Young and disorderly
November 24, 2006
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While a jury was deliberating on a rape case, a fight broke out between two groups of children from two different schools.
While the children were detained and awaiting the arrival of their parents, another incident broke out wherein a man had attacked and stabbed a mini-bus driver. The driver who was attacked was mistaken for another man who had allegedly drugged the attacker's daughter and sexually assaulted her.
First of all, what this story highlights is the indiscipline which is becoming rampant among young people today – particularly in the country’s only real urban environment, the city of Georgetown. Each day school children congregate at various street corners, most notably at the corner of Croal Street and Avenue of the Republic and at the corner of Croal and Camp Streets.
The truancy officers of the Ministry of Education can do their utmost in tracking down school-aged children during the legitimate school hours but their mandate ceases as soon as the final bell rings.
And while parents have to bear some responsibility for knowing where their children are at any given moment, the fact that society has no officially sanctioned collective means of ensuring that the Croal Street phenomenon comes to an end is representative of some failure on the part of the State.
Additionally, while the banning of tints and the occasional crackdown on boom-boxes has to some degree decreased the pervasiveness of the mini-bus sub-culture, the 'boom-boom' box decadence is still very much alive today.
Then there is the significance of the fact that the mini-bus driver was attacked in the first place, within a couple of metres of the very legal and judicial centre of the country.
This is clearly reflective of the lack of respect for the rule of law, and the lack of faith the average citizen has in the ability of the courts to dispense justice.
What yesterday's story showed was that we here in Guyana have a lot of reconstruction to do.
We need to ensure that our children are not loitering on the roads when they are supposed to be home or more constructively engaged.
We need to ensure that they do learn not to resort to violence – whether individual or communal – when settling disputes.
We need to ensure that our privately operated public transportation system does what it is supposed to do – getting people from Point A to Point B in relative comfort – and not function as the vehicle transporting us along the road to perdition.
We need to make sure that our young women do not fall prey to sexually predatory men, like the ones who were convicted of raping a teenaged girl several years ago, to the mini-bus driver who was the intended victim of the vengeful attack by the parents of another alleged rape victim.
We also need to ensure that our citizens have enough faith in the judicial system as the only means of dispensing justice, and that vigilante style attacks are always a bad idea with potentially disastrous and unintended outcomes.