Wed | Aug 16, 2017

Uniting against crime must be mission of every J'can - Barnes

Published:Wednesday | February 22, 2017 | 2:00 AMChristopher Serju
Barnes

Christopher Barnes, chief operating officer of the RJRGLEANER Communications Group, is challenging all Jamaicans to make it their mission to unite against crime in order to tame the scourge now plaguing the nation.

"Crime is a symptom of a moral deficit shared by too many persons and which has largely been ignored or pushed under the proverbial rug," Barnes told the gathering at the annual Gleaner Honour Awards gala luncheon at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on Monday.

"We have heard the various perspectives out there on how to fix the problem, which all have elements of validity. However, I put it to you that crime is not the problem; we are, as individuals. There is no doubt that there is no shortage of good people in our country. This is why we have been able to have an Honour Awards programme since 1979. We have all we need to fix our problems, including crime, and to leave a legacy of progress, goodwill, and hope."

EMPOWER THE YOUTH

Barnes, who is also managing director of The Gleaner Company (Media) Limited, warned against turning a blind eye to the growing crime problem, arguing for a collective approach to empowering the nation's youth as a first step in the right direction.

"The answer is not to turn off our TV, radio, and mobile devices and refuse to read the paper to avoid the problem, because ignoring the problems of this country only feeds the monster. The answer is to stay informed, grow annoyed to the point of action, and resolve to do whatever we can in our small or large area of influence to starve the roots of criminal activity," the media manager declared.

This, said Barnes, can be achieved by reducing the attractiveness of crime, while educating youngsters to become productive members of society.

"It is not as difficult as it sounds. NCB (National Commercial Bank) is doing it, through the educational and social support it provides through its foundation. Food For The Poor is doing it, by providing infrastructural and other support to the poorest among us. Richard Byles is doing it through his commitment to private- and public-sector development. Mickey (Dorothy Pine-McLarty) is doing it by getting involved in the electoral process. Tommy (Cowan) and his team are doing it through spiritual reinforcement, and lastly, it is known that crime is significantly reduced whenever our athletes are competing on the big stage," he pointed out, making reference to the recipients of this year's Gleaner Honour Awards.

"We all can, and need to, play our part. All our efforts will never be enough until enough of us begin to recognise our role in crime alleviation, no matter how small."

christopher.serju@gleanerjm.com