Blame the gangs!

Husbands responds to rise in school violence

The recent upsurge in violence among students is being blamed on a rise in gang activity at learning institutions.

Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Education Senator Harry Husbands today said gangs were infiltrating the island’s schools, and were getting into territorial fights at the encouragement of grown ups.

“What the Ministry of Education has been looking into for sometime, and what came home forcefully to me yesterday, is that there are gang elements in Barbados who are attempting to infiltrate the schools,” Husbands said this morning at a news conference at the Ministry of Education.

“The people who are standing around and encouraging these behaviours in the schools are adults,” he added.

“I am of the view that when children cross that threshold on mornings they have a different experience from what is going on in their society; and right now, as we speak, especially in secondary schools, there are elements outside of the school seeking to disrupt that, and those elements must be dealt with in a firm way.”

From left, Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Education Senator Harry Husbands, Minister of Education Ronald Jones and Chief Education Officer Karen Best during today’s news conference.

A stabbing at Grantley Adams Memorial School on Tuesday, which left four students injured, forced the school’s closure yesterday and today, teachers met with the Ministry of Education to discuss their safety and that of the students.

A week earlier four students from the Daryll Jordan and Frederick Smith secondary schools suffered multiple stab wounds as violence erupted among students of the two schools aboard a state-run Transport Board school bus.

Husbands spent much of yesterday hearing the concerns of the Grantley Adams Memorial School teachers.

He did not attend today’s talks, which were being held while the Senator was meeting the media, accompanied by Minster of Education Ronald Jones, Chief Education Officer Karen Best and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education June Chandler.

The former educator said there was a history of community disputes being transferred to the schools.

However, he said the problem had become more widespread and deliberate.

“There are longstanding traditional issues in our schools like country children versus town children. We all know that this has long been an issue but the difference now is that there is easy access to weapons of one sort or another,” Husband stressed,

Three male students, a 16-year-old and two 14-year-olds, have since appeared in court in connection with Tuesday’s stabbing. The 16-year-old, a resident of Bush Hall, St Michael, was charged with causing a disturbance.

He pleaded guilty and was granted $500 bail with one surety. He will return to court on April 12. The 14-year-olds, residents of Station Hill, St Michael and Tourville, St Joseph, were charged with causing serious bodily harm. One of them pleaded guilty and was remanded to the Government Industrial School (GIS) until April 12. The other pleaded not guilty and was remanded to the GIS until February 15.

This morning Husbands said the Ministry of Education needed the support of every Barbadian to curb school violence.

“We have all these programmes where we get the police to help us with this situation. However, we as society have to challenge this gang-like activity making its way in our schools. Today we are talking about Grantley Adams but we know that what is going on at one school is going on at other schools.

“It may be at a greater or lesser extent somewhere else but there would be elements there, and the challenge would be to arrest that and try to make these schools 100 per cent safe zones for students and for the adults who go there to work or perform legitimate activity,” he said.

Attorney General Adriel Brathwaithe yesterday announced that a new Juvenile Justice Bill scheduled to go before Parliament “in another week or two”, would hold parents responsible for violent acts committed by their children.

Brathwaite said he was banking on the new Bill to help address violent crime, particularly among the youth.

“One of the things that I have asked the Ministry of Home Affairs to do is to bring forward our Juvenile Justice Bill so we can have it within the Parliament in another week or two,” Brathwaite told reporters on the periphery of the annual police conference
at Solidarity House, Harmony Hall, St Michael.

He said the proposed legislation makes provision for parents to be held accountable “because you have to accept that there is a relationship between the behaviour that you are seeing manifested at the schools and what is happening now”.

13 Responses to Blame the gangs!

  1. Alex Alleyne February 9, 2018 at 11:24 pm

    I remember clearly WHEN the talk of GANGS came up that there were such in BIM. The response was “NO GANGS IN BIM , JUST A FEW LAWLESS BOYS/MEN”.
    Same thing when we try to bring to light that there will be problems ahead if we don’t nip ‘CRIME & VIOLENCE ” in the bud.
    The ‘ole saying “A STITCH IN TIME SAVE NINE”.

