The Princess and the Ugly Frog!!

Posted by at 29 November, at 07 : 42 AM Print

By Dr. Neals J. Chitan

November 10, 2017, will be remembered as a gloomy rainy day in Grenada, and the rain was not caused by weather precipitation, but by the tears of both sorrow and anger that drenched the social landscape of the Spice Isle, as the lifeless body of nine year old Ariel Bolah was discovered a few days after, brutally desecrated, damaged and trampled on the ground by a teenage perpetrator.

As father of young children in the eighties, I fondly remember the wit and dreams of the beloved fictional mermaid character Princess Ariel of the 1989 Waltz Disney movie “Little Mermaid.” I remember the magic, passion and persistence involved in making her dream of transforming from a mermaid to an “on-legs” princess and marrying Eric the prince, a reality.

However, the scene to be played out in this November 2017 non-fictional movie will see another Princess Ariel savagely robbed from the opportunity to achieve her dreams and passions, like her fictional namesake. As I watched the unfolding of the discovery of the brutally violated body of Princess Ariel Bolah, I wished it were the scene from another fictional movie which can be switch off with a click of the remote, but alas, I had to slap myself back into the reality of this accursed moment.

As the days following this gruesome discovery to the laying of Ariel to her final resting place dragged on, the question that punctuated every conversation, whether on social media or in live chats, (and by the way one that needs to be answered) was, “What would drive someone do such a horrible thing to a nine year old child?”

The problem with this question is that it very frequently dies in its unanswered state as soon as the victim is laid to rest!! No meaningful answers are sought so as to prevent the re-occurrence of such acts. You see, the process of digging, studying, assessing, analyzing and evaluating to find root causes can be time consuming, sacrificial and even traumatizing for the seeker. As a result, very few or no one venture(s) in this domain. Yet we hope it would never happen again!!

In my role as an International Social Skill Consultant and Crime Reduction Specialist, I have argued over and over that, most times, the “handwriting is on the wall” with such perpetrators long before, but parents, guardians and teachers are too busy or naïve to recognize them. Sometimes, parents treat anti-social behavior in their children as just “cute” or “people picking on my child” while leaving these diabolic issues to grow into societal mayhem.

In the case of the alleged teenager who unleashed his self-gratifying and murderous fury on this sweet child, despite my primitive layman’s anger and thirst for revenge and justice, I have to let my professional mandate for rehabilitation ask the question. “Were there socially dysfunctional warning signs in his life that if meaningfully addressed could have saved Princess Ariel’s life and the grief and hurt that her family now experience?”

The answer to that question came in a media report which suggested that the seventeen year old who is charged for this homicide has two other previous charges pending in the court. It also came from an unofficial report I got from on the ground in Grenada, that he was an extreme behavioral student that was expelled from high school. Now, if that is not “Handwriting on the wall,” I don’t know what is!!

If the truth be told, and by the way, not many people like to hear it, the question that should honestly be asked by the powers that be in Grenada is, “What sustainable rehabilitative system do we have in place to intercept socially dysfunctional youth from sliding down the uncontrollable spiral into a life of crime and violence?”

Seriously intercepting and rehabilitating this seventeen year old, instead of discarding him to his own social demise could have made the difference between the sweet Princess Ariel living or dying or from him becoming a success story or a menacing ugly frog.

I pray that God will give the parents and family of Princess Ariel the strength to cope with the loss of this gracious child and I pledge my professional support and help to them as I come home in the next few days. However, I also pray that God will inspire the ministries, agencies and other organizations whose mandate it is to bring hope, inspiration and social change concepts to our children and youth of Grenada, thus reducing the chances of losing another princess or prince to another “ugly frog.”

To these entities, I also pledge my professional support as I return home December 03-10, 2017.

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