Crime is our responsibility

| 30/09/2011

The recent gang violence has taught us one thing: that our youth have been severely neglected over the past two decades and, some would argue, over possibly an entire generation. This is one of those rare examples where just about everyone in society has the same opinion on what has occurred and the source of the problem. 

While most of us accept that some amount of additional policing, law changes and resources would help in dealing with the short term problem, we all point to a some form of "social cancer" or another as the true root of the problem.

The trouble with all this is that none of us seem to accept any form of direct responsibility; the issue is deflected as one that may be to blame on the schools, lack of education, the government and poor parenting.

The most interesting of these is the last one because ironically we tend to either point to the "other" poor parents out there, rather than looking within, or we fail to assist or mentor a child when we see a situation going from bad to worse in our own circles.

Kids need positive mentoring, role models and guidance from an early age. Parents who let their 11 year olds "hang out" until 10pm at night or, worse, have no idea where they may be should be held accountable in some way. The trouble with that suggestion is that this type interference in a family' s private life does not go down too well with most people. No one likes the so-called nanny state, and everyone wants their rights and freedoms. And that means we are all left to deal with the problems that are created later as these otherwise innocent kids go off track as part of the way they deal with neglect and a host of other issues.

It would be difficult to find anyone that disagrees with this broad assessment of the true source of our problem, but it is equally hard to see any evidence that parents are owning up to their responsibilities. The government provides policy support and funding for some programs. The schools are there to provide an opportunity for our children to learn and develop. And churches partially offer moral guidance and programs. And a host of other community and sports organisations are there to provide support.

But none of these organisations are responsible for these children. Parents are responsible for their children, and no amount of police tactics, additional resources to fight crime, or government assistance can change that.

It is time for each parent or adult guardian to own the responsibility to guide the children in their circle, one day at a time, or face the consequences.

Category: Viewpoint

Comments (27)

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  1. Name changed by moderator says:

    I do agree with the broad assertion that parents are primarily responsible for their children. But therein lies the problem. Parents are mainly responsible, but all of the society has a role to play which is just as critical. We cannot continue to be strangers living together and expect to reap the benefits of a healthy and cohesive community. If it takes a village to raise a child, then we must accept that failing children means the village has failed. Period.

    Repeating the cliche that failing parents produce failing kids is small comfort to the victims of gang violence. We need to empower parents and hold them to account. In today's society, parents are free to ignore their children and get away scot free for doing so. Who failed to demand responsibility and hold them to account? Who is going to 'parent' the parents? You are right ! The village. Us.

    So, what are we as a society going to do about it? I do believe that the new National Youth Policy and its implementation is a start. Hopefully, we will not play politics with it. Equally important is for us to stop accepting the lame excuses of our important arms of government. Yes, I am speaking of the Immigration Department, Customs, HMP, all other goverbment departments, and especially the Police. We have 400+ police officers, so what are they doing that was more important than dealing with the recent gang porblems? They said they were understaffed. That implies that they were too busy doing other, more important things, for surely it does not take 400 police officers to deal with this problem. So, what were they doing? What is more important than gang warfare breaking out in your country? The truth is obvious to all  but the perrenial ostriches among us; they do not know what they are doing. They do not get it and never have. We had this very problem last year. And this has been a cycical problem for the last fifteen years. The RCIPS has generally been absent from the game. But we allowed them to get away with it. We hired these watchmen to keep the peace in the village, so when did they get so important that they now determine what should be considered important? The village pays, so the village says. Wake up, the village!

    And, the rest of the village is just as important in delivering on their roles. We should all work together on this. Government and non-government. 

    Understand that if we continue to fail, these young people will not be young anymore. We now have two generations of gangsters with the third generation in the works. This means that we will live with the developing extortion, higher levels of crime, lowered standards of living, and general degradation of society. Your pensions will either worth less or you simply won't get it. In any case, their will be nothing to retire to. Those of us who can, will leave and we become a gang controlled society; the islands that time forgot. If you think this is impossible, then you only need to look close to home and see the power of neglect and ignorance. 

    CNS: You must be logged in if you are using your real name.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The article was very good.

    Other aspects of this issue include children being raised by a foreign helper with no authority to punish negative behavior.

    Alcohol and drug abusing families which create negative environments of physical emotional and sexual abuse.

    Single parent families or families with a single female parent with multiple children from different males where there is little to no actual parenting in the household.

