Multipronged approach needed to solve plague of crime
The gruesome news headlines that have greeted us daily over the last few weeks paint a grim picture of a people, straining to burglar-proof their lives against a growing barbarism. This crime plague is leading our nation down the path to savagery. Indeed, the scourge of crime has become like a painful abscess, spreading deep within communities and festering through every sphere of life.
Nevertheless, I wish to remind all that this problem did not begin yesterday. The deep wounds of such gross disrespect to humanity and for the sanctity of life have been inflicted with the weapon of greed, inculcated by a system of abundance in the early '80s. This inordinate desire to claim what others own has resulted from a breakdown of family values and spirituality, qualities that are no longer consistent with life and living today. No longer are resilience and independence the practised measures to acquire and attain fulfilment. Instead, easy snatching of assets from others, as well as life, gets the same job done.
Greed and wants have also become embedded in our system since the days of the oil boom. Those years of apparent affluence, which may have proven to be quite beneficial to the nation's economy, have however created a culture of voraciousness that has birthed the monsters of materialism and dependency; their sharp tentacles continue digging into the heart of a people and quickly eroding the ethical and civil existence in this land.
To date, our nation has witnessed various ministerial measures that have been applied by governments, past and present, to arrest the problem of crime. Yet the killings and other lawlessness continue unabated. Despite the many crime initiatives, the mayhem abounds, putrefying every corner of our soil.
Most certainly, the solution to this scourge lies in a multipronged approach and must actively engage the attention of all the major institutions of social change. I refer to the home, schools, community, religious institutions, service-oriented organisations and the media, all of which must work together to combat this contagious disease and purify our land. A paradigm shift is most urgently required among all, so as to effect any positive change.
The family is the basic unit of every society, and as long as all components of this unit are working harmoniously, all will be well. Once there is degeneration, as can be seen today, the foundation of society becomes weakened and the entire societal structure is flawed. Therefore, much effort must be focused on the continuous building of families. In addition to the regular hampers and other physical conveniences, a combined effort of the social, psychological and spiritual spheres must be facilitated. Activation of appropriate networking of all the necessary bodies would, indeed, effect some positive outcome.
No longer can the church, mosque and mandir be a place of worship only. These institutions should be the heartbeat of all communities, working collaboratively with other agencies in facilitating the all-round development of residents.
No longer in our nation's schools can teachers consider their role in the classroom to be merely academic, for theirs is a most critical one today, in the nurturing and enrichment experience of their charges. Their example is the most effective teaching tool. Walking images of civic-mindedness, high moral standards, equanimity, empathy and care can do wonders for the level of discipline in schools. No room will there be for absenteeism. Only then can true learning really take place. Only then can any dent be made in the minds of the budding criminal.
As a most effective agent of change, the media's role in reducing crime is a most potent one. The visual impact created by the electronic and print media can be most instrumental in nurturing a criminal or a caring citizen. Most certainly, its role is to project the truth. However, this can be done in many positive ways.
Indeed, our people, our once pure environment, our dear Mother Earth, are all screaming for change. I appeal for a combined and concerted effort from all to free us of this affliction of crime and return our blessed land to the pristine glory it once experienced.
Paramacharya Pt Hardeo Persad
Spiritual Head SWAHA