‘Start building stronger family units’

Before Barbados or any other island in the Caribbean can even start to look at reducing the increased levels of crime and violence, there are certain issues that need to be addressed first – one of which is that the country needs to start by building family units.

This is the belief of Marsha Hinds-Layne of the National Organisation of Women (NOW), speaking at the panel discussion on ‘Yesterday, Today, the Future: Violence in Barbados’ recently at Solidarity House.

According to Hinds-Layne, “People are saying now that we have to create stronger families, we have to create better communities and that kind of thing. I think that what we have to do is even more extensive and expansive than that. I think that in the first phase, we have to create families. We have to create communities. We have never had as a part of our historical reality a strong family structure for Barbados or in other Caribbean islands that share our historical reality. So how are we making something – that has never really been there – stronger?” she queried.

She further stated that just as the country made an effort and succeeded in creating stronger infrastructures for the country and better housing for the citizens, they also need to focus on creating stronger family units.

“What we need to do is to start to build – just as we dealt with our infrastructure, just as we dealt with our housing – we need to actually build cultural models, which can support the type of society that we want to have. So we are looking at the infrastructure on the one side that we would have dealt with, but we have not dealt with cultural change and cultural movement,” she added.

Furthermore, this is imperative because this has never been done before. “We were living in better housing, we were going to better looking schools, we had more access to health care, but when we look at the structure that we were putting all of those things on – by structure I am talking about the communities that we were building, I am talking about the family units that we were encouraging – we have not really done any work on trying to make those more effective than they ever were.”

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