Something needs to be done about the rising levels of graffiti on our island. While some may start as tributes to fallen friends, untackled graffiti starts a chain reaction towards increased crime. This needs to be tackled head on by those responsible and solutions need to be considered to clean it up and put and end to it.
A couple months ago, not too long after hearing of one of many bike accident deaths we’ve had of late, a spray painted tribute appeared on the wall of a bus stop in Hamilton parish.
In the weeks and months since that tribute first appeared, the tribute grew and along with it came other spray painted remarks.
Now what can be found are the inner walls covered in a tribute, along with various initials spray painted on the walls.
The inner whiteboard which is supposed to be used to mount bus schedules and routes is covered in cursings and initials and various sayings.
It is clear that the PLP has failed in their maintenance of this bus shelter, just as they have with the one in St. David’s.
Our leadership needs to Malcolm Gladwell’s book called The Tipping Point, which tells how vandalism and graffiti serve as sources of dissent that spur the growth of crime. What began as a tribute has grown into vandalism. The reason being that because the spray painted tribute was never cleaned off, more and more people who see it begin to think they can get away with similar. So they add to it. The longer that isn’t cleaned, the more people think they can get away with disobeying the law. It causes a chain reaction. Now imagine every driver from the east end in the morning clearly seeing this graffiti. What does that cause them do to? Well, none other than begin to question their own respect for authority and begin driving more recklessly and speeding more. For really, if the government can’t be bothered to tackle things as simple as graffiti, they clearly aren’t policing properly and thus there’s less chance I’m going to get caught if I ignore the law as well. If you don’t follow this logic, I highly recommend you read The Tipping Point.
Anyway, with all of Premier Brown’s raving about his Grand Slam achievement and his encouragement of Bermudians to do their part, I really point the finger at him for not doing his own part. Very easily, some of the tourists and even people from the PGA could take a ride from the airport and see this as they ride past. Such a great image representing Bermuda don’t you think? Considering that this is a bus shelter, I place responsibility for leaving this for so long squarely on the Minister of Transportation.
Here’s my recommendation. Clean up the graffiti ASAP but still give the youth their tribute. How do you do this? Cleaning up the graffiti should be pretty straight forward, so let’s focus on the tribute. Find out who from Hamilton parish has died in bike accidents recently, especially but not limited to those to whom those wall tributes are made, interview their parents and friends to get their story and get photos of them. Then have new bus schedules posters made up and include in them photos and stories of those youth who died as a tribute. This will accomplish a number of things.
- It will earn respect from the local youth for having given their fallen colleagues the recognition that they feel they deserve.
- It will rid the area of the distasteful graffiti and help stop the spread of lawlessness.
- It will serve as a tremendously positive reminder to youth in the area why they themselves shouldn’t speed.
Following these recommendations will hopefully spark some imagination in our leadership in order to begin solving the rising levels of graffiti. The community is calling out for tributes to fallen youth and the government should be heeding their call for their own tributes will only lead to greater problems. There are real solutions for tackling such issues, just hopefully they’ll be embraced.