Our schools seem to be breeding criminals
Kaieteur News

June 14, 2004

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THERE is no end to people inflicting untold hardship on others and with each passing day this trend seems to be on the increase. On Saturday, two men known to just about everybody in the area pounced on two Kaieteur News staffers as they entered a nearby shop to purchase some refreshment.
No sooner had the staffers run out of the place following the robbery than people were calling out the names of the perpetrators. A few hours later, one of them was nabbed and he returned the rings he had taken from one of the staff members. It turned out that the police did not have a rough time locating him. They described him as a habitual thief who has been in and out of jail.
At this time, he is preparing to do another stint as the guest of the state. His colleague remains at large but certainly not for long since everyone, including the police, knows where he lives. Then there was the case of the Buxtonian who was lured to a spot where another man could rob him. As the man recalled the person, who lured him to the place where he was robbed, ran up to him stark naked. But this very victim was robbed by two men, both of whom he knew and whose names he provided to the police.
One of the men promptly proceeded to rob him a second time in as many days. The police happened to be in the vicinity and the victim held on to his assailant until the police arrived.
These are jut two cases that highlight how daring thieves and robbers could be. It is as if they care not what the society thinks. One gets the impression that they all believe that they are prepared to sacrifice a few months of their life for a few moments of pleasure derived from their ill-gotten gains.
Take the case of the group, who entered a house in Albouystown, found that the household was too poor to offer them anything and opted to have sex with a woman in the advanced stage of pregnancy. Surely some sick mind is at work here. The people in the household later said that they knew some of the perpetrators because they live in the neighbourhood. This had to be a radical change from the days when people never stole in their community. It also signals that people who commit crimes have no fear of being caught. Perhaps they are mentally ill, and like a dog, lack the ability to rationalise.
When one considers that many of these criminals are illiterate, one must become afraid of what the future holds.
We all know that more and more functionally illiterate people are leaving our educational institutions. Many of these will be ill equipped to make a positive contribution to the society.
Further, they are often the ones who feel that the money that they would be paid would be inadequate so they would want to follow the lunatic pack and enter the world of crime.
One good thing is that the prevalence of daring robberies in the city has declined drastically. This may be attributed to heightened police presence. However, other parts of the country seem to be under the thumb of the bandits. This may be because the police presence is not as pervasive as in the city.
A point of note is that the criminals are academically challenged and this raises serious questions about our educational system. Indeed, we have lost the cream of the teaching crop but parental supervision, which often provided a solid back up, seems to be sadly lacking. Herein lies another problem.
On Friday, a schoolboy was one of the men who staged an armed robbery. He was nabbed because people recognised him as he fled the scene. When they cornered him, he was heading home and it was four in the morning. Where were his parents? How could they allow a lad to be out of the home at that hour? Will they be prosecuted for child endangerment? This is not the only case of a teenaged criminal.
We could still remember the teens that died among the six when the army and police swooped down on an old shed in Buxton during last year. And for good measure, Romel Reman, one of the notorious bandits who died in that shooting, was only 21. This recent case of the schoolboy is just another case of a criminal operating in his neighbourhood. Further, it indicates that even in school, our children have their eyes on things other than an academic education.
Is there an immediate solution? We think not. Violent responses by the police, as it has been proven, only foster increased violence on the part of the criminals. But something must be done. Perhaps civil society should become an integral part of talks to children in schools.