Many people are outraged by the atrocious beating and killing of the young Grenada-born man, and Canadian citizen, Oscar Bartholomew, by Grenadian police, while he was on vacation with his family. This horrible crime has caught the attention of many people. Consequently, this unfortunate incident are now forcing many Grenadians, both local and abroad, to conformed that there has been many complaints made by local Grenadian citizens, reporting being abuse by police officers. In fact, in my discourse with many Grenadians, in the Diaspora (Brooklyn, New York), mostly men, have reported being roughed-up by police officers when on vacation too. They complained that police officers appear to purposely target them, the visiting Grenadians. Some recall being told that because you guys “come from abroad,” you guys think that you can come back and rule things.
As I listened to these concerns, it becomes clear that there was something more happening underneath the grievance. Something more than rouge police officers just running around abusing people. What say you? There is something more lurking under the surface of our social relationship that is affecting the connection between Grenadians men in the diaspora and Grenadian men back home? Is this neglected aspect of our relationship responsible, to some extent, for the police grossly overreacting in this horrible incident mentioned above? I think it is. Of course, I am not making an excuse for those police officers who act in this horrible incident. My position still stands, “No excuses for thugs: police or otherwise.” These police officers should have known better. Thus, they must be dwelt with very seriously. My goal here, however, is to identify, not the only aspect, but a facet within the social relationship between Grenadians abroad and local Grenadians, that is affecting our community connection.
There is, I believe, a sense of entitlement exhibited by Grenadian men (women also but it appears to be more chronic among the men) who find themselves fortunate to travel abroad. This sense of entitlement is often demonstrated whenever these men come back home on vacation. Many of these men display the “I am better than you” behavior, to the locals. In fact, this behavior doesn’t stop at just a demonstration. It materializes in these men (as they are affectingly named, “JUST COME BACK” or “JCB”) actively wanting to create disturbance in local families’ relationships. This is the bizarre relationship, of which I speak. And it is certainly undermining the social relationships among Grenadians. These “JCB” men come back home with the idea in their heads that they will and can take away any woman they want from their boyfriends or husbands for the short timespan that they are on vacation.
Most often than not, these “JCB” men are married, family men themselves. However, they consciously will leave their wives and children behind to engage in such morally bankrupt actions, and, on their return to New York, compares notes, as to which woman/women they took advantage of or which woman/women they made leave their boyfriends or husbands for two weeks. “I did this to that woman,” and “I take this woman in such and such place and did this and that to her,” etc. They believe that once they touch down in Grenada, they are King. They speak of how dumb or stupid “her” man was/is, etc.
It is, I am quite certain, that this attitude, portraying the local men in such a degrading manner that is creating a reaction to the “JCBs”, and it is being played out in our law enforcement relationship with the public. The local Grenadian men, many of who are in the police force, are trying to find an equalizer. And embarrassing the “JCB” men is one way, they believe, to get their revenge on these egocentric “JCBs” men. Consequently, and quite sadly, all these aggressive behavior, displayed by the male police officers, is mostly, I believe, that push-back playing out.
This certainly is not good for our country. It is an aspect, I believe, played out in the horrible death of Oscar Bartholomew. Certainly, his death was not as a result of this social dynamic. This is independent speculation in the realm of possibilities. However, aspects of the irrational reaction taken by the police officers involve in committing this despicable crime may have been informed from this very social dynamics. The police officers were taking revenge, and, it did not matter who it was. The result, most likely, was going to be the same. Nevertheless, if my observation is true, how can we turn this problem around? I believe that changing this social behavior can help to better the way Grenadians interact with each other. This certainly depends on us, Grenadians living in Grenada and in the diaspora. We should cultivate a sense of respect for each other. For those of us who were/are fortunate enough to travel to greener pastures, our job, as Grenadians in the diaspora, is not to make local Grenadians feel inferior to us. We should learn as much as we can, become mature Grenadians, so that we can contribute meaningfully to our country’s development.