This is a new year and many people are talking about new beginnings and prosperity for all.
The Christian message was replaced by a message of prosperity some years ago and continues to flourish in this land and across the seas.
With the murder count reaching 79 in 2007 many of these warriors for prosperity were calling on society to pray and fast.
Government, the school system, television, music and parents have all been blamed for the state of affairs in this country.
Yet, very little has been done to turn things around.
Yes, the Minister of National Security, the Honourable Tommy Turnquest has put together a diverse group of individuals who will look at this problem of crime in the land, but what will they do?
Over the years we have moved from a country of doers to a country of talkers and now we are stuck in our own slop of verbiage.
This new year, 2008, will be no different from the previous year with regards to us blaming others for the wrongs and social ills in our society.
Parents will blame the negative influences on the music and television; teachers will blame the parents for a lack of discipline; and religious ministers will blame the immoral society.
While none is totally right, neither group is totally wrong.
But it is still my belief that much of the problems in this and any other society stem from the home.
One of the biggest negative influences in the last five to ten years has been the cell phone.
Growing up in Nassau in the 70s and 80s the only people who had cell phones were the drug dealers who communicated with each other with more immediacy.
Like most electronic devices, as the demand goes up, the price goes down, so over the years the cell phone became common place in this and other societies.
Anyone who has two cents to rub together can purchase a cell phone.
Even BTC recognizes this, so their prices have dropped significantly.
I am quite sure that The Bahamas Telecommunications Corporation can boast of huge sales during the months of November and December, with many of their phones being sold to teenagers or purchased for teenagers.
The communication age has advanced rapidly in the last decade and teenagers want to remain on the cutting edge, so parents acquiesce and supply the needs of their children.
While the telephone was originally designed to allow for easy communication, this new technology has taken easy to a new level.
Many students use these phones to cheat during tests, as well as to communicate plans of deception in an attempt to fool their parents and/or teachers.
No warning labels accompany the phones and BTC cannot be held liable for how a teenager chooses to use the phone, but perhaps a parental advisory needs to be placed on each new phone box.
The advisory could read: PARENTS DON’T BE STUPID, YOUR CHILD WILL NOT USE THIS PHONE FOR THE SOLE PURPOSE OF EMERGENCIES.
Like the gun, the phone cannot hurt or harm anyone if it is placed on the coffee table.
But once it gets into the hands of an ignorant, over-excited, unethical, unfocussed individual, all hell could break loose.
In case some of you parents are not aware, the cell phone has become like the gun in many regards.
Students are not allowed to use them to primary school, high school nor the College of The Bahamas.
Moreover, very few businesses allow employees to use their phones during working hours.
I do wish all of you a very happy new year.
But what will you be happy about this new year?
What will you aspire for in 2008 that you did not get to accomplish in 2007?
Don’t allow yourself to fall into the same traps as last year.
Try and learn from your mistakes and move forward with renewed energy.
But most of all be sensible about the choices you make for yourself and your children.
It really will make a difference in this country if every parent raised at least one child with respect and honour.
Don’t allow your life to be controlled by call waiting, blocked calls or text messages.
Just turn the darn thing off and talk face to face.
About the author: Joye Ritchie-Greene is an Educational Consultant, Writer and Martial Arts Instructor. She is the owner/operator of The Bahamas Martial Arts Academy; president of Time-Out Productions; and is also a columnist for the Freeport News. She has a B.A. in English and an M.S. in Human Resources, resides in Freeport, Grand Bahama with her husband and enjoys playing tennis. Joye can be reached at