    All these examples are common place in the country and simply visiting any public school will show that things are much worst than described.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Tonight I went to the cinema to see a PG 13 movie.  I watched a man come in with two young children one around 7 yrs old and the other no more than 6.  The man sat down in a seat and the young girl who was about 7 went and sat about 10 rows in front and the boy who was about 6 sat all the way in the back on his own the entire movie.  He banged on the seats and shook the entire row of seats that Iwas sitting in and disrupted the movie the entire night.  The man had no clue, nor did he care.  Any decent, loving, caring parent would have sat with his children and supervised them and instilled respect and good manners to ensure these children grow up to respect others in every environment.  I was apppalled to witness the disassociation this man displayed and immediatley thought that this is the main thing that is wrong with our society today.  People are having children for the sake of having children and do not give a damn what they turn out to be or care if they live or die.  This is a very sad and scary reality and it is no wonder that crime is such an easy option for youth today.  It fits right in with the way they are raised.  Caymanians blame yourselves……and while you're at it think about the numb nuts you have voted in to represent you.  It is no wonder we are in the mess we are in when the same parents who are ignoring their own children choose to elect brain dead representatives XXXXX………OMG…what have we come to here.

  4. Mentoring says:

    I like the focus on mentoring.  All children should have a mentor whether they have good parents or not.  A mentor should be assigned to all children once they enter the primary schools.  The child/parent/teacher can pick the mentor off of a list of volunteers.  These volunteers will come from the community.  There are many elderly people that have many good life experiences that they can pass on.  This is spoken of in another article.  There are many residents on island that would love to help.  Even one hour a week which is only four hours a month to mentor a child.  To teach them from a unique perspective in a positive manner.  Each mentor will have their own unique experiences to bring to the table which can have dramatic effects on a child.  Some of these so called gansters are really just lost children looking for attention and looking to belong. 

    Big Brothers/Big Sisters has a program in place, but maybe they should seek to expand what they are doing to mentor all kids and not only the at risk or the damaged.  What of the children that are on the brink?  Prevention is better than a cure.  If you can save the children from even swaying to delinquency then wonderful!

     

    • Anonymous says:

      What version of LaLa land do you live in?  It's a nice but ineffective suggestion.  These kids are so damaged by their parents that all of UNICEF would not be able to untangle the damage. 

  5. Teach the basics says:

    This article is calling for the village to raise the child.  That is what is needed.  If you know or see something most people think it is not their problem.  Well guess what it is!  Ignoring it has allowed things like this to develop.

     

    • Anonymous says:

      The village is broken. The whole place seems to have the same problem of abandoning responsibility and claiming entitlement to a free ride fromothers. This village will only raise more of the same until there is a major attitude adjustment.

  6. Anonymous says:

    If we give time and resources to mentoring our youth we can fix this issue. Bringing more police not likely to help a lot. Mentor the youth!

  7. Say like it is says:

    Simple and true viewpoint. We can only fix this by doing this one child at a time and if each adult, whether parent or not, steps up to mentor the kids. Courts and laws won’t fix deadbeat dads, this is a social issue that we can only fix with education of single parents about being better parents and by each person stepping up. We like to look fir a tangible solution like the police or change in law, but the article is right that the true issue is the hardest to deal with and this will only get fixed over the long term with proper education and counseling .

  8. Anonymous says:

    All fine but what exactly do you propose to do with the failing parents? That's a lost cause. Meanwhile, school at least can toughen up and there is no reason on earth to let 11 year olds roam around at night. A teen curfew could fix that.

  9. Libertarian says:

    You can never "change" somebody. You can only be an example. They must be willing to change themselves. You can only hope and pray to God that they become wise and learn from the hard lessons of life. There is no such thing as a quick fix. Who are you to try to fix somebody else when you are not setting the example?  The youngsters watch and learn what they see, hear, and experience.

  10. Just Commentin' says:

    Wow! This is the best Viewpoint piece ever!  Concise, to the point, rational, well-written, and 100% true.

     

    Brilliant!

     

    Would to God people would wake up and listen to what you are saying.

  11. Anonymous says:

    well said…it is a sad trait of caymanian culture and their politicians that they are always looking to avoid responsibility for their own problems….

  12. Anonymous says:

    One would have thought that youth mentorship programmes such as Big Brothers Big Sisters would have seen a dramatic boost in funding and volunteers from all the postings about helping our youth, but it would be my guess that when it comes to action the majority of posters fall to the wayside. Want to see crime decrease in the future? Want to preserve a better future for Cayman? Donate time or resources to programmes aimed at providing mentorship or opportunities to our youth. Quit being apathetic in your actions as you write critical comments about our society.

