Thursday, July 18, 2024
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Amending laws to suit a modern setting

The Prime Minister of Saint Vincent was in the media some time ago blaming the judges and magistrates for not giving stiffer penalties, hence the upsurge in crime. Prime Minister Hon Ralph Gonsalves, who is also a lawyer, should know that the penalties are on the books and until such time that they are amended, the hands of the judges and magistrates are tied. This week we applaud the NDC government on the move to seek amends to the law that governs the possession of illegal firearms. It is certainly living up to its transformational agenda.

It is our hope that this will force our boys and young men to come back to a decent way of life. Gangsta life must go! Imagine being imprisoned for forty years at age 18 for the possession of an illegal firearm; that will be a sad day for every member of the family; but the time has come to use the phrase ‘who can’t hear will feel.’ The video of a young man receiving some strokes in Guyana on his naked but until it was visibly sore, should be circulated a little more. The man begged for mercy as he promised not to steal again. A survey may show that there are people who would like capital punishment to be once again used as a tool to help those who run afoul of the law. People must be taught that rules and laws are there for good reasons and thy must be obeyed.

The Dodge, when Sir Eric Gairy was prime minister of Grenada worked well. It was where delinquent young boys were kept. They attended programmes and learnt craft and other skills under strict supervision, enough to make them ‘have a change of heart.’ There was also a measure of shame that would encourage them to avoid returning to serve time at the Dodge. Then came the Revolution that condemned anything and everything done by the government led by Sir Eric Matthew Gairy. They formed an army where boys were introduced to firearms. Today some of them are receiving psychological assistance after witnessing kill or be killed in 1983.

After the revolution, the Dodge was replaced with the Bacolet Juvenile Centre. But some not so nice stories come out of there at times. Our question is ‘How do some of the young men there get the chance to run away?’ One of them even took up residence in a priest’s house at Morne Jaloux after breaking down the door. It is very strange that he knew there was no one living in that downstairs apartment.

What we are seeing these days are young men who boasts that they “have been in the jail and do not mind going back again.” Overtime, it seems that the jail has become a pleasurable place to be; especially at Christmas time. Is it because the home situation is that bad? Here we must praise the government for offering the basic amenities that can upgrade people’s standard of living. But material things are not all. Psychological assistance is seriously needed. Recent findings reveal that Grenada takes the top position in the Organisation of East Caribbean States (OECS) when it comes to households headed by women. It is believed that such homes are the nesting grounds for boys who drift off into gansta life.

With this in mind, we are calling on the prime minister to pay attention to the law on paternity. Let’s see what amendments can be made to have children brought up by their two parents. In editorials we have asked the question ‘why aren’t parents made to take up responsibility and also stand trial for their delinquent children?’ This has worked well in the past. The people who grew up in the sixties may still remember their parents warning them to behave because they (the parents) will be arrested. Innocent Belmar back then, made no joke about that. We hope that the prime minister will stay the course and continue to work on saving the young people especially men.

Let’s revisit some serious crimes committed by fairly young people in some instances which still have some of us wondering ‘how did we get there?’ A man cut off the heads of two people and took them to the police station at Grenville in a bucket. He drove all the way from Balthazar to Grenville with his eerie cargo. He is still in jail but may be out one day. Another one killed his girlfriend and covered her body with pieces of cinnamon branches. After a few days he went again to confess to the police at Grenville and led them to the body, He unfortunately died in prison. A small boy and girl were on their way home from primary school in Saint David when they were grabbed by a young man and dragged into the bushes where he raped the little girl in the tearful boy’s presence. As if that was not bad enough, according to evidence in the court he ejaculated on the girl’s face. After serving a mere six years in jail for that heinous crime, he came out and raped again, this time a tourist who he killed.

It is shocking the number of guns that were recovered from people lately. However, we think that the drug situation which is believed to be responsible for distorting our young people’s thoughts, should also be looked into if we are to rescue them from their devilish ways. Again we say ‘stay the course Mr Prime Minister!

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