When business owners of small, medium or large enterprises on small islands are attacked, the crime is personal! Everyone knows either the perpetrators or the victims! This knowledge is actually a problem in more ways than one. It unfortunately means that the law enforcement agents also know and are known by the criminals, making everyone more vulnerable in the prosecutorial cycle.
It is difficult in a close knit society to arrest one’s 2nd cousin, (or even neighbour), whose 34 year old mother, enjoys the proceeds of criminal activity provided by a child that is polite and attentive and where the ill-gotten gains appear to be of benefit to younger siblings. The right to provide for and protect one’s family confronts the nation with fire power that outguns local law enforcement and seeks retribution wherever it can be found to exact pain and retain control.
Where we got off the track as a society has become the subject of much debate, concluding that intervention at the community level is the solution to this problem of epic proportions. Whatever the solution, one things is clear – it requires effort from all of us. The private sector needs sustainable development, providing meaningful job opportunities; the church needs to preach its message of hope that results in improved lifestyles and an enactment of loving one’s neighbour as one’s self; the government needs to rise to a level of good governance that is demonstrated through principled public behaviour and service organizations need to create and fully engage in programs that build societies and create positive role models.
These are the entities we seek to bring together to discuss joint action on crime. Together we can make the difference that individually we would struggle to achieve. Crime is a societal issue affecting us all!