The New Today

Commentary

Gang violence and violence are neither our style nor our culture

The Flying Turkey in his lyrical master class of “Grenada belongs to We” stated that we want to rebuild the Spice Isle free of drugs, wars and corruption, he also went on to say that Killing and fighting were things that we only heard about.

Even if this seems monumental based on recent activities in recent years, especially our post-Revolutionary era it is achievable because security should be like tourism, “Everybody’s business.”

Our country’s history is checked with acts of violence, and political violence as a medium for change for the better. After such actions, the country settled down in peace until such acts were repeated mainly due to the objective conditions that existed in the country.

Let me take you back to some of the major acts of political violence from as far back as Leapers Hill when the Kalinagos in defence of their territory were massacred or jumped to their deaths at Leaper’s Hill in Sauteurs, St. Patrick’s.

The Fedon Revolution was led by Julien Fedon when he freed his slaves to fight for a better Grenada and also executed many people who were part of the government.

France and Britain changed flags several times due to wars between them for our little country.

Sky Red of 1951 led by Sir Eric Matthew Gairy saw significant changes in the social structure in the country for the estate workers and the working class in general. During that upheaval, three people died in the process.

In the Grenada Social Revolution of 1979-83 led by Comrade Maurice Bishop two people died during the takeover and his People’s Revolutionary Government accumulated the most wealth for the development of our country which ended violently on the 19th of October 1983 with his execution along with other cabinet colleagues and friends. This led to the invasion of our country by the U.S.A.

Since then the political violence seems to be on the downturn and democracy has been alive and well in our country since 1984 to the present and relative political peace and stability exist.

During the 40 years, we have had acts of violence outside of the political arena which left many young men dead or losing their wrists or some major part of their hand.

For me this is very sad indeed because an act of violence, especially gang violence has no place in our society especially when our government is trying its best to repair the damage of the NNP’s twenty-three years in office which resulted in a new sector called the Poor and Venerable.

Let me take you back to the year 2008 leading up to the general elections. There were gangs existing in Grenada and especially in the Parish of St. George where young men were confined to their respective villages and a curfew was instituted around different villages before a truce was established and freedom regained again.

As I pointed out in one of the documents Grenada’s silent war is discontinued where the description is more graphic of the scenarios that took place during that time.

It only shows that gang violence and domestic violence are not our culture and our style because people like me know that that kind of activity and behaviour was non-existent during the Grenada Revolution from 1979-83.

Let us fast forward to recent times just around 20 years ago when I started working at the Night Clubs to make ends meet so to speak. It was alleged that plenty of guns were coming into the country by the way of the port.

But with the recent frequent firing of weapons in the Town of St. George, those allegations are no more allegations and what appears to be an increase in gun-related crimes is increasing based on what is reported in the local news.

That is not a good sign for our locals and visitors alike which is creating fear in our locals and visitors because today our country is trending internationally as a country to travel to.

But the recent kidnapping and hijacking of the catamaran, “Simplicity” and the subsequently murder of an American couple who are the owners of the catamaran by escapees from a police station who were deemed as high-risk inmates were given the opportunity to strike on what was a secure breach.

I want to point out that detainees cannot be treated as ordinary citizens when they’re in the lock-up for domestic crimes – they must be treated as lawbreakers waiting to go to jail.

How can we prevent as a people what appears to be the rise in gun crimes and domestic violence?

We have to become vigilant by way of observation, we have to know who is living in our surroundings and looking out for each other.

Also if you know someone who owns a car and drives at a particular speed and for some reason you notice that vehicle passed at a speed that is not consistent with the owner make a call to make sure that everything is okay.

There should be a protocol for catamarans and Yachts to leave our island and when that speed is not normal someone should be in a position to alert our Coast Guard to verify if all is well.

It seems that we need a helicopter to add to our Coast Guard to better able to deal with this crime phenomenon which has taken root in other countries around us.

Going forward, I agree with our government’s idea of staying in school until he or she is 18 years old. It is a great opportunity for the learning of a skill in the process.

Not all parents will be able to contribute to their children economically but I sincerely hope that the government will be able to subsidise the effort until the age of 18 years.

It is noble for young people to be in a position to work for their money honestly.

Finally, the statistics are not in our favour where sexual violence among women and in particular among young girls and young boys.

According to a friend of mine, it should be relativity easy to pick a nice woman if you are a half-a-decent person but please leave the children alone so they can blossom into beautiful young ladies.

The penalties should be much stiffer than what gets stiff on them. I have three boys and I hope that they feed among their companions and not on children.

Brian Lindsay-Campbell