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Letter: Crime and violence continues until... Part 1
Published on August 24, 2017 Email To Friend    Print Version

Dear Sir:

The CBC radio programme Q FM’s Walter-Point-Two of Sunday, August 6, with the Attorney General Mr Adriel Brathwaite as a guest, caught my attention. The focus of the discussion was the ongoing violence and crime, not only in Barbados but across the Caribbean. The issues of whether or not marijuana should be decriminalised and the high number of young men in prison were also heavily debated.

I listened intently to the programme and paid attention to what was being said. As a person who experienced a short spell in prison in England I was interested to hear the comments of the attorney general, with whom I am presently in communication, along with the chief justice, on behalf of a number of inmates at HMP Dodds concerning matters of their human rights. However, it was on receiving news that the woman that was shot in her leg at Fairchild Street, Bridgetown, on Friday, August 11, was one of my nieces that I knew it was time for me to let my views be known on the matter of violence and crime. It is appropriate for me to make a few points, which I believe would help in addressing some of the reasons for the rapid increase in violence and crime.

My comments are in two parts, the first part is the problem; the second is the solution.

I have taken note that there are persons who often call the daily programmes making some very unintelligent comments. For instance, a comment was made to John Lovell on Friday, August 11, CBC Talk programme from a caller who said: “The worst thing that has happened to humankind on planet earth is human rights,” or words to that effect.

As a longstanding human rights activist I could not believe my ears when I heard what the caller said on the 9:00am programme. It prompted me to do a search for his telephone number but I could not find a John Kellman. This person is a regular caller and had been a panelist on the programme, so I immediately called CBC to get his number because I wanted to engage this intelligent former social worker on the unintelligent statement as I understand it to be.

I listened to the repeated programme at 11:30pm and became more appalled at hearing the statement a second time. The reason why I was appalled is because of a response from Mr Lovell when another caller asked him if he supports bringing back the cat-of-nine tails, to which Mr Lovell said yes, and that he also want hanging to be restored. This same question was also put to the attorney general on the Sunday by the same caller.

To expose the futility in some of these uninformed remarks I am making the following points for all Barbadians to consider:

1. To understand why there is such violence and crime in Barbados and why such anti-social behaviour is usually committed by black people against black people there is a need to revisit history that would shows how our African DNA was tampered with for 211 years (1627 to 1838).

2. The evidence available suggests that every black family in Barbados went through a process of social conditioning, changing us from an African people who were honest, loving, community minded and caring to become thieves, liars and beggars. It is as if our people were being transformed into becoming a nation of prostitutes (female and male).

History shows that the prison system in Barbados started out from 1627 as an open prison for black people, when ten Africans who were captured at sea from a rival ship, arrived on the island, on the same ship with the first Englishmen. For various reasons yet to be confirmed, there were no indigenous people on the island at the time.

Throughout the period from 1627 to 1838 the white plutocracy who claimed the island for the Royal Family were allowed to do as they wish with black people. Over the years thousands of black people were killed or maimed by white people, some for pleasure, many more for trivial matters and others because they had stolen, lied or attempted to escape or begging to survive. However, there is little or no evidence that white people were ever whipped for their crimes and, one may ask, how many were hanged in Barbados for killing black people during that period of 211 years?

After the open prison was decommissioned in 1838 because of fear of social uprisings, following the 1816 Bussa slave rebellion, another prison came into existence 17 years later. HMP Glendairy was built in 1855 as a closed prison. For 150 years (1855 to 2005) Glendairy was notorious for use of the cat-of-nine tails and hanging, until it was decommissioned due to another social uprising in prison. Many persons were whipped with the cat-of-nine tails and were hanged at HMP Glendairy.

Similarly, like the period from 1627 to 1838 there isn’t or little evidence to show that any white person had been whipped with the cat-of-nine tails or faced the gallows. These dehumanizing acts were reserved only for black people. Does this appear as an ongoing genocide plot against black people or is Barbados still a slave colony?

Therefore, my question to these intelligent persons of Barbados who continually ask for the cat-of-nine tails and the death penalty to be restored is, can you foresee a white person ever being beaten with the cat-of-nine tails or being hanged in Barbados?

The Barbados Slave Code Act of 1661 denied slaves even basic rights guaranteed under English common law, such as the right to life. It required slave masters to provide each slave with one set of clothing per year, but set no standards for slaves' diet, housing, or working conditions. It allowed the slaves' owners to do entirely as they wished to their black slaves, including mutilating them and burning them alive, without fear of reprisal.

Throughout British North America, slavery evolved in practice before it was codified into law. The Barbados Slave Code of 1661 marked the beginning of the legal codification of slavery whereby black people were not considered human being, but chattels. The Barbados Slave Code influenced every colony within the British Empire.

To survive those horrible conditions our foreparents had to steal, lie and beg. Today the legacy of that history is within all of us, consciously or unconsciously. It continues to affect us not only in health through the non-communicable – or chronic – diseases of long duration and generally slow progression of which the four main types are cardiovascular diseases (like heart attacks and stroke), cancer, or respiratory diseases such as obstructed pulmonary disease, asthma and diabetes that affect us. There is also being untruthful, stealing and begging, distrusting and killing each other, which are some of the main problems.

The above is the foundation of the problem as to why violence and crime will continue!

Part 2: My ideas of the solution.

Rev. Buddy Larrier
Reads: 2269

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