(PRESS RELEASE) – On Friday 24th November 2017, the National Youth Council attended a National Crime Symposium at the new Financial Centre in Point Seraphine,Castries.
This was organized by Honourable Hermangild Francis, Minister responsible for National Security in collaboration with Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Phillip J Pierre.
This national discourse was timely; given the recent surge of crimes that ravage our island. The Council stated their position on the issue, aware that the solution to this crisis cannot be limited only to symposiums and discussions but requires a holistic, sustainable and long term plan of action. This multifaceted approach would address the social, psychological and financial root causes of crime.
What is it that fosters the creation of environments that predispose citizens to being at risk of developing and practicing violent behavior? Whilst it is necessary for the two (2) major approaches to work in unison, the council stressed on the importance of developing initiatives geared towards prevention as opposed to those which only seek to combat crime.
The Juvenile Justice Reform Project is one such initiative which seeks to produce positive outcomes, such as a restructured and more effective environment at The Boys Training Center. In addition, several other solutions were proposed by the council, such as a diversely structured diversion program for the youth. History has shown the success and importance of supporting the implementation of such programmes.
It is imperative at this point that such a measure be more seriously explored, given the proliferation of gun violence in the country. This equates to an obviously effective importation strategy for these weapons and their required ammunition. Improved and increased use of technology and human resource is now required to fortify the surveillance and protection of our borders and ports, to stifle local access to these weapons.
A great breakdown exists in the social structures of our society, coupled with several social ills. This in turn contributes to a people who are more at risk for potentially resorting to crime. Since many of these are young people, it is therefore necessary at this time to devise preventative methods to address these problems, beginning at the school level.
Also, additional diversification of the education curriculum at all schools is imperative in reducing our dropout rates. This will ensure that the curriculum inspires and supports the career aspirations of our youth, as some are not academically inclined and become bored very early in their tenure at school.
The council wishes to place emphasis on the importance of nurturing an environment that supports entrepreneurship among our people, particularly the youth of Saint Lucia. Minister Francis explained that the next step would be a review of all recommendations by his ministry, followed by the commissioning of a working task-force to assist with the implementation of the most plausible of these recommendations.
The Saint Lucia National Youth Council congratulates the authorities for the successful execution of this symposium and calls upon all organizations to collaborate in every effort aimed at solving this national crisis.