Government has made the issue of crime and deviance its number one priority as it seeks to stamp out criminal behaviour plaguing communities across the island.
That promise came from Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment Dwight Sutherland while speaking to young volunteers of the Prince’s Trust International, as they unveiled the newly refurbished Salisbury Community Park in St George on Thursday.
Though Sutherland noted that many young people were doing great things, he underlined the need to do more because of the large number of violent offences committed by other youngsters. This trend, according to him, has not gone unnoticed by the Government which sees these matters as very serious.
“I want to put on record that my Ministry, on behalf of the Government of Barbados, through the leadership of our astute Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley, will solve this problem of deviant behaviour within communities, through partnerships with Prince’s Trust International, through partnerships with the Royal Barbados Police Force and other stakeholders who have your interest at heart, as young people,” he said.
Sutherland also made mention of the worrying statistics that point to a large number of young men landing in prison over the last few years.
“We have some 852 young men in jail – 65 per cent of them are under the age of 35 years old, and when you look at the deviant behaviour and the crime being committed in this country, it’s being done by young men between the ages of 16 and 30,” the Youth Minister said.
“Programmes such as these are programmes that are proactive and preventive in nature, and not addressing the challenges of crime after the person has committed the [offence]. We believe in preventative measures such as these programmes by the Prince’s Trust International, where you can take that at-risk group of young men and women and give them lifelong skills and the opportunity to earn a living.”
Minister Sutherland also said young people must play their part in the island’s development as they will be the nation’s future leaders.
“Youth development is national development. Barbados’ future hinges on you, the young people of this country, becoming global citizens and creating and developing lifelong skills that you indeed can play your part in Barbados’ development,” he stated. (SB)
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