Fri | Jan 19, 2018

Steve Lyston | Idle hands and minds: the root of crime

Published:Monday | December 5, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Steve Lyston
Soldiers on patrol in west Kingston.

If we are serious about dealing with the crime that is plaguing our nation, then it is the responsibility of everyone within the nation to get on board. The number one problem influencing crime is the lack of opportunity for idle hands and minds.

Many times, we have heard that Jamaica's workforce is unqualified so we should open up to expatriates. That is not true! It is, however, the responsibility of both the private and public sectors to train our local workforce. Most workers are only given the opportunity for training when they are about to retire. Jamaica has first-class workers but they are not being given the opportunities nor the respect - an offshoot of colonialism that anything (or anyone) that comes from overseas (foreign) is better.

There are so many empty lands and lots in Jamaica where nothing but bush grows. The Government needs to start cleaning them up and build malls, houses, additional roads, more hospitals. They need to go around with the solid waste management team and check the lands they have deemed unfit and see what can be done to utilise these properties effectively. They need to get the infrastructure going again, thus creating jobs. More factories need to be built and the garment factories need to be reopened and made productive once more.




We need to put the idle hands and minds to work, create hope again, and you will literally see crime diminish. If we fail to create opportunities, gunmen will create their own jobs and opportunities - contract killings, guns for hire; we all know the deal.

How about collaboration between the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Health? Get them to plant lemons, herbs, fruit trees, peanuts, corn, even wheat, and make tonics from roots - these are billion-dollar businesses that can also create opportunities for idle hands. We have the potential to be the health capital of the world.

We have natural talents - musicians, actors, dancers and other wonderful talent in the nation. The Nigerian film industry - also known as Nollywood - makes over US$590 million annually in an industry that is not even properly managed. Over a million people are employed in that industry. They are even getting support from the World Bank.

We, on the other hand, have a grand and historical theatre rotting daily. Every year, we put on a few festivals for the year and that's it. It's time to move past that now. We need to stop riding on the wings of Bob Marley and Usain Bolt's fame and do more than we are now, because the nation's potential is immensely greater than that. Nobody has to leave their country to come to Jamaica for 'jerk' anything, because they can download the recipe from the Internet.

Every gunman must know that his life is not in his own hands, it is in God's hands. Every one of them is on borrowed time. Witchcraft and guards can't protect them. Every gunman must value life. The man who pays you to do the work is a gunman, too.




Every gunman needs to answer this question, 'What lesson are you teaching your children when you live a life of crime?'

The nation needs to start a project for children who are terminally ill and get those who remain idle to be a part of the project.

Ask those owners of these idle hands and minds what they would do to bring joy to the lives of these children. Ask them, if one of their children were sick with a deadly disease, would they allow the circumstances to change their lives permanently?

How many rich men or politicians do you see in prison? Gunman, before you kill another person, think about your own children or family members, because even if you should get away from man, you can't get away from God.

There was once a project done in Jamaica by a distribution company, which employed for a month most of the idle hands from the inner city as casual workers/labourers. Literally, not one gunshot was fired in the area and it was discovered that some had never even set foot in a bank or have a bank account. They were so thankful and appreciative that they became the security and no one could steal from the company.

- Steve Lyston is a biblical economics consultant and author of several books, including 'End Time Finance' and 'The New Millionaire'.