Letter to the Editor: National youth service is a necessity

Letter to the Editor: National youth service is a necessity


Here in our wonderful nation, a lot of people are up in arms, pardon the pun, over crime and the fear of crime. Basically, despite the perception, crime is NOT out of control. Yes, there are challenges but nothing insurmountable, in my considered view.

The vast majority of the crimes to which people are getting bent out of shape relate to alleged gang warfare and retaliation. Ordinarily, the ‘victims’ of such activities are targeted. Sadly there is often some collateral damages or injuries.

Statistics, where they exist and are accessible, would show that our younger people in the 16 years old to perhaps early 30’s are more than likely to become so-called gang members or engage in a life of unabated criminal behavior. We have known this for decades since the early 1080’s and the glorification of the drug trade. It started out with the pomp and pageantry extended to the late Robert ‘Bob’ Nestor Marley during the then PLP’s sponsorship of The Year of The Child. Marley was greeted like a conquoring Lion from the fabled Tribe of Judah complete with a miles long motorcade.

Sometime after that the ingestion of marijuana and other mind altering drugs started to be come more societally accepted and viewed as some what harmless. The so-called culture of Rasta came out of the closet and became the norm amongst our younger people. The effects, mostly negative, of marijuana consumption coupled with alcohol, which is readily available to school aged children and young adults, literally lit the short fuse and the BOMB has now blown up in our collective faces.

With the advent of the illegal drug culture, we witnessed children dropping out of high school, if they made it that far, without graduating. After this, keep in mind that the majority of them have no marketable skills or work experience. No one paid much attention to this scenario except for people like the late great and deeply lamented Sir Lynden Oscar Pindling, the Father of our nation. He was a voice crying out in the political wilderness and akin to a prophet without honor in his own home.

Sir Lynden conceptualize the establishment of a National Youth Service. Without seeking to cast ‘blame’ on any sector of our society, we have ALL failed ourselves and our younger generations. Untold across the board, damages have been wrecked on our society and way of life without exception. Almost all households have experienced and lived through the tragedy of the unexpected violent death of a family member, especially the younger males.

Our daughters have turned to sexual prostitution because they have nothing to market or sell except themselves. Unwanted and illegitimate children abound with few daddies, where known, are in sight. Like the boys and younger men, many of our younger females would also have dropped out of high school or become pregnant for a no-good and deeply lousy young or older male.

They themselves would have dropped out of school and have absolutely no marketable skills or training. The results Generations of happy go lucky people without any responsibilities or a care in this world. The females end up with multiple children for different boys/ men. The males may well join a gang and start to resort to a life of crime; inclusive of drug dealing; theft; house breaking; car jacking; male prostitution and hit men/women all in pursuit of ‘earning’ a living by any means necessary.

Yes, we have ALL failed ourselves; our children and, for sure, The God Whom most of us serve. There are lots of ‘good’ parents out there BUT there is an equally number of ‘bad’ or ‘misguided’ parents/guardians. Most parents, even some within the traditional family units are so busy living the life of Riley; sweet hearting; prostituting; raping and robbing that we do not have time for family interaction and the inclination to find out what is happening in the lives of our children and loved ones.

I call upon the Hon Prime Minister and his government of and for the unwashed and marginalized Bahamians within our society, to URGENTLY fulfill the dream and vision of the late Sir Lynden, as a legacy in his memory to establish a National Youth Service. The nuclear family has failed; The church and its leaders, basically, are not even checking from a holistic point of view. They too have failed. The politicians come and they go. So many of them are only in the political game for a short period of time to fill the quota; seek to amass as much wealth as possible and retire or be retired comfortably.

Our younger generations need to be socialized; trained in marketable skills or disciplines. The suggested National Youth Service, while it should be exposed to military discipline there should be a limit. After all most of our youths allegedly already know how to handle a firearm so we do not wish to develop human walking terrorists. While enrolled, participants would attend classes offered by BTVI AND BAMSI in varied disciplines of their aptitude or choice. Three or four days in the classroom and a day or two engaged in community services.

While in the program, participants would be given a reasonable stipend and/or serve as apprentices in partnership with the government of the day and private businesses. Such partnerships have worked well in industrialized and first-world nations. I suggest that the same could work here. Lastly, the church of The Lord Jesus Christ MUST redouble its efforts and step up to the plate more effectively.

Religious leaders are so busy seeking mammon that they have little time for Thus Saith The Lord. As a result, people now see the church as one big shakedown and regard the leaders as gangsters of the first order and spawns from the very pits of hell.!! To God then, in all things, be the glory.

Written by: Ortland H. Bodie, Jr.


If this was Facebook, I’d give you a “Like”.

It didn’t get this way overnight, and it’s gonna take 3x as long to get it back to normal – if that is even possible.

But if society continues to do nothing, society will get nothing in return, that’s for damn sure.

Comments are closed.