity of the crime and damage to national well-being? There is a belief that the “cash-for-gold” trade is responsible for the new outbreak of violent theft. If this is correct, then I expect additional protection on the streets utilizing soldiers. Jewellery is not bought to be kept under house arrest in solitary confinement.     
There will be some disagreement with this suggestion but the welfare of all Barbadians and visitors to our shores is paramount, and no effort should be spared to maintain the atmosphere of peace, quiet and safety which is our legacy. This is the time for protective and pre-emptive action, not standing on unhelpful ceremony.
Amidst this national gloom, the 2013-14 Estimates Debate got under way in the House of Assembly, providing a welcome balm and the promise of settlement of some of the major problems which have bedevilled the country and many citizens in recent times.
Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler followed through on the call from the Barbados Labour Party and leading private sector agencies for an economic stimulus package to boost the economy with an ambitious $600 million proposal. It will come in the form of capital works projects across a number of ministries.
There will be new high-rise housing projects at The Grotto, Beckles Road and Deacons Road, the new $70 million cruise terminal at Trevor’s Way to separate cruise and cargo facilities, and the long-promised Pierhead Marina replicating similar burgeoning developments in St Peter. There is also $80 million allocated for road improvements, particularly welcome bearing in mind the high cost of vehicle parts.
It was most gratifying hearing that Government is putting the finishing touches on arrangements to resolve the highly divisive Clico debacle, settlement of the Al Barrack debt is imminent, and the $175 million University of the West Indies debt will be paid starting next month.
In the pressured tourism sector, the Minister of Finance proudly said that for the first time, GEMS hotels reported a profit, Government is about to sell the “calamitous” Four Seasons project without any National Insurance or Inter-American Development Bank liability, and a solution will be worked on to resuscitate the Almond Beach Hotel.
Buttressed by the commitment to build two new secondary schools, rural campuses for Barbados Community College and Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic, and two new bus terminals, Barbadians will live expectantly in the hope that performance will match promise.
• Peter Simmons, a social scientist, is a former diplomat. Email [email protected]

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