Wed | Nov 29, 2023

Letter of the Day | Fatherless young men turning to crime

Published:Saturday | September 30, 2023 | 12:06 AM


It is another day and, once again, we are running around the track, passing the baton to another generation to experience issues of absent fathers. It is no secret that crime and violence is Jamaica’s number-one problem, and that men are the number-one perpetrators of crime in Jamaica.

The biggest gang trial that is now at the sentencing stage at the Supreme Court highlights the issue of absent fathers. Of the 15 members of the Clansman gang, 14 are men and one, a woman, who have been convicted on different charges.

The title of ‘single mother’ is often branded about and worn like a medal around the necks of some mothers. They are made to feel extra special on Mother’s Day by, among others, their sons who see them as mothers and fathers.

Now, something is amiss with mothers bearing the burden of fathers in the home. It is ironic that the same boys who struggle with their mothers, while cursing their fathers, become fathers themselves. However, they unfortunately fall into the same trap of delinquency of their predecessors. How do we break the cycle? Men often stand out as; dons, musicians, in sports and other things, but, in the area of parenting, they are missing.

Now that it is overtly clear that the absence of fathers playing an active part in the life of their child is a recipe for them to become a gang member, what are we going to do about it? The millions of dollars spent on at-risk youths and social intervention programmes are not bearing the expected fruits, and our desperation is bubbling over.

The State has employed its most extreme crime-fighting measures, but still men continue to be the heads of gangs and head the crime list, instead of playing their part in the home. We can come up with expansive plans and programmes but, until the issue of the absent fathers in the home is fixed, we will be exercising futility. We should put more emphasis on fostering the right behaviours in our boys. We need to be deliberate to say positive things to our boys, to lead them by holding their hands. We need to teach boys how to channel their energies in a positive direction, hug them, show them love, and affirm them.

We have, for years, embraced the narrative that ‘man fi have nuff gyal’, but this, however, has negatively impacted the home. It has left a void in the lives of our boys that is often filled by dons and gang members. It seems we are slowly realising the importance of men, as attorneys plead for leniency after the deeds of criminals have crippled the lives of many. Now that we now say ‘God save the King’, we pray that focus be placed on fixing the males.