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Still much to be thankful for

rhondathompson, [email protected]

Still much to be thankful for

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DESPITE THE PERILOUS economic outlook, Barbados still has much to be thankful for as its people look with hope to a new year. We now share much in common with many of our Caribbean neighbours, particularly as it relates to the depressing state of our financial affairs. What we must ensure is that we do not follow in the many negative areas which have engulfed some of them.
We speak specifically to the issue of criminality, especially the use of guns and the rate of murders. This is an issue which has long troubled Jamaica and has become endemic there. Despite extensive use of the Jamaica Defence Force and the Jamaica Constabulary Force, crime in that country has reached unacceptable levels.
There has also been a dramatic increase in crime in Trinidad in recent years where the murder toll was close to 400 with days still to go before the end of the year. In The Bahamas, it is just shy of 111 last year. In many of the islands of the Eastern Caribbean and Guyana, the number of murders and the use of illegal firearms is at a worrisome level.
As a small region with interlocking relations in so many ways, we cannot rejoice at the level of conflict taking place.
For most Barbadians, the idea of facing the kind of economic uncertainty that has bedevilled some of our neighbours for prolonged periods is not something to associate with this country. But now we face the stark reality of very rough economic challenges for an extended period which will negatively impact on many of our citizens. Some will find it difficult to cope and will have to employ new survival techniques, especially given the lifestyles to which so many have become accustomed and will do anything to maintain.
While we may have been spared the level of murders recorded elsewhere, we have seen evidence of the illegal drug trade with its lure of a possible big and quick payday coupled with the free flow of illegal guns. Both are unwelcomed trends.
Some people who are victims of the prevailing economic hard times are wont to try anything to remedy their situation. Then there are those willing to break the laws who understand very well and know how to exploit peoples’ weaknesses. So the concerns must not only be about the growers and couriers of illegal drugs or those involved in illegal guns.
It is the corruption of people at all levels and sectors of society which we must control. This will require all our law enforcement and regulatory agencies to do their jobs without fear or favour. We can ill afford any further slide in what is right and good. Neither must we believe that “it can’t happen here”. We have too many examples all around us.

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