Breaking the cycle

| 21/09/2011

The recent events in West Bay have shaken the entire population of these Islands to the core. Everyone is frustrated and angry and this frustration and anger seem to spill over into further hatred being fueled.

Whilst we are all busy pointing fingers at the parents of these gangsters, their families, the teachers who passed them through school despite clear lack of certain abilities, the police, the government, the governor, more kids are being pulled into the vicious cycle of joining a gang and nothing is done to prevent this as everyone just focuses on the here and now. Thinking “long-term” and “big-picture” seems to have been a constant struggle in these Islands.

You may say that some of the recent shooters and victims were not children but clearly those guys weren’t born violent and did not become who they are (or were) overnight. Most likely, they have associated and identified themselves with this kind of gangster lifestyle for quite some time, and perhaps it was even something that they have observed within their own families and in their own backyard.

Unfortunately, we cannot assume that the families of these gangsters actually care about what is going on. Yes, there may be some who had a loving family and all, but it is likely that a lot of those families cannot even help themselves, never mind their offspring or other family members. I think we all can agree that proper upbringing goes a long way, but at the same time a bad childhood does not provide an excuse for someone to live a life of crime. We all have made statements how “children should stop having children”, but those statements alone haven’t really been that effective. So the fact remains that we as a society have to realize and accept that there are some children who never get the care and guidance they need at home and that some of these children will at one stage walk a very thin line between growing up to be successful and responsible members of the community or taking the coward’s way out and joining a gang, leading a criminal petty life and facing potentially a very untimely death. That’s where the cycle needs to be broken.

Positive distractions

The police, schools and government need to compile thorough statistics on the criminals and their background (age, gender, family history, neighborhood, etc.) and develop a profile. Children who fit this “profile” need early intervention and be re-directed towards other activities. They need to be actively recruited for after school programs and receive the motivation and guidance from counselor, teachers, church members etc. I am not very familiar with a lot of the afterschool activities available for children who do not have the means or motivation from their family to join those programs, but I don’t recall ever hearing about any of the churches (despite all the funding they constantly receive) going actively out and recruiting kids to join a basketball team or a literacy course. Handing out a flyer to advise kids of their options to join certain programs is not enough – gangs conduct active recruitment, so we need to actively recruit the kids to go down the right path.

Sending a message

Children who are already noticed causing trouble in high school should undergo a trip to prison, be shown the facilities and experience a couple of minutes “lock-up” in the dark. This may give them a good first impression of what is to come their way. If a child continues to be trouble, they should be taken to visit a morgue, observe a dead body and assist with digging a grave at the grave yard.

Limiting exposure

The other day I drove past the high school and observed that a couple of guys were hanging out outside the schools, not dressed in school uniforms and wearing the typical “gangsta” style with the jeans hanging down and flashing some bling. I was shocked to see that this went on right outside the school and was seemingly accepted as several school employees, faculty members and parents passed without any intervention. Would it not be possible for the police to be there when high school lets out, observing the area and haul off any suspicious looking individuals?

Enforcing the law

The amount of traffic offenses committed by a big percentage of the population is appalling. Children grow up to see their parents speeding, parking in handicapped parking spots, tinting their windows beyond the allowed level with absolutely no consequences to those offenses. Obviously, those children are going to grow up and ignore the laws and regulations in the same manner. I believe it gives a child a long lasting impression when they are riding in the car and the parent is being pulled over for speeding or not having the baby strapped in a car seat. That’s when they learn that the police do have certain authorities, is there to uphold the law and if you break the law there are consequences. Just hearing about it in school is not good enough.

Forcing fathers to step it up

I observed that a lot of recent bloggers have asked for the mothers to do the right thing and hand their sons over to the police. There was no mention of the fathers doing the right thing, so it seems that as a society we have already accepted that a lot of fathers are just not around. Whilst nobody can be forced to “love” a child and provide guidance, at the very minimum parents can be forced to provide financial care for their children. I was shocked when I learned over the last couple of years how little the court orders a father to pay for child maintenance. The court seriously needs to step it up and hold fathers responsible to contribute to the financial care of their children. Child maintenance needs to be deducted by the court from the fathers pay check and paid to the child’s caretaker (mother, grandparents, for example). If a father continuously neglects payment, they need to go to jail. If someone is unemployed, they need to receive assistance for employment, otherwise, they need to do community work (such as pick up garbage along the road side, sort garbage at the dump, sweep the street).

