Categorized | Editorials

P.M. Christie’s Confession

Today, the word in the wind is to the effect that, “…The United States Department of State has rated the crime threat level in New Providence in The Bahamas as “critical” and “high” in Grand Bahama…”

The Embassy also notes that “…New Providence Island, in particular, has experienced a spike in crime that has adversely affected the traveling public… Armed robberies, property theft, purse snatchings, and general theft of personal property remain the most common crimes against tourists. There has been a dramatic increase in general crimes in 2011.”

Evidently, there is a criminal element in this country that cares less whether they destroy the very basis upon which this country now stands; termite-like they are chewing away at this nation’s innards.

This is a tragedy for us all.

As Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie now concedes: “This is no longer about winning votes…It’s about stopping the slaughter on our streets and putting criminals behind bars…we are in a crisis that calls for immediate, resolute and sustained action.”

The quote referenced flowed recently flowed from the lips of the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie as he sought to respond to this nation’s deep dalliance with crime.

Were things as easy as the prime minister might now think, the fact remains that crime – in its myriad of expressions – is woven deeply into the social fabric of today’s apparently ‘modern’ Bahamas.

It necessarily follows that the prime minister’s fervent call for immediate, resolute and sustained action might amount to little more than a good man’s hope that things could go somehow or the other begin to go the way he wishes.

This will not happen because this is surely not the way things happen in the real world.

As the Hon. Dr. Bernard J. Nottage would have us all know: “…We are, like the prime minister said, in a crisis…but we are fooling ourselves if we think because we became the government it’s going to change overnight. It’s not. We are going to be very aggressive though, and over the course of the next month or so you will see us introducing a number of new strategies, some of which were not detailed during our election campaign.”

The man is absolutely correct.

Crime [as we know it] is rooted in a political economy and set of social structures that are considered unjust by very many of our people; thus their contempt for the life and property of their fellow-Bahamian.

In more recent times, this contempt for the rule of law has so morphed that some in our midst routinely make their living from ripping off tourists.

There is also that other culture and that other set of social circumstances that conspire to both sanctify and legitimize law-breaking; with the reference being to that feral underworld that is populated with thousands of people [many of them undocumented] who make their way under the radar of official sanction.

In addition, there are all those other instances where so very many of this nation’s moralizing institutions are clearly failing and where they have been transformed into the social equivalent of a malevolent Ponzi-scheme.

There is no easy fix for the social ills we now face. Today’s crime problem is nothing more and nothing less than an expression [in hard times, no less] of troubles whose seeds were planted in time’s past.

There is also no evidence currently available to suggest that crime – as expressed on our streets, in this nation’s suites and in the hearts of our people – is a matter that can or should be pinned on any one party or any one administration.

But granted the way we do our politics – there will always be that temptation for this or that party to demonize its opponents in order to win votes; thus Prime Minister Christie’s recent and also tacit admission that this sometimes happens.

Echo responds as echo always does in words spoken by this nation’s newest Chief: “This is no longer about winning votes…”

Crime –as we know it- can be analyzed from a perspective that is macro-social and transnational; from a perspective that is regional or national; or for that matter from a perspective that is localized to this or that neighborhood – or when the chips are down, to the level of the household.

And paradoxically, some of the votes cast in the last general elections were cast by electors who are well-known to the police.

This is but one of life’s ironies in today’s Bahamas.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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