By Marcus M. Mottley, Ph.D.
I am guessing that the current crime wave that Antigua is experiencing will stop after March 12th. As a matter of fact, I am willing to bet on it.
Because I believe that the current crime wave is driven by… if not coordinated by… elements in our society that would like to see a change in the government.
The crime wave will stop… but not because of any change in government!
As I listen to and watch the behavior of some of the supporters on the other side, I notice that they are angry, bitter, aggressive and appear to be on the edge of violence.
On one occasion, several young men were driving around in a truck pinning those red plastic sheets to posts and trees and anything else that they could attach them to.
They clipped their red plastic sheet to a tree that was on private property. When the owner protested, those young men became very loud, boisterous, threatening, and appeared to be on the edge of violence.
Now, that may seem to some to be a far leap from criminal behavior. But, what if the owner had confronted them? What would have happened? The owner later took down the red sheets… and that precipitated more threats… they returned and put the sheets up again… at which time the owner called the police!
But those behaviors – violent rhetoric and threatening actions, indecent language, shouting and frothing at the mouth, waving various implements that could easily be used as weapons – Those behaviors – indicate more than an undercurrent of violence. They indicate a desperation… a willingness to go beyond the accepted and normal rhetoric that accompanies political competitions. Or should I say… that used to accompany political contests.
Not any longer.
These days… the opposing side seems to understand that this is the last chance for some of their champions… who may very well spend some future time at 1735!
Indeed, if we listen to the threats… public threats… purportedly of one senior candidate… reportedly a member of parliament… “Blood will flow!”
If he could make that threat in public… can you imagine what he is saying in private? Can you imagine what he might be telling those young men who he pays to pin up those sheets of plastic? Can you imagine what other behaviors – public, private and clandestine – he might be actively planning and be involved in?
I remain unconvinced that the people who started the ‘red shirt’ gangs several years ago, are not not behind the perpetration of violence on the people of Antigua in order to make a point regarding the level of crime at this time.
And if they are not directly responsible, they are implicated because of their irresponsible rhetoric that would lead their supporters to think that they condone these acts.
As a matter of fact, I don’t hear a single voice from that side asking anyone to stop the violence. I don’t hear them joining with people of good will in protesting the recent crime wave and committing to helping to bring the perpetrators to justice.
On second thought, why should they? Some of them will themselves be brought to justice – soon!
Justice day is coming – both for the perpetrators of the crime wave, those who are behind it, and for the perpetrators of corruption, money laundering, fraud, theft, drug running, and the use of their political influence for personal gain!
On March 12th, let us send a loud and stirring message that the angry red wave of crime must stop to be replaced by a blue and peaceful wave of peace and social responsibility!