‘Where are the concerned citizens of West Bay?’
This was a question posed at the West Bay Police community meeting held on Thursday night in the district.
MLA Rolston Anglin asked this question in addressing the 25 or so members of the public gathered there, which had built up from an original 15 at the start of the two-hour meeting at the West Bay Primary School Hall.
West Bay MLA Captain Eugene Ebanks was also present at the meeting.
The West Bay Action Committee’s Henry Orman earlier addressed the attendees. ‘The attendance here tonight shows you where the interest lies. There should not be a seat here that’s not filled,’ he said referring to the rows of empty seats.
‘The police can only do so much. Unless the community gets behind the police then we are in a losing cause.’
People are all too anxious to complain on talk shows, he said, but not to turn up to such a meeting to help the officials solve the problems of the district.
He urged those who attended the meeting to go home and ask others where they were and why they did not attend.
Mr. Anglin said that Mr. Orman had hit the nail on the head with regard to attendance at the meeting.
Other concerns raised from members of the public included too much drug related activity in the district and unemployment causing some to turn to drugs.
Mr. Orman noted that while things may be hard, people should be fighters. He questioned why people should just turn to drugs if they can’t get a job.
With regard to unemployed people in the district, Mr. Anglin questioned how many of them are employable, noting that people tend to criticise the education system. But with plenty of vocational training opportunities available for young people, he urged people to look at the homes of non-productive, unemployed young people. What needs to be looked at are the parents, he said.
‘It’s the parenting skills, or lack thereof, that are crippling this society.’
Cayman used to be so poor that there was no choice but to work hard, or else a person would starve, but now parents spoil their children so much, he said. Abstract poverty kept people straight back then, he said.
Mr. Anglin said that the Department of Children and Family Services’ National Parenting Programme is the single most important initiative that this country has ever tried to undertake. ‘If we cannot improve our parenting, and let’s remember there’s a degree and training for every job under the sun, except for the most important one, that is to be a mother and a father. Anybody can be a mother and a father, but how many can be an effective parent to keep their children straight?’
He said, ‘We have to be honest with ourselves and look at the attendance tonight’.
Mr. Anglin also noted that if the community gave all the public officers and the police as much assistance as criticism that would help a great deal to getting the district to where it needs to be.
West Bay Police Area Commander, Chief Inspector Angelique Howell spoke about the policing achievements in the district from May through August, noting that they have responded to 260 crimes (matters that were actually investigated).
Ms Howell pointed to a decrease for the period in crimes such as burglary, firearm possession and serious assaults while noting an increase in others such as thefts, domestic violence and threatening violence.
Representatives from other agencies such as the Department of Children and Family Services, Department of Counselling Services, Department of Environmental Health, Beautification Committee and National Parenting Programme were also on hand, in a multi-agency approach to problems in the district.