Whilst these suggestions may not be the solution for the current crime wave, I strongly believe that unless we try and interfere from a young age, more and more children will be lead down the path towards a criminal life and our country will slip further away from us.

Category: Viewpoint

Comments (21)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    An observation also — the Cayman church lobby is quite powerful but I notice that they use that influence for very select issues:

    The Cayman churches are silent to preventative action.  The Cayman churches are silent to the rampant sex abuse and incest in Cayman homes. The Cayman churches were most publicly vocal on the issue of gays not gaining human rights in the constitution, even if that means everyone in the country gets less protection as well.  The Cayman churches are silent on the plight of the disabled and elderly.  The Cayman churches do not use their political influence to get the desperately-needed mental health facilities or juvenile detention facilities.  The Cayman churches are silent on the domestic violence in the homes these misguided children are being raised in.  They spend their collection on building funds and shutters, but not ONE of them that took millions from McKeeva's Nation Building slush fund put a dime towards an after-school programme to help kids off the streets, do homework and have a safe place between 3-6pm from gangs, drug dealers and other predators and negative influences – they bought land, improved their buildings and installed shutters.

    But now its good public relations for the church 'flock' to have public prayer meetings. And this also returns a favour to their generous benefactor policitians – by reinforcing the message to voters that its not the policitians’ fault: police and security falls under the Governor.  But if all the Government can do is organise prayer meetings in response to the country’s crime problem, this is UNACCEPTABLE.  

    With respect, "Prayer" is not an effective crime-prevention strategy! If the prayer meeting does not work, then what – nothing?

    Now that these kids we neglected and ignored are starting to act the fool, the churches are so out-of-touch and ineffective, so even though the effort is likely pointless, hey, they will say that they ‘atleast tried’ something right?

    What bothers me about Cayman churches is that they do not use their considerable influence to address the social problems in a more meaningful or direct way.  I do not doubt that if the Cayman churches were vocal about the ongoing need for mental heath facilities for example, that the government would ignore them. Yet, these long standing social needs have existed for years are still not being addressed. Same with the juvenile detention facilities. Same with the sex abuse.  Same with drug rehab facilities. Same with sex education in schools. And on and on.  Why not demand these problems be addressed and finally put in place – for the longer term?

    • truth says:

      Cayman Churces are just that.  As with all things Cayman  they are special only to those who are Caymanian and to change them into something "other" than what they are would be traitorist.  Cayman Christianity teaches self over others (hence the nation building payoffs) "other" Christianity teaches "others" before self.  Why do you think things are the way they are in Cayman?  And of course all the others know that if you don't like it then…………..

  2. Anonymous says:

    You all have finally figured the problem but its only a portion of the problem. Why but why do girls pick the wrong guy? Why do they want to go with a guy who is going to leave them? Why are other girls trying to get the same guy? Who in turn is going to do the same thing to them also. Do we have a new culture? Has it been going on for years? Is it class oriented? Do they want something exotic ? Why not pick the guy who has a future? A car that is not a racing machine,  a house.  a degree,  a man who exudes responsibility. Even if they marry the right guy they still not happy, they still looking for that same guy.

  3. Castor says:

    These "shooters" and "Shootees" shouldn't be referred to as gangsters, they are criminals of the worst kind.

    • Anonymous says:

      I total agree these thugs should not be glamorised by giving them these headline grabbing titles. Call them what they are – thugs – yobs – scum – morons take your pick. It is up to the local media to stop this now, and I would ask that CNS be the first.

