Some parents squandering $500 bursary “to drink, gamble” – says CRB cop

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Some parents squandering $500 bursary “to drink, gamble” – says CRB cop
CPl Silvina James

The head of the Community Relations Branch (CRB) of the Royal St. Lucia Police Force in the south is making a clarion call to the Ministry of Education to put a system in place to prevent parents from using the monies given to them under the One-Time-Bursary-Assistance programme, for no other purpose than what it is intended.

“Some of the parents use the money to drink, gamble…You go to the slot machines you find some of them there,” CPl Silvina James told this reporter in an interview.

Under the programme, $500 is given to each parent of a child who enters Form 1 at a secondary school after passing the Common Entrance exams. The programme was introduced under the former administration to ease the financial burden on parents with children attending secondary schools.

According to James, because of her experience working with young people, she is aware of some of the issues that are affecting them.

“As a CRB officer working in schools, I have first-hand knowledge of what is affecting young people. I have observed that some parents who never go to the schools their children attend are always the first to go to collect the $500,” James said.

She added: “Some of those students spend all their lives in foster homes, and the only time their biological parents know them is the day the financial assistance is given…”

She lamented that as a result of the situation, some children go to school without breakfast, proper uniforms and only a few books.

She said the money may not be adequate, but can be used in ways to assist the children in their education.

James feels that one of the ways the problem can be addressed is by giving the parents vouchers to buy their children’s need from selected business houses, rather than cash.

According to the CRB officer, if such a problem is not addressed sooner, rather than later, some of those affected children will drop out of school and turn to crime.

James said if the problem persists something should be put in place to have the delinquent parents pay back the money to the state.

She said she has already informed the Ministry of Education of her concerns and the need to have the matter addressed as soon as possible.

And she is also calling on parents to use the money for the purpose it is intended.

(78)(7)

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59 COMMENTS

  1. The guilty ones make them pay back by offering free services cleaning the streets in their community for a month. ???or government could allowed the students to use the books in school but they are not allowed to take them home. Also pay their school fees. Give them a voucher for one uniform. Just an idea. In other words do not give them any money.

    (2)(0)

  2. People are supporting the officer because they are in constant touch with other parents. The hash reality is that while they may have good intentions, the drinking and gambling may be inevitable in such a dire straits social and economic meltdown.

    People have their own problems, that's why if a loan is given at the banks they try as much as possible to direct the funds to the purpose, even though the client may appear as trustworthy as possible.

    I cannot oppose any measure which results in bringing relief to children but I have always been opposed to this "cash for all system." This could have been structured properly so it could have been administered from the schools. I think handing cash out to parents is synonymous with the unstructured way we handle political campaigns and pay bay backs for political supporters. All programs such as NICE and STEP follow the same principles; whereas they seem to try to address a socio-economic problem, their origins, operations and ultimate beneficiaries suggest something else.

    If we have to have socio-economic programs such as these then we need to approach it scientifically (knowing the numbers and its impact) so that the correct impact is achieved without creating doors to abuses or wastage.

    We refer to some sectors within the community as being "poor and marginalized," we have yet to decide or shape the official criteria for evaluating such people. We just say that they are poor, but who exactly are we talking about? How many are we talking about? What are their circumstances and what are their needs? I personally need to se better structured programs informed by science and not voodoo.

    (5)(0)

  3. Personally I would funnel the money into programmes to get parents sterilised. Crime statistics would go down overnight and space would be freed up in the prisons. And highway lanes would open up so I can get my work done faster not having to navigate around another crashed vehicle who didn't understand the limitations the laws of physics place on speeding vehicles around corners.

    (4)(4)

    • That's a rather selfish way of looking at things. I guess you were not very happy that you were born since you would have added to your generation's congestion.

      (3)(0)

      • We can start with you since you are just here mouthing off and criticising another persons ideas without having any solutions of your own.

