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NO LAUGHING MATTER: Righting the wrongs


Mac Fingall

NO LAUGHING MATTER: Righting the wrongs

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To lock your doors is not to suggest that you are scared or that you are a coward. It is your responsibility to protect your home. If, having done your job, someone still breaks in, then so be it. But if you were negligent and someone did break in, then you would and should feel guilty and sorry for yourself – especially if there is great loss of possessions or someone is injured.

This scenario is merely a microcosm of what would happen if it were a country, for instance Barbados. Your house is in essence “your home in a bigger home”. You are expected to care and protect your home. Your house is to be prepared for any bad weather and be refurbished from time in order to counter termites and their practices, and even to keep up with modern-day styles.

Your domain is to appear physically attractive and neatly nested in clean and healthy surroundings, for this is your house – your pride and joy.

Your country should be viewed the same way for this, too, is your home. It is a bigger house which accommodates your house along with many other houses. Just as your house needs repair from time to time, so too does this big house need repair. Just as your house has to be protected with security lights and alarm systems, so too must this big house Barbados be protected.

So who is going to protect the country? Who is going to do the repair as things erode, whether by nature or otherwise? Who is going to make the necessary changes to keep up with the times?

Sadly, it appears that not too many of us are willing to make the sacrifices necessary to achieve these ends. Sacrifice was made by our ancestors for us to be in this position today and sacrifice must be made for our children to be able to have a fruitful and pleasant life.

Sacrifice must never stop. If sacrifice were to cease, we would find ourselves back in slavery. Not slavery with whips and chains as it used to be. It will be 21st century slavery but the pain will be the same – slavery to suit the times.

In Barbados there is high unemployment and people are being laid off daily, yet the Royal Barbados Police Force has 150 places that they cannot fill. Why? Are we now afraid of police work? Are we now a bunch of cowards who are afraid to confront criminals and uphold the law of the land? Or have we become so selfish that we don’t even care about the welfare of the frail and elderly? Or is it that we just don’t want to work?

Whatever the reason, this situation is not only embarrassing, but it lays a weak foundation for the “big house” for the combination of an understaffed police force and a rising criminal element is a sign that the house could become “termite-infested”. We all know the practices of termites.

I believe that we should have a special initiative on  preventing crime rather than just focusing on solving it only. This can be done as part of our school curricula. This should be taught at primary school level.

Fighting crime through “education of the now” would mean teaching more creative subjects which would include understanding priorities, the difference between want and need, having an identity, trust in black people, living a rich life does not mean that you have to have lots of money, understanding morals, self-confidence; the difference between emancipation and freedom, the commandments, manners, respect for self and others, ills of drug use, respect for the law, inventions of black people, to commit murder is to commit suicide, the meaning of integrity and so on.

When former Prime Minister Errol Barrow instituted free education, it was what was needed at the time. The masses were too far behind and something had to be done to bring them up to par. Poverty was a hindrance. As far as I can remember he did not stipulate any specific kind of education, only that it was now free. You were free to study what you wanted.

Today, the education cannot be just about English, Maths and a foreign subject. Education has to be about where we are as a people and what is needed to survive.

There seems to be a disconnect between the hierarchy and the masses. They seem to live miles apart in this little land. It is more important for the top to understand the bottom than the reverse. History will attest to this. Those in power, please pay attention to the voices and body language of those with the power.

The proletariat breeds a revolution.

• Mac Fingall is an entertainer and retired secondary schoolteacher.

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