  4. E.E. says:

    I am reminded of a Viewpoint that was posted approximately one year ago by a person who called himself Gig. It's a revelation into our gang situation when you had people at the time, saying Cayman had no gangs. See Viewpoint here: – http://centos6-httpd22-php56-mysql55.installer.magneticone.com/o_belozerov/31115drupal622/viewpoint/2010/03/08/synopsis

  5. Anonymous says:

    People, please do not bring jail into your comments. Cayman jail -is all expenses paid retreat.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Your write: "Unfortunately, we cannot assume that the families of these gangsters actually care about what is going on."  The really unfortunate thing is that nobody seems to have engaged (well it has not been reported anway) the parents, brothers, and sisters of the murdered gang victims to try to understand what went wrong in their wasted lives.  If anyone can throw some light on the issues of how young men get caught up in gang warfare it's the relatives.

  7. Whodatis says:

    As an example …

    (Apologies for the multiple postings.)

    We are now seeing many young Caymanian women calling for a stop to the violence and even forming organisations with this agenda as its foundation. Some have also been touched personally by the effects of serious crime in our community and my heart does go out tothem.

    Although I see merit in their efforts, I am also a bit skeptical, for lack of a better word, because I grew up amongst many of these women and I know (plus it is clear to see) the types of men that these women CHOSE to involve themselves either sexually or romantically.

    Some of these men were the worst of the worst when we were growing up and it has to be said that these women should have expected a great deal of turbulence in their future as a result of the their choices.

    Personally, I have purposely cut off contact from many a young female acquaintance simply because of the caliber of man she has selected. Not because I now consider her as below me or unworthy, but simply because I cannot be bothered to risk the chance of "Mr. Hot Headed Thug" feeling the need to "defend" the simple act of me saying "hello" to "he gyal".

    I understand that some women find such acts of male aggression as "romantic" or "sexy" (rolls eyes) – but properly functioning, adult individuals consider it as extremely immature and pathetic – and as the older generation says … "show me your company …" (we all know the rest).

    In closing I would like to leave a bit of helpful advice forthe young "ladies" in the room.

    * If you happen to be dating and or having sex with (hopefully you are not confusing the two very distinct realities) a particular young man, but you have the slightest hesitation in regards to bringing that man to meet your grandmother or to the staff Christmas party … then you may want to reconsider your selection.

  8. Whodatis says:

    Kudos to "Sweet Pea" for a very well written and presented post.

    However, my comments are directed to the issue regarding the fathers  – or perhaps moreso the mothers – in this equation.

    WHEN ARE WE GOING TO HOLD OUR YOUNG CAYMANIAN WOMEN ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR ACTIONS?!

    It takes TWO people to have sex and make a baby – however, all we ever hear do is point fingers at the young "men".

    What about the little "fast-a$$" hoochie mommas that are plauging this island today?

    Life has taught me that WOMEN CONTROL SEX and are the ultimate deciders of who "gets some".

    Our young Caymanian girls / women are CHOOSING to have sex with and bring forth the bastard children of these IDIOTS!!

    This type of "thugged out" young male has absolutely NO INTENTION of being a responsible and caring father in most instances – for goodness sake, he has obviously failed at supporting himself as an upstanding member of society! How then can we possibly expect such losers to be decent and respectable fathers?!

    Most critical of all is the question of why are our young women so sexually attracted to these disgusting creatures in the first place?

    I understand that by tradition everyone rallies around a young mother because she is commonly seen as a victim and of course a "MOTHER" and must be supported and never criticized – but I for one call "foul" on this approach.

    This only serves to encourage other and younger girls to believe that there are no serious consequences to running around and making babies with such pathetic excuses for "men".

    Are we understanding that in many instances the "good guy" does not stand a chance in the dating / sex pool between the ages of 16 – 24?

    Do we realize that young women from all walks of life and backgrounds are playing a role in this very disturbing trend within our young generation? (Just take a quick survey within your workplace and you will see evidence of what I am saying – I guarantee you.)

    Until we get serious in regards to this particular element of the equation then we will never see positive change in this ridiculous predicament that we currently face.

