By Neals J. Chitan
As president of Motiv-8 For Change International and a crime reduction consultant, I have been consistently speaking out and writing on the growing crime rates in the Caribbean, while strongly advocating for sustainable strategies to deal with the root causes.
Neals J. Chitan is the Grenadian-born president of Motiv-8 For Change International -- a Toronto based High Impact Social Skill Agency that is specially dedicated to the social empowerment of individuals, families and communities
If you have been reading me over the past year or so, you would have read from my pen articles like “Challenging the status quo on crime in the Caribbean
”, “Uprooting crime and violence in the Caribbean”, “Time to speak up about criminal deportees to the Caribbean
” and last month, “Jamaica the trend setter
Recently, the news media agencies of the twin island republic of Trinidad and Tobago were overwhelmingly preoccupied, covering the tragic and brutal assassination of high profile senator and law woman Dana Seetahal, a national pride of the T&T judicial system.
It would seem that the Caribbean is in a “see-saw” mode. Just a few weeks ago, I applauded the Honorable Peter Bunting, the minister of national security of Jamaica in the north, for his ministry’s crime reduction initiative that yielded a 13% drop in crime in Jamaica, when, lo and behold, Trinidad and Tobago in the south recorded the worst homicide of the century. And so, the question resounds throughout the length and breadth of the Caribbean, from the Blue Mountains of Jamaica to the Pitch Lake of Trinidad and Tobago, “Is there an antidote? Is there a way to balance the see-saw?”
As a crime reduction consultant who hails from Grenada, I am ecstatic to be the “in-between” who is equipped and ready to showcase the antidote. “What a bold proclamation,” you say! My answer is, “Why not?”
The cemeteries of the Caribbean and the world are filled with graves of people who dreamed, created and developed answers and strategies that our world needs, but were too modest and timid to make the bold proclamation. As a result, most of them have taken their ideas, concepts and inventions to their graves with them, leaving this planet no better that they met it. I shall not be one of these individuals!
What we need are individuals who are not afraid to challenge the status quo and its predictive outcomes. People who are unflinching when it comes to identifying and dismantling the so-called professional downward spirals which trap our people in their referral based systems, feeding every professional involved, while dropping especially our boys to the bottom of the social barrel, frustrated, angry and vindictive.
It will take professionals who can put a chokehold on their professional traditional sit-at-the-desk routines just buying time to retirement. We need leaders who will rise up and realize the necessity of 21st century post-modern relevance in their concepts, strategies and programs instead of sitting around manipulating the theories of ancient dead psychologists and psychoanalysts, who did not even know there was going to be a contraption called a smartphone, furthermore cater to the smartphone generation in their theories of behaviour.
And so, after my article “Jamaica - the trend setter” and seeing what happened in Trinidad and Tobago, I decided to dig deeper into the factors that may have contributed to the 13% decline in crime in Jamaica. It was then that I came face to face with some of the cutting edge concepts, approaches and strategies of the ministry of national security.
I saw “Unite for Change”, an approach that filters right through the fabric of the Jamaican society. I saw directional and inspiring statements like “a change of behaviour begins with a change of heart”. But more than anything else, I saw leadership from Minister Peter Bunting that is down to earth, relevant and bent on doing everything possible to quarantine and eradicate the social virus of crime and violence. And again I exclaimed, “Go Jamaica!”
The good news is that I am landing in Jamaica on Tuesday, May 20, 2014 and Minister Bunting has extended the courtesies and invitation to a meeting in Mandeville on May 30. Oh my goodness, can you imagine what can happen when untraditional leaders of vision really unite for change?
Yes, we can create a crime reduction strategy that can be the model for the Caribbean. Can’t wait!