  2. straight talk February 10, 2018 at 5:04 am

    Blame Jones .

  3. Greengiant February 10, 2018 at 5:23 am

    The phone tapping accusation is an attempt to sidestep the real issue too.

    For some the only issues are an election, a change of government, and power.

    For others like myself the issues remain a change of policies, a change in style of governance, and shifting the power to (law abiding) citizens. Yes we have to do all that’s needed to reduce the influence of the lawless citizens, deport our guests and imprison for lengthy periods all offenders within our society.

    These measures and only these will bring some stability back to our communities, institutions and country. Now bring that Juvenile Justice Bill with haste. Let me see those in this society who will try to block it’s passing too. We are watching.

  4. Tony Webster February 10, 2018 at 6:00 am

    “Jones” ; . “Jonesian” . A noun/ adjective denoting contempt; of trying to dodge one’s responsibilities. Also synonym for “Joker”

    Not to be casually or capriciously applied to anyone with whom one might have a difference of opinion, but reserved for those of whom one has little or no regard, or respect.

    Yes, from Webster’s dictionary…how on earth did you guess?

  5. jrsmith February 10, 2018 at 6:14 am

    Barbados needs to show to the world , our claims of how educated we are , … Lots of bad and criminal habits bajans tend to pick up from some foreign lands …
    This question to our politicians and law enforcement…………
    Why we have young people from white and other ethnic groups in Barbados and they young ones , is not behaving as like young black bajans………
    My take (gangs ) what our law enforcement is there to do , to keep the peace and security of our people who ever there are in Barbados………………………. We need to stop treating criminals who ever there are with kid gloves , we need to arrest who ever commits a crime let them do some time, in our schools our kids know what they are doing and they should be arrested , impose heavy fines on they parents / guardians or imprison them………
    My old aunt who lives near a certain school in Christ church , is scared of happenings she see daily from her upper veranda , overall she is getting scared of Barbados………….

  6. seagul February 10, 2018 at 6:22 am

    Community policing must be created to take back communities. Healing is a necessary component of any campaign to end gun violence. There has been much trauma inflicted upon large segments of the population in these areas. Whether guided by fear, personal loss, grief, or conscience, each individual has a responsibility to work for peace and equity. Personal power may be limited but collectively it commands authority. Building an urban peace movement is about reaching marginalized individuals as well as the mainstream and placing ownership of the prosperity and life of the community in their hands….Deeper Soul/Ajani

  7. harry turnover February 10, 2018 at 7:04 am

    ….and blame the upsurge of GANGS on the DEMOCRATIC LABOR PARTY .

  8. Sheron Inniss February 10, 2018 at 7:06 am

    I thought we did not have gangs. LOL. Lord come for your world.

  9. Joy February 10, 2018 at 7:10 am

    Blame the Minister and Ministry of Education for failing to take action on the complaints of teachers about violence against them! Apparently it’s only now a cause of concern when students are being injured! If my child was injured I would bring a law suit against the government of Barbados and name the Ministry of Education as a party.

    I would bring every teacher I could find who was a victim of school violence as a witness that the Minustry knew there were problems and failed to act!

  10. Committed Bajan February 10, 2018 at 7:44 am

    We are so sure that it’s the children
    We have to consider the difficult home situations that some of these children come from
    Whether it be sexual or physical abuse or neglect these children sometimes bully others so that at least for those few moments they are not the victim
    The older sister who would now have a few children and ensure that her younger sibling does not benefit from the system because she refused to
    The same with the older drop out drug pusher brother
    It’s not just the children
    Look into the big picture not at it

  11. Alex Alleyne February 10, 2018 at 10:51 am

    Was a BLOOD TEST peform on these youngsters to see if a “foreign substance” was found in the blood.
    CANABIS or CRACK COCAINE etc ??????????????????????.

  12. Alex Alleyne February 11, 2018 at 9:39 am

    Also URINE test.

  13. David Hall February 11, 2018 at 5:17 pm

    Demons, Gangs, Parents, everything except the administration. The Buck stops here buddy.The Ministry of Education had has more than 3 billion in the last 8 years and nothing to show for it.


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