From right: Barbados’ Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Freundel Stuart; Minister of Finance, the Hon. Christopher Sinckler; and Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, Senator Darcy Boyce, listen attentively during yesterday’s proceedings.

Representatives from the country’s unions during yesterday’s Social Partnership meeting at the Hilton Hotel.

PM STUART: CRIME A SOCIAL PROBLEM

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart is calling for all hands on deck to deal with the crime situation in this country.

As he wrapped up the near eight-hour meeting of the Social Partnership at the Hilton Hotel yesterday evening, the Prime Minister, who chaired the meeting, contended that it is not helpful to try to politicise the issue of crime and violence because it is a social problem. His comments came against the backdrop of the recent gun violence taking place in this country, notably the incident on the Spring Garden Highway on Monday night and yesterday’s shooting in the vicinity of the Fairchild Street Bus Terminal.

He told labour, private sector and government officials gathered, that while the police and the judiciary are often criticised when things go wrong, that criticism is seldom warranted as they are on the output end of a process which begins at the input end – within our homes, schools and communities.

“Where there are failures at the input end, the output is bound to be what we are seeing. Crime has never been a legal problem; crime is always a social problem… Our homes are much weaker today in 2017 than they were in the ’50s and ’60s when a different Barbados existed and that has had implications for our schools and our communities, and we have to do some repair work if we are to be able to deal with this problem more effectively,” he maintained.

Contending that the situation did not get to the point it is at overnight, and it cannot be cured overnight, PM Stuart said there has to be wholehearted commitment to deal with the challenges head-on to help make Barbados a better place, and he is adamant all persons living in this country have a responsibility to commit to that effort. With that in mind, he gave the commitment that Government will do what is needed to discharge its responsibility to ensure that Barbadians do not “live lives paralysed by fear”, and that they can go about their normal routines without feeling that they are under attack. But, he contended that when Government has done its part, there is still an awesome responsibility held by every man and woman in this country to also play their role.

“The people who are committing these crimes were not flown into Barbados one night when we were all asleep. These are the sons and in some cases the daughters of parents that we know, who live in homes that we know, who went to school at schools that we know. So they are ultimately a reflection of some of our failings and therefore it is our responsibility to try and get all of this right,” he said. (JRT)

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