Minister Daniel On Big Brothers Programme
November 10, 2009
Minister of Social Development and Youth in the Nevis Island Administration Hon. Hensley Daniel said given the challenges faced daily with today’s youth, the Administration had no choice but to design and develop programmes that ensured they were kept on the right track.
The Minister whose comment came while he delivered remarks at the formal launch of a mentoring plan at the St. Thomas Primary School recently called the Big Brother Programme said the youths demanded more time and attention.
“This programme brings to 14 the number of such programmes that we are doing in the Ministry of Social Development for young people and I would want us to make every effort to ensure the success of the Big Brothers Programme,” he said.
Mr. Daniel expressed his contentment with the start of the programme which he said represented a prevention programme for the NIA.
“We have said repeatedly in Nevis, most of our efforts are directed at prevention. I want to say that again to encourage the parents and the teachers and the mentors to support the programme because prevention programmes are not very attractive and they don’t bring with them all the excitement that the crisis brings,” he said.
The Minister used the opportunity to underscore the importance of the programme in relation to the cost of rehabilitation and referred to the 40 persons from Nevis who were incarcerated at the State Prison.
“It costs $100 a day to keep them in prison, minimum, which means that we are spending $4,000 a day to keep people in prison. Multiply that by seven and get $28,000 per week, remember there are no days off in prison. Multiply that by four and you are spending $112,000 a month to keep people in prison.
“All of these programmes combined do not amount to $112,000 and to the people who are mentoring, whether you spend an hour per week or per month, when you cost your time, it will cost much less than the cost of imprisonment,” he explained.
Mr. Daniel also spoke to the cost of violence which he said had cost the health services thousands of dollars. He said the prevention programmes in the long run would save Nevis money and in the process cultivate a better society which Nevisians could always be proud of.
Meantime, Mr. Daniel urged fathers to take special interest in their sons citing that the new definition of “macho” was to take care of their children.
“A new definition of “macho” is to provide financial, social and emotional support for your children. “Macho” no longer means having children in Barnes Ghaut, Jessups and Cotton Ground but it means if a man has children he can keep them out of gangs, keep them out of violence, keep them out of drug abuse, that is what “macho” must mean for today’s fathers,” he said.
The Minister noted that studies had shown that even in the Caribbean, one of the main reasons why the young black male was prone to violence and crime was because his father was not in action and had been missing in action.
He said he was hopeful that the programme would begin to bring results in the next five to 10 years.