IN light of the recent spike in violent crime and gang violence in St. Lucia, The VOICE sought out one who had been there, so to speak, to get his take on what was happening today.
In the heart of the Marchand Boulevard, a former “Bad Boy” spoke about his past life and contemplated on his past decisions in life. Understandably, he was not comfortable with the disclosure of his personal details including his name but agreed to be called JP.
JP, who is now a small business owner in the community, upon approach is calm and friendly. When we sat for this interview, there was in the background a television set relaying international news. According to JP, watching the news both local and international is an everyday must for him.
Once we started speaking, it became clear that JP was still on the road to making peace with his past and expressed concern with the path that the new generation of troubled youth are choosing. He said he was doubtful that they will be able to live with their actions and pasts when they get older.
Keeping his answers short and to the point, here is what this reformed bad boy had to say.
The VOICE: During your “Bad Boy” days, what was life like for you?
JP: Well, I went to prison a few times for weed and other things. At that time I didn’t care about anything. I just did what I wanted to do. I didn’t care about my health or anything. Anything the Devil said to do you just do and I’d end up in trouble with people for all kinds of things.
The VOICE: What kinds of things? What did you get up to?
JP: Work. Hustling on the streets, doing all kinds of things for work but I never killed anybody. I never taught my children those things because you know when the children see you doing things, they follow you.
The VOICE: Why did you decide to choose that path in life?
JP: When you have no parents and no place to live, you do whatever the Devil tells you because you’re suffering like you’re in bondage…you don’t know where you’re going.
The VOICE: Why did you decide to come out of that lifestyle?
JP: Well, I realised it was not right. I ended up on the streets and passed through real tribulations and I checked myself…I wasn’t raised like this.
The VOICE: Marchand Boulevard is known as one of St. Lucia’s most infamous ghettos, but how bad is life there really?
JP: In the ghetto is violence, violence you dealing with. People are not dealing with love. They forget about the Almighty and let the Devil go inside them. That’s what goes on in the ghetto.
The VOICE: So do you genuinely believe that it’s the Devil who is behind all the crime?
JP: Yeah man! He goes inside the youth and make them do these things because imagine you’re (referring to The VOICE) walking down the road and somebody does something wrong to you, that’s Devil business because you don’t even know the person.
The VOICE: Let’s move on to today, what are your thoughts on the current state of St. Lucia where crime is concerned?
JP: These things are not right…it’s not good. There are children watching your every move and people continue doing the things that are not right. These guys do nothing righteous anymore for God to give them a hand in life. When these guys do their things, they’re being Satan’s hands…he is the one dealing with them and they can never live properly. They never gave life so they shouldn’t take life away.
The VOICE: If you could compare your troubled days to today’s troubles, how different would you say it is?
JP: The killings have increased. The mood of this generation has changed, they’re not moving the right way. Like they don’t have consciences. Maybe if they got enough attention from their elders and certain people who could talk to them and really take them under their wings, then they would have been more level-headed. You can’t even go to these guys now and say something like we used to say, “Hail the I”. You mad? They only respond to “Wam Dog?” “WamShotta?” That’s what you have to say to connect to them. These guys don’t want to hear the positive greetings, it’s Dog and Shotta…that’s their mentality.
The VOICE: Do you have any worries of your past coming back to haunt you?
JP: More people hurt me in the past than I hurt them; that’s why I pray for them instead. I have no worries.
The VOICE: On the other hand, are you worried for your safety in these violent times.
JP: Of course! You could be passing anywhere and these guys are doing anything. It could be you or me, if we passing whilst they’re doing their thing, they’re taking you out too. This needs to be broken down. You can’t tell me that you’re passing innocently and someone just walks up to you and knocks you down just like that; like you’re involved in something but you’re innocent. These guys are shooting and innocent people get hit.
The VOICE: As an elder in this game, you’ve been there, done that. What advice would you give to the youth going down a similar path to yours today?
JP: I would like them to stop what they’re doing early because remember, tomorrow they might want to have a child and sometimes they might not even get the chance to see that child grow. It’s time to cut out these things and try to pick up what their mothers raised them to do. That’s better, you know. Because I know their mothers never put guns in their hands and told them to become “Shottas” and “Shooters”. They were not raised to be called Dog and things like that. Your mother never made animals; she gave birth to a human being. She suffered to make you so you’re supposed to know that you need to take life seriously because life is not a joke. You only have one life, when you lose it, you have nothing left, you know?!