Begin battling gangs now

Each day my respect for the editorial staff of both daily newspapers grows by leaps and bounds for their courage in their positions on the tragic state the Cayman Islands finds itself in today.

These editors seem to be the only community voice speaking out clearly on conditions that the government authorities need to be treating as a ‘crisis management’ issue and taking drastic steps to address a matter of urgency.

I would rather that the Caymanian Compass be more bold in calling a spade a spade and name the problem outright as the gang violence that it refers to as only one of the possibilities for the horrific murders that have taken place in less than a week but the Caymanian Compass’ editorial needs to be seriously assessed by the Government and action taken immediately after the necessary risk assessments have been carried out by those responsible for public security and safety.

A few more street lights and closed circuit television cameras will not solve the problem.

Albert Einstein once said, ‘The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing’.

This problem will only continue to increase if the Government and the community as a whole, look on and do nothing and unfortunately, too little has been done in the past that has allowed the situation to get to this point.

Here is my suggestion for a government that so far seems to be showing an inclination to listen to community stakeholders, which we all in effect are.

Get started immediately on establishing community violence and gang outreach committees in George Town and West Bay. These committees should be made up of the religious and social services professionals in each community, with a limited presence of security professionals for advice and consultation.

The work of these committees will be to establish liaisons with the gang members in the community and begin to provide advice, counselling and employment opportunities as the alternatives to making a living dealing in drugs and firearms.

This programme can be used by the authorities to create a national strategy to address the problem long term, but initial action must be taken now or more children will continue to be shot down in the streets.

There are those of us, even abroad, as conflict management professionals who are available to help in this process.

All the government has to do is make that call.

Ricardo Tatum

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