AS we celebrate our national heritage and the contribution of our heroes, it is always useful to also contemplate how we can improve on various aspects of national life.
It is probably not unreasonable for someone — not necessarily a cynic — to say that those aspects are too numerous to tally.
That may be. For today, though, this newspaper wishes to focus on something that we believe is a major hindrance to the achievement of goals and objectives at all levels of national life.
We refer to a most unfortunate inclination — perhaps fuelled by our laid-back culture — to allow small problems to become huge.
A prime example is this vexing issue of teenagers causing chaos at the Half-Way-Tree Transport Centre on a Friday afternoon.
Sunday Observer stories pointing to unruly, anti-social and even criminal behaviour among students at the centre have caused consternation. We are told that, in addition to behaving badly, many students use the transport centre as a venue to meet and 'lyme' on a Friday, rather than promptly going home.
The result has been extreme inconvenience at peak hour for adults going home from work and loss of business for the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC).
As expected the authorities have responded. We are now being told that the police high command has met with the various stakeholders and several measures will be put in place to bring order to the transport centre.
We hear that, in addition to actions to ensure security and accountability of behaviour, a sort of oversight committee is being established.
According to Police Commissioner Mr Owen Ellington: "We have established a education sub-committee consisting of representatives from the transport centre management, the JUTC, Port Management Agency, the St Andrew Central police, the Community Safety and Security Branch, and the Island Special Constabulary Force, and they will meet on a weekly basis, starting now, until we are able to implement some of these measures and have some effect."
We would suggest to Mr Ellington, et al, that even after the measures have been implemented and "have some effect", the sub-committee should not be disbanded. Rather, it should remain active to ensure that the problem does not reappear some time next year or the year after.
Which brings us back to the nagging question: Why was the problem allowed to escalate to the point where those in charge no longer had control on a Friday afternoon? And, why did it require a newspaper article for the authorities to realise that there was a problem?
It seems to us that if those with responsibility for the bus park were being appropriately attentive and proactive, the matter could have been nipped in the bud a long time ago.
It's not enough for us as a society to simply complain that 'di pickney dem bad'. Children — whether well behaved or not —are minors requiring society's care, protection and guidance. They should be treated as such.