Hammie La says Barbados not tackling youth crime right way
Law enforcement and other authorities are being rapped for taking the wrong approach to addressing crime among young people, warning that on the current path the situation will not get any better.
Hamilton Lashley, the head of a development foundation and former Minister of Social Transformation, lamented that the current approach of dealing with effects instead of the causes “has absolutely no impact” and called for a novel way of fixing the problem that would include calling “block” leaders to the table for a national discussion.
“We are using the same old methodologies to deal with issues affecting young people . . . For years I have been saying that we should be more proactive in the communities across Barbados, that more resources should be placed in the hands of a Royal Barbados Police Force community relations proactive criminal response department, rather than putting those resources in the hands of the men in blue [Task Force] when a crime happens,” Lashley said in an interview with Barbados TODAY.
“In order to deal with this whole issue of crime that we are dealing with in Barbados, particularly crime with the gun being the preferred choice of weapon, there has to be a national response in terms of bringing every community practitioner – down to the leaders off the blocks who I call ‘not the usual suspects’ – into a national discussion on how we are going to deal with this issue.”
The head of the Hamilton Lashley Development Foundation added: “We are doing everything so wrong. All I am begging and asking is for us to look beyond what is the normal practice and the ordinary, and let’s take the extraordinary step to stabilize the communities and empower and engage the community leaders across this country.”
He cautioned that Barbados was “going down the wrong road” by not putting adequate resources behind the island’s youth.
“The old people tell you that the devil finds work for idle hands. We could avert all of that if we get into a national discourse with the communities, if we empower the community leaders,” the social activist said.
However, Lashley stressed that he did not see constituency councils playing that role.
“ . . . Because there’s a difference between selecting constituency council reps and the true community reps that are out there on the blocks and in the community.”