Nip it in the bud

The first month of the new year, January, had not fully run its course before we witnessed a spate of disturbing incidents unfolding in Grenada. Disquieting occurrences, that if left unaddressed, and given an opportunity to establish a trend, could potentially demoralise the core of our society.

Recently, the world was exposed, courtesy of a cell phone camera, to the most upsetting sight of a civilian resisting lawful arrest by violently head butting and punching a uniformed policeman in the middle of St. George’s, in ‘broad daylight’.

My heart goes out to the police officer who doggedly held onto the perpetrator and insisted on making his arrest, even whilst suffering a vicious and prolonged physical assault on his body. I admire him for answering the call to duty, and for successfully carrying out his mandate. I wish him the very best.

A young mother of two was brutally murdered in the village of Red Mud on her way to work. Then a driver was punched in his vehicle by a passerby because of a minor traffic infringement, again in the heart of the city.

The Gentleman assaulted in his car happens to be a sitting parliamentarian. And there have been too many public vehicle (bus) accidents recently that caused grievous injuries.  In some cases, it appears that excessive speed and or reckless handling of the vehicles by their operators, played decisive roles in the mishaps.

These events were not incidents occurring in larger crime-riven countries like Trinidad or Jamaica, but in little Grenada.  One of our country’s most recognisable and admired attributes, our peacefulness and long standing reputation of being a virtually crime free nation, is under threat.  We must nip this non-conformity to law and order and recognition of rules in the bud, before it spreads further. If we do not control our society’s evolution, the consequences could be far reaching.

It is my opinion that the police force in Grenada do a good job of protecting our society. Like any organisation tasked with a multiplicity of duties, they sometimes fall short. But we must remember that they are the same people we call on whenever we find ourselves in difficulties, and need help.

So we must not only respect the members of the police service, but support them in their duties whenever we can.

I expect the usual calls for the Government, the police authorities, the churches and civil society organisations to step up their efforts at addressing the glaring disciplinary problem at hand. But it goes much further than this. Each and every one of us has to shoulder some responsibility for what is happening in our nation, by teaching and advising those among us who apparently don’t know better.

We are up against powerful forces, led by the effects of foreign television and some forms of violence prone music that flood our nation’s airwaves, significantly influencing young fertile minds, perhaps without sufficient censorship restrictions.

I believe that the people in our country carrying out these unsavoury acts, are in the minority, numbers wise. And hope is alive. Because I noticed two positive aspects during the police assault incident. The crowd on the scene seemed, by their remarks, to be openly sympathetic to the assaulted officers’ plight. And it was in fact a civilian passerby who assisted the besieged officer in taking down his assailant, eventually.

I would imagine that the second police officer present at the melee had some questions to answer to his superiors, particularly why he considered his role in the matter to be that of an observer of the unfolding fracas.

Lastly, if given the opportunity, I would pose the same question to the attacker of the policeman, that I would address to the second police officer.  I would ask both of them, “just what were you thinking?”

Roger Byer
Morne Jaloux
St. George.

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