  13. Anonymous says:

    8:35. the thing about the bank loans is so true. this is just another example of kids having kids.

  14. Truth says:

    Castrate all prisoners and men which are showing up in court paying for three or more children in maintenance court for three or more different mothers.

    • Just Commentin' says:

      So what do we do with all the unatttached mothers with a brood of kids, often by different men?

      It takes two to tango, Bobo.

      • Anonymous says:

         Sterilize the women then!  If they have multiple children with multiple men and are in the court house claiming, have them mandated for sterilization!!!!

  15. Anonymous says:

    So true and well said. but unfortunately we need a cultural shift in this country for people to start taking responsibility. now that the economy is in a shambles maybe this will be the final wake up call. then again maybe not!

  16. Anonymous says:

    i bet if we spenth the extra 11 million properly that will solve a lot of our problems. even after the best effoprts by sopme parents we will end up with some bad apples. good policiing will not only deal with the current prob, but also deter some of these kids from behaving this way

  17. Anonymous says:

    This makes sense and I will want to see some heads roll now to get this moving now. We need to stap papmering these parents and put them under some heat or nothing will ever change.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Sorry but you cannot legislate this responsibility. how will we ever comre up with criteria in the law for whic parents to prosecute or not? and how will be police this exactly? criminalising bad parenting is just as effective as putting the youth in jail.and we all know how that turned out.

  19. anon says:

    agreed with the view. and i think we need to put this in the law to make it a reality. that wont likely ever happen so thats the problem.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Thanks, but I am tired about reading the same message in black, read, green, white and pink!

    I think by now we all can agree and realize that parents are just not so good at parenting anymore (well – at least a whole heap of them!).

    Calling for parents to be parents, for girls to stay away from gangsta boyfriends and from, men to just breed left right and center hasn't been very productive.

    Unless we begin with serious pro-active messures we will be discussing the same thing 20 years from now.

    We need to:

    1. Hold parents legally and financially responsible for their children under the age of 18. Unlesss parents are put in jail for "child neglect or failure to supervise their children" and made to repay financially any damages their children may have caused, nothing will change

    2. The country needs to create a profile of children who are likely to end up on the wrong path. Those children need to be actively encouraged to spend their time productively (sports, musics, arts, community work etc.)

    3. Men need to be held responsible for paying child support. The court should have authority to deduct maintenance from a pay check. If they don't hold a job, impound their car, jewelry, flat screen TVs, computer etc. and sell it off, proceed are to cove child maintenance. Same applies to women who fail to support their children.

    4. Banks need to stop giving loans to people who can barely afford to pay them back. You don't need a brand new SUV, or a boat or whatever if you don't earn a certain salary. If you can not afford it, YOU CAN'T HAVE IT. It is really that simple! If you want it badly, get a second job and save your money until you can afford that car.

    Those are just a few suggestions, but if we want change, we need to change the parameters and it even may inconvenience a few of us along the way. So be it.

    • Anonymous says:

       Agree with most of what u say. but we already have tons of programs for kids. the issue is that no one is taking time to mentor them at all. running up and down on afootball field or bacsketball court without any guidance or leadership and without knowledge of how to handle children or instill positive principles in them wont matter one bit. so we need the indivoduals involved to start paying attention and doing the mentoring (in addition to the coaching etc). This has to come down to the individual level and it can work if we start from a very early age. if we actually do this from early on, we will avoid most of those other issues re gangsta, boyfreinds etc. childern learn habits. we can't ignore them and depend on the courts or jail to fix them and us later on.  

    • village idiot of Absurdistan says:

      I agree with all of your comments and will forward my post that i placed under Ozzys Viewpoint which I believe serves a purpose in this discussion too:

       

      A few questions I ponder when reading a piece like this:
      How many current and former politicians have been arrested for violence, drunkeness or being disorderly? Role models for whom? 
      We talk about the good ol'  days a lot. When did the trend of dead beat Dads start? Was it a decade ago, two decades ago, maybe 5 decades ago? How engrained is this in the local culture? How come it is rarely spoken to- is it accepted that easily? I would like to see an article written to explain the actions of men who freely father children with numerous women and then have virtually nothing to do with them. 
      I would like to hear from teachers with regards to Parent Teacher days- how often do Dads attend? What is the ratio of moms to dads?