EDITORIAL: ‘Walk the Walk’. Don’t just ‘Talk the Talk’

By anguillian May 22, 2017 10:05




Anguillians deplore many things but yet many of these things continue to plague our communities. Littering, the exploitation of young girls, and the prevalence of violent crimes, have all been the subject of considerable public attention over the years. These issues have been addressed on national platforms, and by community groups, churches and schools. Yet these situations appear to continue unabated. Are we paying mere lip service to these issues, and failing to take or participate in meaningful action designed to have a long-term impact on these issues?

Sadly, our schools are often the ‘locale’ of many of these ills that we say we wish to eradicate from our communities. Are our schools doing their fair share to address these issues, and are they receiving the support required to be successful in their endeavours? School grounds are often littered with food and drink containers, and it is often obvious from the state of the debris that it has been present for some time. We often cite the practices in other countries as something that we should emulate. Reference is sometimes made to a practice in many schools in Japan where there are no janitors – instead students are expected to, and do, participate in keeping the school premises clean.

How would parents react to Anguillian students being required, at a scheduled time on a scheduled day throughout the island, to clean their class room and the school grounds? Based on the many community-driven initiatives to keep our island clean, and the vocal support for such initiatives, one would surmise that such a proposal would receive wholehearted support. I understand that, sadly, there have been occasions when parents have objected to their children being required to ‘clean the school yard’. There was a time when this was a weekly activity in the primary schools. It is a practice which I believe should be reinstituted. Education officials should challenge parents to be active participants in instilling certain values in their children by actively supporting their involvement in such a weekly activity.

Young girls often appear slow to realise that with the advancement of technology it is unlikely that indiscretions will remain private or will be readily forgotten. Indiscretions of a sexual nature, captured on video often, are circulated without regard for the feelings and futures of the young and vulnerable girls. As a community we are loud in deploring the possession, viewing and circulation of these videos. These are acts which can attract criminal sanctions. Will our abhorrence of the sexual exploitation of these naïve young girls be reflected in our willingness to counsel and punish, as appropriate, those over whom we have authority, for possessing, viewing or circulating pornographic videos featuring Anguilla’s young girls? Will we support institutions of authority if our children become the subject of such counseling or punishment by virtue of their actions? If we fail to offer the requisite support we become part of the problem, rather than part of the solution, despite our vocal protestations against the exploitation of these young girls.

Crime, particularly violent crime, is probably the area that has attracted the most attention from us, as individuals and as a country. We have marched, held religious services, formed non-governmental organisations and created plans designed to reduce violent crime in Anguilla. If, so many of us, from all walks of life, are so vociferously opposed to violent criminal activity, how then is it possible for it to prevail in our communities? The answer might be that while we pay lip service to addressing the issue of violent crimes we are reluctant to be directly involved in addressing violent crime by sharing evidence with the police; serving as witnesses; or reporting persons known to be involved in or suspected of committing violent crimes. We often hear it said that the criminals live somewhere. They either occupy a house with others or have neighbours. We turn a blind eye to any suspicious or criminal activity; yet expect to see criminal activities reduced or perpetrators successfully prosecuted. Our direct involvement is required to secure the desired reduction in criminal activity.

When we ‘walk the walk’ and not merely ‘talk the talk’ the social ills, we often refer to, will slowly but surely be significantly reduced.

By anguillian May 22, 2017 10:05


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