The cry for help by the Police from all and sundry, should be taken seriously as this week saw some worrying issues. The two situations which involved school children touched the hearts of many and jolted us to the reality that we are now in a bad place. Two very deadly seemingly hand-made weapons were on display this week. According to the Police they were made by a Grade 6 student and brought to school to deal with another student. The students in Grade 6 are normally around eleven-years-old who are preparing for CPEA to move to Secondary School. It is a known fact that ‘boys will be boys.’ They will do sports, fight, hunt birds, fly kites, climb trees as they use their adventurous and creative spirit to explore the world around them. A young boy may even carry around a pen knife. But the nature of the weapons we saw had a lot of people asking “How did we get there?”
That same day (Wednesday) news broke of a stabbing incident at the bus terminal in Grenville as a result of a fight between Secondary School students. The child that was stabbed was taken to Princess Alice Hospital. Coming to grips with the incident, we see that we are at a place where such acts will now be committed in broad day light in crowded areas even with Police around. No more are they reserved for lonely short-cuts and so on. This must point to the consequences that such acts should bring; after all, children are sensible enough to know that their rights and freedoms come with responsibilities. Where is that kind of care-free mind-set in students coming from? There is even more reason now to take the idea of unsupervised children seriously.
In this case the Police need help and cooperation from the parents to let their children know what is not accepted as good behavior. But, then again, maybe the parents themselves need to be spurred in that direction. Parents must know that their children are their responsibility and in the event of minors going against the law, parents should stand the consequences. No parent will be happy to be called off their job to answer for a deed done by their child. Perhaps with some prodding in the right direction by the Police making an example of some parents, they will work a little harder in their role of parenting. In the event the Police do the right thing by arresting parents for misdemeanors done by their children, public outcry may follow, which will see some kind of political interference. We understand that there are counselling sessions for children who have chosen to go the wrong way. Is there a way to measure the success of these programmes?
Another issue is the seeming complacency of people as Grenada tries to come to grips with the new normal. A Superintendent recently called on the public and bus operators to assist in the drive to make sure the COVID-19 protocols are kept. He revealed his observation that organizations and groups participating in demonstrations, protest actions, vigils and other social activities are sometimes in direct violation of the Emergency Powers (COVID-19) Regulations. Well this begs the question how come no one was charged? In the early days after the announcement of COVID-19 reaching our shores, we can recall people being charged or ticketed. A young lady who posted her birthday party on social media is on the list of those charged back then. Then came a “chosen path of forbearance in enforcing the COVID-19 Regulations” by the Police who felt that “dialogue and collaboration in the context of the prevailing socio-economic realities” would work. So people have tested the system and they know how far they can go. We continue to see buses filled to capacity with not even the driver and conductor wearing masks. They drive past Wardens who themselves wear the masks under their chins. However, the Police have said that should these violations continue, the response from the RGPF will be urgent and decisive to ensure compliance with the regulations. We wait to see!
The RGPF met with and engaged the leadership of the Grenada Union of Teachers and acknowledged their error in dealing with the President. It is also reported that they apologised. Similarly, there is an ongoing endeavour to meet with other offending parties, to encourage compliance with the lawful requirements. We applaud the lawmen for that move which can only help to create a better relationship between them and the public. While it is appreciated that peaceful protest is an integral part of any practicing democracy and that there should be no attempt to unlawfully stifle or hinder the rights of anyone to exercise such freedom, it must be conducted within the parameters of existing legislative frameworks the Police have said.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister, Dr the Rt Hon Keith Mitchell continues to play a leading role in encouraging Grenadians to get vaccinated. Dr Mitchell and his Cabinet colleagues have embarked on a series of outreach efforts, collaborating with the Ministry of Health to host vaccination drives in their respective constituencies. The Prime Minister is pleased that more than 60 persons turned out to the Beausejour Community Centre to be vaccinated on Tuesday in his constituency. To date, more than 13,744 Grenadians have been vaccinated, with 5,775 receiving both doses.