In connection with the current armed robberies throughout our Islands I would like to make some observations which are intended to be helpful.

First: that while it is true there may exist factors such as material deprivation or educational deficiency in the perpetrators, the core issue is a moral and spiritual one - the presence of naked evil, which expresses itself in placing ones immediate desires over and above any regard for the peace of mind, let alone the rights, of anyone else.

As a community we are called therefore to bring the situation under control in short order. If we do not, the result for the country will be worse than a family that is in fear of its own youngsters, or a classroom in which the most belligerent children have gained the upper hand.

I have pointed out in other forums that the anonymity that has become acceptable in other contexts like the blogs is a factor in the development and spread of this pernicious evil. Other people too have correctly pointed out that there are vehicle users illegally driving over-tinted vehicles: indeed I have recently seen one of these actually advertising its nefarious tinting operation, driving in the middle of town. It has also been pointed out that vehicles are being commonly driven with obscured or even missing licence plates. For these situations to be allowed to continue is obviously begging for trouble.

Secondly: that in spite of the claimed factor of material deprivation, which I admit often to be present, the perpetrators nevertheless can make the sacrifice of purchasing unnecessary clothing in our tropical warmth, such as hoodies, which are often combined with other items that they or others fashion into masks. The point I wish to make here is that in common with other countries in the world, our country is fully entitled to come to the view that certain items of attire are unacceptable on grounds of the safety and security of the community in general, and to take swift and effective action against anybody who possesses such items. If legislative action is necessary for this, then it should be taken at once: or perhaps such action is already allowed by police protocols.

I fully recognise and understand the general hesitation that so far has been the reaction to this particular suggestion; but the circumstances of our time now both provide and demand a resolve and proactivity that have perhaps not been needed so far. It should be noted that we are not alone in the matter: other countries too, such as France and Belgium, and reportedly the Netherlands, Switzerland and Luxembourg about to do likewise, have banned the public use of the niqab and the burka, for reasons of public safety and security. It should be noted that all of these countries, like ourselves, are signed up to the European Convention on Human Rights. Moreover, in our case and unlike theirs, the banned items would (so far) have no religious significance.

Bishop Nicholas Sykes

3 Oct 2013