Opinion: All the rage

POSTED: 09/23/11 12:35 PM

Recently we read a remark by a hunter in a book: “If this is the tourist season, why can’t we shoot them?”
This seems to be all the rage in St. Maarten these days, be it that not tourists, but locals are at the receiving end of what seems to be a never ending fusillade.
We hear nothing from parliamentarians – other than a lame request for Justice Minister Duncan to appear in a meeting together with Chief Prosecutor mr. Hans Mos and Chief Commissioner Peter de Witte.
Those meetings will not help anybody of course – they are a waste of time and energy. All the facts are on the table and they have been there for an awful long time. Everybody knows what is going on, and everybody knows what needs to be done – but nobody seems to be doing the right thing.
Okay, the government envisions a crime free St. Maarten but that is obviously a fairy tale only the author of the governing program believes in.
The bottom line is resources. We need more blue on the streets, we need camera surveillance systems and the whole technical rigmarole around it – like a control room and trained staff. If crime is really a priority, money cannot be a problem.
A priority gets first choice when it comes to allocating resources and that usually goes at the expense of other plans. So be it. But let’s stop talking and start doing.
At the same time, we know that bringing extra police and installing cameras is not going to solve crime. We have said it before and we’ll say it again: education and perspective are key issues.
Justice Minister Duncan may boast about the high level of education among the local population, but that certainly is not reflected in the locals who end up in the courthouse.
But even before education we need to offer young people a perspective. They need jobs, or at least something useful to spend their time on.
Cruel as this may sound, we have less trouble with shootings that are related to the drugs trade than with the shooting of store-owners, and business people. We do not care where these people are from: they have a legal trade and they should not live their life in fear of becoming the next victim. Other horrific crimes that we consider far more important that drug-related murders are the killing of Tiffany Reid and – let’s not forget her – Clemencia Julot.
The thing is of course – it is not possible to do something to prevent these crimes. What is possible however, is creating an environment wherein less people are inclined to commit crimes. That is a community whose members have a perspective in life. They either have a satisfying job, they follow training or an education, or they are involved in useful community work.
Anything is better than sitting under a tree doing nothing, wondering where your next meal will come from. A hungry man is an angry man, as we all know. That is not an excuse to commit horrific crimes, but giving the hungry man a perspective will certainly lead to a more peaceful society.

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