The cost of children behaving badly
As far as own goals go, the one that took place at the Fairmont Southampton on New Year’s Eve was as deflating as they come.
What better way to trash the reputation of Bermuda than to make a train wreck of our most famous hotel and give the impression to any of the holidaymakers in the vicinity that we can be as boorish, uncouth and ill-intentioned as the worst that can be found in the “developed” world.
The dirty linen has been well and truly aired, with the hotel largely viewed as the fall guy — other than the young man who had to be admitted to the intensive care unit of the hospital.
When the armchair critics finish rounding on hotel management for any number of policy missteps that allowed scores of teenagers to run rampant on the property, what is undeniable is that the country continues to have a serious problem with unruly youth.
Indeed there must be some form of accountability sought at the hotel because there is no way that such reported disturbances should go unchecked without security or the police being alerted to force the would-be troublemakers to make an early night of it, nipping in the bud hours more of misadventure.
But that did not happen until it was too late, leaving the hotel in an invidious position with regard to policy going forward and starting the year with a bang of the unwanted variety.
The other innocent victims are the many young people of this island who get tarred by the same brush as the bad seeds while trying on a daily basis to do positive things, making their parents and communities proud, and filling the rest of us with confidence that the country may just be in good hands once left to the next generation.
However, it would take some doing if any of our future leaders are to come from those who were hellbent on a night of carnage on Sunday, heading into Monday morning. It is to be hoped that they will not, unless an intervention can bring about a significant attitude adjustment.
The apologists for children behaving badly will have had the most sheepish looks on their faces on Monday morning as the news spread of the disturbance. The questions for the parents are obvious, but if parental guidance is to score low marks on any day of the year, December 31 on an island that doesn’t need an excuse for a party would rank very high.
That is not meant to be viewed as an excuse, for the bad and absentee parenting took place long before New Year’s Eve; the results to be found in the damage at the hotel, the concussive injuries to the youngster who was left unconscious and three men facing robbery charges.
Not to mention the dreadful experience of fellow guests. One took to our comments thread a day or so after the night of shame: “I am not the police, but can indeed verify that most were in the age range of 14-18,” she said of the perpetrators. “I was present at the hotel along with my family [small children] and am beyond horrified and disgusted at the events that transpired. We were located [on] the fourth floor, right by where [the] individual [was] found unconscious, and it was apparent by 10pm that there was cause for concern.
“The hallways were flooded with youth, moving from room to room, and the smell of marijuana was rampant. From [approximately 2am to 4am], it was complete havoc. Fights, screaming, cursing, banging on room doors, disgusting language, bottles smashing, people running up and down the halls.
“It got pretty scary and one couldn’t help thinking that the worst might happen. At 4.30am the police knocked on our door to see if we had witnessed anything. When I opened our door there was blood on the carpet outside.
“The hotel was booked heavily with overseas guests spending a lot of money to enjoy what they would expect for the price, as a high-end holiday. The four couples I spoke with were mortified by the events and were refunded for [their] stays. I can’t imagine what this would have cost the hotel. Downright disgusting.”
Before the conservatives can retort “you see what decriminalisation gets you?”, it needs adding that there was no shortage of alcohol made available for a host of prepubescents — giving lead to a dangerous cocktail for underdeveloped minds borne of the already socially maladjusted.
The one positive is that no one died. To pluck that as a salient fact from a night of mayhem shows how desperate we are for any small wins in a time of social degradation when we cannot be trusted to celebrate a joyous occasion without dancing cheek to cheek with disaster.
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