  9. Anonymous says:

    who cares?…. let them at it……

  10. Anonymous says:

    That's why the baby fadda needs to go to jail if they cannot make the monthly child maintenance payment and perhaps their bling and fast cars need to be impounded and sold off by the authorities and those funds set aside for the child maintenance.

    In a lot of other countries, there is no way that you can claim you don't have money to pay child maintenance but you are running a brand new SUV up and down the road! The problem here is that as society we have accepted and are now already anticipating that a lot of fathers are just going to not play their part. What message does this send. Failure to pay child maintenance should be (if it is not already) a criminal offense.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Where in my letter did I suggest that we should leave the current criminals on the street?

     The message that I am trying to get across is that whilst tackling the current situation we need to simultaneously implement meassures to prevent the grooming of further criminals

    In Cayman we continue to focus on the fires only and never think long therm. That's why we are now where we are at. As some bloggers have pointed out correctly, the writing has been on the wall for a long time. If action would have been taken then, we may face a different situation today. So now we are once again faced with not only dealing with the current emergency, but also implementing some meassures to hopefully avoid further boosts in gangs.

    We can implement all the laws we want, but that doesn't necessarily result in more capture and conviction, so I would put my bet on prevention rather than reaction.

  12. Anonymous says:

    The first step has to be passing tough new laws and imposing tough new enforcement so that we get the criminal role models permanently off the streets. That way the criminals will not be doing the "recruiting" that you talk about.

    • Anonymous says:

      I totally agree, but don't believe for one minute that no new criminals will spring up if all the current criminals are removed, unless you simulatenously implement some prevention meassures aimed on keeping kids on the right path instead of ignoring that a problem exists whereby parents are just not parents nowadays.

  13. Anonymous says:

    What if the mother doesn't want the father around because then he will teach the child exactly how to be a ganster and then the mother has to spend the two weeks that she has the child that what the child was taught on the weekend is not the way to become a productive member of society. 

    The weekend visits are spent, sitting at home, playing video games, or just watching tv.  Feeding the kids food aka snacks.  Nothing healthy for the brain, nothing healthy for the body.  Taught nothing more than bad mannerisms and poor attitudes.

    These women left the men (children mentally) because they obviously woke up and realised this is not the life they want.  Then are forced to have their child see this type of behaviour and see that mummy can do nothing about it. 

    Solutions and suggestions please, the community needs all the help it can get.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree that some mothers may not want the fathers to be around physically for good reason, however, that doesn't justify why a father cannot be held financially responsible in the upbringing of his children.

      Perhaps if the courts would be cracking down on this matter and some fathers may be sent to jail for failure of paying child support, those men would consider the use a condom the next time. There are usually only two place a man hurts – his ego and his wallet!

       

    • Anonymous says:

      Simple answer. Young women (and these days, older women) before you give yourself up to some thug, consider whether or not you want him to be the father of your child.

       

      If not, keep your legs closed and run in the other direction. Two minutes of sex is not worth the following 18 years of misery.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I agree with your observation that in part of society, from politicians on down, ignoring or breaking the law is an acceptable way of doing things. They believe that achieving the ends they want by breaking the law is justified.

    I also agree that social engineering could be part of the long term answer to keeping wayward children from joining gangs, but we need also need a solution now for the 2 or 3 generations of thugs we already have.

    The thugs terrorising our community need to be removed from our streets, stigmatised, locked up so that they cannot recruit, and their real life style made to look very unappealing. Having today's children understand the wrath of a society reacting to the threats of criminals is a good thing in my view.

    It is ridiculous to suggest that we should leave the criminals on the street so that we can compete with them for the childrens attention. We need to remove the bastards so that they do not corrupt the young.

    It is also naive to think that the courts can order the criminals to pay more. Most of baby fadda thugs that sport gold chains and drive fast cars have no normal jobs and no legal income that the courts can seize.

    • Anonymous says:

      Confiscate their gold chains and fast cars.  Cash for Gold=child maintenance.  Sell car for cash =child maintenance