by Seth Ampadu, Superintendent Minister – Methodist Church
Do we as people want to live in poverty? Are we satisfied about the economic situation in our country? Do we want to live a better life? Do we want to see our children and grandchildren prospering? Then, NO to crime and violence is the best choice.
Crime and violence are bad for every economy. When crime and violence increase in a country business investors are afraid to enter the country, thereby preventing international businesses from expanding to our shores. Crime and violence are critical social and economic issues and they exert a high toll on the general public, as well as the business community.
This social catastrophe prevents businesses from thriving by generating instability and uncertainty. It can impact our economy in a variety of ways, from encouraging emigration and brain drain to discouraging foreign direct investment. Crime and violence can negatively impact people, property and business activity. It limits the economic and non-economic activities of community members which have an adverse impact on the economic health of communities, cutting into business revenues and limiting business activities. Property values decrease as violent crime increases.
The businesses where these unfortunate incidents take place lose both potential investors and customers that patronize these businesses resulting in the loss of revenue. It must be noted that the impact of crime and violence can extend beyond the victims and their families significantly affecting the businesses and residents in their neighborhoods in the form of downsizing, decreased revenues, and, in its most severe form, the closure of businesses. It also places a financial burden on taxpayers and governments because of the increased need for police, courts and correction facilities, as well as intangible costs including psychological trauma and reduced quality of life for crime victims. The United Nations and the World Bank both rank crime high on the list of obstacles to a country’s development. This means that governments trying to deal with poverty often also have to face the issue of crime as they try to develop their country’s economy and society. It keeps workers out of the labor market by discouraging them from work during off-hours and from commuting. Crime and violence cause increase in health costs of employees directly due to injuries or stress.
Studies by the Inter American Development Bank, the University of the West Indies and others also show that crime also is having a negative effect on social development by diverting limited resources away from health and education to security, the control of crime and the provision of facilities necessary for the administration of justice.
In view of the above, it is clear that crime and violence are NOT to be celebrated and tolerated in our country. As citizenry, we must decide today that if we want development, if we want jobs, if we want a better life for our children and grandchildren, if we want to see a better future for our beloved country Saint Lucia, then we must choose LOVE over hatred, we must choose PEACE over hostility, we must solve our differences with “RESPECTFUL TALK” instead of knives and guns. From today, I am appealing to all citizens to let us resolve in the name of God to say NO to all activities that could foster crime and violence, let us sing that beautiful song “so long bye, bye, good bye to crime and violence” and see each person as our neighbour.
As St. Paul says in Philippians 4:8-9 8Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you”.