        (0)(0)

  4. I have a great difficulty in believing in this story. The ministry of education should conduct a survey in the schools to determine what students received the bursary and whether what they spent came to $500.00 or more. those that received it and never attend school. I find the officer made a good point but she is in a position to back it with proper research. conduct research into the school bursaries instead of blaming parents. I think the ministry should introduce a breakfast policy.

    (2)(0)

  5. This officer knows so much...but it more seems like zafeir moun!if only she cudda know so much on investigating st.lucia,s rising crime situation.

    (3)(3)

  6. Too close to home? You are one of those parents abusing the system it seems. Or is someone close to you a culprit?

    (2)(2)

  7. I don't have children and I don't gamble. My tax dollars are going to someone for their children and they take the money to gamble. Fantastic.

    (1)(0)

  8. People have to be careful n making staements. Right away every body is painted for drinking and going to the slot machine. Secondly is it one business to determine what someone wants to buy to wear. In St.Lucia some people have all the answers but when it comes to their own they can fix it.

    (2)(1)

  9. Mama sutwaize. People like you will see nothing wrong until the problem gets to crisis proportions. Well said officer. We understand that you are not referring to all parents. I do know also that the problem exists.

    And Ms anonymous, the problems at schools shouldn't be the police business since we are all great and perfect parents. Our kids should be little saints. I hope you get my drift.

    (1)(1)

  10. What hypocracy.at a crb meeting or award ceremony you had a drug dealer seated among you and other police as head of crb donating hamper.how will you arrest him for drugs now.

    (2)(1)

  11. Smfh. How the hell you know on what people spending their money oh please.you should be concerned about the dictator you have at the b fort station making police officers lives miserables victimizing police officers for no reason.impacts will deal with him

    (1)(1)

  12. All what the officer is presenting there is circumstantial evidence. How can she say she's seeing them at the slot machines. Thats shate...
    Its a one time assistance. Who takes care of the students for the rest of the 5 years ?
    Those same parents who goes to the slot machines.
    Im not promoting gambling but I'm agreeing with previous comments that the majority put the $500 into good use.

    (1)(0)

  13. Officer is so right. While many parents use the money for school supplies, a lot of them use it on themselves. A child once told me her mother bought a bag of nails, polish and weave and would you believe collected used books for the child, even the notebooks were used.

    (0)(0)

  14. Hello! It could be 1 out of the lot (and we don't know who), give the voucher instead. Firstly, those who are using the $500 legitimately can still buy what they want with voucher. Secondly, that one child who is being deprived by the parent's malpractice, could have being St Lucia's next noble laureate or a joiner instead of a criminal. So we have to ensure that every child get the full benefit of the $500.00. I have trust that the CRB police is fully aware of what she is saying.

    (0)(0)

  15. Take the voucher and shove it up you'll ass! When the police raping, killing, selling drugs nun of that not affecting her ass but a lil $500 after Gov't stealing allllllll tax payers money you'll finding people wasting it! Ok keep the $500 since fees are $1, since books are $1, since uniforms are $1, since shoes are $1! If 10% of the population is St. Lucia use it wrong well the 90% put it in good use! What $500 doing soo much for somebody! Worry about all the unsolved crimes in St. Lucia n don't on a little $500

    (3)(3)

  16. Who the hell Ms James think she is ? Your job is not to make demands $500 is not much for parents and you need to mind your business find something else to get involve with, after all the crime rate is very high .

    (2)(1)

  17. I dont think the officer meant all parent is drinking and is at the machine .if u know u not in dat den don't jump pon her back cause she make alot of sense .even when the father put the money they use it for dem self and d children suffer.the officer is at the school on a daily bases so at time they hv to use their money to feed people kids.and look at dem kids mom u wont say the chikd dat u just fed belong to her.even teachers face dem problew in feeding whike they were suppose tobe in d class room teaching

    (0)(0)

  18. WE Lucian TO BUYUS A LITTLE $500 WE MAKING A WHOLE FUSS ABOUT MWEN MEM THAT OUR TAX MONIES LET THE PARENTS ENJOY IT ONE WAY OR TTHE OTHER

    (0)(1)