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We need some questions answered

Rev. Malcolm Gibbs-Taitt

We need some questions answered

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IN THE MIDWEEK NATION of August 19, a spokesperson for the Anglican Commission on Advocacy and Social Justice has dismissed a view which links increased crime to a depressed economy.

It might be prudent to know what a depressed economy is. An answer could very well be: a state of the economy resulting from an extended period of negative economic activity as measured by the GDP. It is often described as a more severe form of a recession that leads to extended unemployment, a spike in credit defaults, broad declines in income and production, currency devaluation and a deflationary economy.

Does anyone seriously doubt that this economy has resulted in high unemployment, credit defaults, declines in real take home income and loss of production by companies?

The spokesperson further goes on to say that linking crime to a depressed economy is a simplistic view. The other words that one can associate with simplistic are naïve, unsophisticated, crude, basic and simple-minded.

No, an alternative to simplistic is sophisticated, so let us look at the alternatives the spokesperson put forward.

He calls for an At Risk Youth Project, a call for Government “to increase the emoluments of all police officers as soon as Barbados’ economic circumstances improve”. He further appeals to the private sector to fund a University of the West Indies (UWI) study on the factors contributing to crime in Barbados.

Will the At Risk Youth Project be run by the youths who are at risk or by people who will pontificate on the youth? The call for Government to increase police officers’ pay – is this a suggestion that officers are not doing enough to prevent crimes because of the state of their pay? Will paying police officers more increase greater captivity and alacrity? Is it all right for all public servants to deserve an increased income, since 2009, in spite of ever increasing taxation?

There is less criticism of the suggestion that the private sector funds a study at the UWI, as this may be helpful to both the private and public sectors. But there is the temptation to ask, why should the Government, which collects tax revenue, not fund the study? Or, is it all right for Government to collect taxation and not treat to it, as is the case with fees meant for tertiary institutions? These questions deserve to be answered.

– Rev. Malcolm Gibbs-Taitt, director general, Barbados Consumers Research Organisation Inc.