Give ghetto youths a ladder to climb out of that despair

Dear Editor,

This is going to be controversial. I was chatting with a friend recently about the high crime rate in the Guyana. I was trying to give another perspective. He rubbished my argument. Hence my reason for going public.

I asked him if he ever went days hungry? If he ever had to scavenge the markets for discarded food? He never had to. I did.

Now try to imagine that you have six young hungry eyes staring at you. You have bills to pay. You have rent to pay. You have other expenses. You do not have an education through no fault of yours. You cannot find a job. The politicians don’t care. PPP, PNC, APNU, or AFC. None of them care. They used you for votes. Three days gone. No food. Kids crying of hunger. Child mother frustrated. Landlord banging on your door for rent. GPL took you power. You are gifted an AK-47. What will you do?

I will not justify crime but I can understand it. It is an act of desperate people who have no hope. Who feel used by those who got. It’s a harsh reality. Unless you experienced it, you will not understand.

I was lucky. I am academically gifted. I got an education at Queen’s College. I became a doctor. A consultant at a top hospital in the UK. It was not meant to be. Society dealt me a one way ticket to prison. I saw hope. I did not get caught up with crime. My deceased father did. My deceased brother follow suit. Many of my friends did. 

The education system failed them. They did not have a powerful mama and dada. No private tutor. As a result they had to contend with failing schools. High school dropout.

No vocational colleges available. No skills to learn. Uneducated they have made bad choices. Children the result. Can we blame them?

Promises made by the politicians to get their votes. Discarded like toilet tissue. Flushed down the social sewer. Forgotten.

Their only choice is crime. Society complains. See their actions. Ignore their circumstances. The police armed with big guns. Kill them. Five recently. Three on the seawall a few months ago. 

Problem not solved. More rastas waiting to take their places. Why? We treat the symptom and not the diagnosis. Akin to giving someone paracetamol who is having a heart attack and is complaining of chest pain.  

Give them hope. Social programmes. Financial and social support. Give them a ladder to climb out of that despair. Rehabilitation when they go awry. Among other programmes.

The aristocrats have spoken. The elites have spoken. No one is there to speak for us the ghetto youths. I will take that mantle if they want me to. Listen to what we are saying. I will quote Bounty Killa from his hit ‘Look’. Cannot quote Shakespeare. Thou, art and thee not part of our vernacular. Bounty Killa said:

Look into my eyes, tell me what you see?

Can you feel my pain? Am I your enemy?

Give us a better way, things are really bad

The only friend I know, is this gun I have

Listen to my voice, this is not a threat

Now you see the .9, are you worried yet?

You’ve been talking ‘bout you want the war to cease

But when you show us hope, then we will show you peace.

Yours faithfully,

Dr. Mark Devonish

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