Letters to the Editor: A way to stem crime

I wish to make a few comments on
your Friday, 12 March, front page articles titled ‘Crime report ignored for years’,
especially to the fact that the Community Affairs Minister Mike Adam
used a 2006 study done by  Barbadian
criminologist Yolanda Forde; but made no mention of an earlier study done in
2001 by myself and other Caymanians.

Nevertheless, I was delighted that
he at least took some of the suggestions I presented to him and cabinet in a
July 2009 proposal to government for a social development consultancy contract.
Unfortunately, I cannot reproduce here all of the proposal but the main points
are as follows:

The rise in violent crime
especially against women in the Cayman Islands is proof that our Islands face
social challenges, which are complex and require rigorous, sustained,
disciplined analysis. We must improve strategies and methods that will enhance
positive social change and address some of the negative social factors. 
At risk persons and their families have multiple needs and interrelated
problems that are not likely to be successfully addressed by single-response,
stand-alone initiatives. The Ministry of Community Affairs and Housing should
strongly embrace the concept of community-based collaborative, which are
focused on services integration and monitoring and evaluating programme
outcomes.

The vision of a multi-agency
approach to social ills in our society might already exist; however, much more
can be done to improve on the positive results of such an approach.  I
proposed to act as social development consultant to the Cayman Islands
Government for a period no less than two years. During this period my main task
will be to develop within ministries and departments a better understanding of
the root causes of social break down and youth deviancy. And to advise on the
putting into place of whatever organisational support structures are required
to make sure that each agency is playing its role with regards collaborative
solutions.

Step one: Gain and establish an
improved an updated understanding of the causes of social break down and youth
violence as was suggested in the report by the Commission of Enquiry into
Social Breakdown and Youth Violence in December 2001.

Step two: Examine the results, if
any, of the implementation of recommendations made by the commission of enquiry
into incidences of youth violence and social breakdown.

Step three: Update the study by
recording and analysing past and present inter-agency collaborative efforts in
this area, if any.

Step four: Establish an
inter-disciplinary team by appointing key players from the relevant departments
and ministries.

Step five: Define ways to begin preventive
and rehabilitative strategies based on multi-agency approach and supervise their
implementation.

It is anticipated that it will be
of utmost importance to develop preventive strategies based on the information
and opinions collected from teachers, counsellors, policemen and other staff
directly involved with children and youth.  This will allow for a deeper
look into the social and economic conditions of the children and youth defined
as components of our social breakdown.

The Cayman Islands community is
small enough to allow us to analyse this social problem on an individual basis
and allow for the opportunity to develop preventive strategies that are able to
rescue and rehabilitate potential offenders. We already known many of the signs
associated with negative socialisation, such as low self-esteem and low
self-worth. This will create children and youth with poor self-image, causing
them to make poor choices and seek security and self-affirmation outside the
family. Often times these youngsters align themselves with groups who engage in
deviant behaviour.

 The majority of the offenders
interviewed by the commission were identified as being affiliated with groups
who engage in deviant behaviour.  There are, therefore, within our schools
and neighbourhoods negative forms of empowerment as well as new forms and
structures of authority resulting from this empowerment. Preventive as well as
rehabilitative strategies must encompass ways of utilising these new alignments
and authority forms for pro-social activities and behaviour.  

The Cayman Islands community is one
that has experienced rapid changes in values and lifestyle; therefore, it would
be nonsensical to adopt the position that we have had sufficient evaluation and
consideration of our social challenges. The mere fact that a problem is being
studied gives hope, knowledge and positive expectations to those being studied
as well as the larger society that will benefit from a reduction in social
ills. The steps outlined in this proposal may take place simultaneously or be
applied chronologically depending on circumstances of collaboration, funding
and social conditions in the communities. 

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