Letters to the Editor: Future for the young

A society unwilling to confront its
social reality in a timely manner is doomed to experience the consequences in
later generations and possibly forever.

I guess I started saying as much
when in 1977 I first spoke at the Rotary Club on the topic of poverty,
marginalised youth and Caymanian society.

I experienced a mild case of déjà
vu when recently speaking at a Lions Club function. For as I had prepared by
speaking notes, my mind look me back to long ago when I first returned to
Cayman from the University of Bremen with my PhD. I was hired as the social development
officer with the National Council of Social Services late that year and shortly
thereafter spoke at the Rotary Club on the potential social challenges Cayman
would face if we did not move with urgency to create solutions for our growing
social problems.

The result of my cries is history
but it is never too late to deal with some of the perverse consequences of our
actions or lack thereof.

I therefore felt blessed to hear
the strong roar of the Lions and to sit and read their code of ethics. This
service club has an enlightened social philosophy, which gives them a capacity
to assist government and the larger community with the task of modifying our
social institutions in the face of our accelerated social change. Many of the
names of individuals that have held positions on the Board of Directors of the
Lions Club are well known businessmen, political activists and leaders. And say
what you may, our larger society cannot be worse off in having persons ingrained
in so enlightened a social movement head our businesses and political

The fact is, that even before
reading the Lions code of ethics, I sat down to prepare my notes and the first
idea that came to mind was to ask; what is community, because we always hear
people talking about community as if there is only one community. When we say
we are working to improve the community or our community we could also be
implying the improvement of the community that we as individuals are members of
by raising the status and prestige of our service clubs

But it is OK to start with self; in
fact one could not be selfish without a community, therefore once we accept
that community is essential to all aspects of our existence, we begin to think
community more and more. Knowing that a community is absolutely essential to
all human existence and desires then even those considered self serving or
destructive may discover what they can do to empower others to make this same
discovery, rather than just help them with straight charity. Ask not what your
community can do for you but what you can do for your community.

The essential charitable actions of
today must empower communities if we are to help marginalised individuals and groups,
especially the youth.  I called upon the
Lions to use the power of their collective roar to recognise and reorganise
support for the artistic sensibilities of our marginalised youth, many of whom
roam the streets in packs like wild dog or as some are finally beginning to
admit; in gangs.

 I believe that a well organised and funded programme
for those with creative abilities will go a long way in softening some of the
deadly consequences resulting from the alienation of many of our youth and I
challenged the Lions Club to become involved in establishing and funding
creative enterprises that will turn gangs into cottage industries, which will
turn fashions, music, art, dance forms and other creative endeavours into
financial enterprises that will earn some of these youngsters as well as their
individual communities respect and money. Cultural taste is important and every
generation constructs their own social and cultural realities. And as much as
the old order tries to hold on in spite of our physical decay the future is for
the young among; not the old. I thank the Lions Club again for having given me
such and honour and opportunity to bring up this very important issue.

Frank McField