For positive change in the era of Covid-19, a Commission of Inquiry that is throwing a fog over the future, and a terrifying new culture of crime, social democracy is the answer.

In a land facing many troubles, the people of the Virgin Islands must make tough decisions.

For a safe homeland, residents must decide to give up some freedom for social order. The rule of law must become paramount if this community is to survive and prosper. Crime is not cool. Virgin Islands residents need to hear that.

One example of crime is the scourge of illegal scooters and guns in the community. Both can be tackled. But the community must decide it is ready for tough action in legislation and the courts, with the support of much tougher policing.

When there is ambivalence towards the need for strong laws and good order from residents, society suffers. Law and order must be backed by residents taking up the mantle of social responsibility in order for police work to succeed.

When there is cynicism towards the police and the institutions that drive the rule of law, then there is social breakdown and rising crime. There is a high acceptance of criminal behaviour in the VI, and with that a culture of silence that is never helpful in fighting crime.

However, there is a need for trust in the police, and even a purge of the police force of corrupt elements that damage that public trust.

 

Vision needed

A national vision, and with that the establishment of national priorities, has been needed for many years. That has never happened.

A great Greek once asserted that even if there is a favourable wind a vessel that has no destination will end up on the rocks. A well-defined vision and strategic plan will sustain a territory in a dangerous world. However, the rule of law underpins any vision or plan for a country or territory. There is no sustainable society without the rule of law.

Now social democracy depends upon strong and honest government. A safe, secure and harmonious society also sits strongly upon the rule of law. However, the acquiescence of most of that society for good social order can only be realised when the society “holds one head” and is working with resilient public institutions in unity.

Institutions of governance cannot be seen to be working against each other. And when there is disharmony at the top, this trickles down into the street, and the result is lawlessness and even anarchy.

 

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