CDB head wants focus on youth

13687452-2fd7-46cd-9386-39e5dc5914b7A major financial institution is advising

the Freundel Stuart Administration to make

the special needs of young people a top

priority, if it wants to put the brakes on

crime and violence in the country.

President of the Caribbean Development

Bank Dr. Warren Smith is giving that same

advice to this country’s regional neighbours.

Speaking this morning at the opening

of the Association of Caribbean

Commissioners of Police Inter-Sessional

Meeting at Divi Southwinds Resort in

Christ Church, Smith identified the youth

demographic as posing a major challenge for

this island and the rest of CARICOM.

He said the social and economic

conditions under which a large number

of young people live, gave rise to crime

and violence.

The CDB chief observed that with 64

per cent of the Caribbean’s population

under age 30, their participation in the

labour force was low.

“Large numbers fall within the ranks of

the long term hard core unemployed. They

are poorly educated and are trapped in

low or semi-skilled jobs. These conditions

increase the propensity for crime among

our region’s youth,” he asserted.

For him, the solution is for the government to

provide training and education which will empower

them to make good choices for themselves and

improve their chances of escaping poverty and

avoiding a life of crime.

Smith said changing the outcomes for young

people must begin with early intervention

programmes in schools.

He is also drawing to the attention of Barbados

and other regional governments that their

economic growth has an important connection

to public safety.

The bank boss argued that while community

policing was necessary, it was not sufficient to

deal with the over crime and violence situation.

Smith is therefore suggesting a

comprehensive mix of policies that would get to

the real causes.

He said the region could increase its per

capita investment by three per cent once it

implements such policies.

“By reducing inequalities and by expanding

the range of choices open to the wider section

of society, [this can] create conditions for lower

rates of violent crime.

Effective resolution of our citizens’ security

concerns then, should involve a comprehensive

solution that attempts to reduce crime, whilst

promoting broad based sustainable economic

growth,” declared the CDB head.

“If we are to create for our people that

desired living standard in an environment of

peace and safety, then we will need to design an

effective mix of policies that put our people first;

that places crime prevention and control of antisocial

behaviours at the centre of our countries’

growth and development agenda,” added Smith.

“We can no longer behave as if public safety

is the preserve only of the security forces and that

crime can only be controlled by effective policing,”

concluded the CDB president.


One Response to CDB head wants focus on youth

  1. Tony Webster December 4, 2013 at 6:20 am

    Kudos to Dr.Smith, for putting his finger on one of those pachyderms sitting quietly in our living-rooms! Anyone (everyone?) with a “horizon” of over five years, needs reminding that the youth are our only really “permanent” resource…notwithstanding their transitory and nebulous nature. I have found that they hold all the promise and raw ability of previous youthful generations which I have experienced, but it has become increasingly difficult (and frustrating) to hold their attention for anything greater than two or three minutes! Maybe, we need more youthful 20-year-old teachers with special training, just to communicate effectively with them …or just vaporise all cell-phones, and similar hypnotic influences? A friend of mine who was a career teacher, took early retirement in the late 80’s…because even then, he couldn’t “Take it any more”. I can only guess at what current teachers are faced with!

    While increasing the allocation of G.D.P. towards the “youth segment” would be an essential first step, one is still left with a couple of “smaller-sized-patchyderms” waiting just down the road: WHAT skills do we teach them, as we ourselves do not know precisely what our economy will be 2/3 years hence…far less, 15 years forward; HOW do we shape better attitudes, (including having a much healthier regard for entrepreneurship); and HOW do we instill (resurrect?) certain social and moral values at school, while they live a different reality, at home?


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