Guyanese should return to basic family values

Dear Editor,

The rise of crime over the years in Guyana has become a major concern for every Guyanese citizen. I saw on the news that most of the crimes are committed by young teenagers but these young bandits are not only robbing citizens but killing them brutally.

As a Reverend I have travelled a lot in this country and have observed lots of young men loitering on the street corners. They will drink, gamble, use drugs and steal to feed their drug cravings. Most of these young people are from broken homes, some of them never attended school or most are school drop-outs who can barely read or write and lack the skill to earn a job.

Many of them live in ghettos, or with an aunt, uncle or grandmother.

These hurting youths because of their desperation to survive will now turn to the gun, drugs, prostitution  etc. A lot of these kids came from African backgrounds and single parent orientations.

Many years ago I used to preach and speak to prisoners at Camp Street Prison. I observed more than 90% of the prisoners were Afro-Guyanese. Actually all of them came from broken families, some of them never knew their fathers and mothers, while some were left alone as early as age ten to live on the streets. Even when these prisoners are out of prison they will commit another crime to get back into prison because prison has now become their home.

When I look around the churches today very few men are in the churches with their families. Most of them are in the rum shops or gambling houses. Our society is not a society I grew up in 30 years ago where people got married legally and lived a family-oriented life. Today in this modern era most people, even the very educated and academics, live a life according to very poor moral values. Many of them have children from several child mothers and child fathers and these kids grow up to be criminals because of bad fathers and mothers. The words ‘child mother’ or ‘child father’ were unheard of in the Guyana I grew up in 35 years ago.

As a young man growing up school was compulsory, church and Sunday School was also a compulsory activity and Sunday morning church or Mass was compulsory for myself, friends and family. Other people would go to the temples and mosques. I never heard so much cussing and fighting as today, and very few rum shops were around. Today rum shops are by the hundreds in our East Indian communities and the police and our erudite ministers in government turn a blind eye to it because they themselves are rum drinkers. I also know of some prominent people in our society using drugs, in which case their children will do the same. Training and discipline in the home have become obsolete. ]

Today very few people can say good morning, excuse me, please, thank you very much; instead they greet you with cuss words. Many years ago people used to be charged for using cuss words, but today the police officers are cussing and behaving offensively to our citizens.

Every week myself and my church leaders will visit communities and homes inviting people to attend church but may I say very few people have an interest in this any more; they may show up to church in a hearse when they die, or at a wedding or a funeral. People are more into drinking and sporting; they don’t seem to have a vision, goal, or objective for their future.

It has been proven that children from stable family backgrounds produce better grades in school than the children of single parents.When a child excels at CXC or CAPE we must study their family history and compare it with the failures. All my church members kids passed all their CXC and CAPE exams and even my children are very brilliant. It’s time we introduce moral education in our schools.

Our government needs to build schools and implement programmes to help those communities which harbour criminal elements. There are tons of single mothers with lots of hungry kids; these kids need to be taken away and be placed in a children’s home to become a better citizen tomorrow.

When I look around our society I see massive illiteracy and ignorance among our young people. Even older folks in the 30-40 age range cannot fill out a birth certificate form. Reading and writing among our schoolchildren has become something uncivilized; most kids have their BlackBerry smartphones chatting on Facebook. Modern technology has produced a society of idiots. We need to return to the old system of education to reading, writing, grammar, spelling, etc.

Good family values are very important for any society. Strong families build strong communities, strong communities will build a strong society and strong societies will build strong nations. It’s about time people of this nation return to basic family values.

Yours faithfully,
Rev Gideon Cecil

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