Many Young Caribbean Males Are In Prison
January 13, 2009
The young males of the Caribbean are becoming an endangered species and new prisons and increased security budgets would not provide a solution to the problem. This is the view of Nevis’s Minister of Youth Affairs and Social Development, the Honourable Hensley Daniel. Mr. Daniel made the observation during and interview with the Department of Information last week at his Charlestown Office, while announcing plans by his Ministry for the designation of 2009 as the “Year of the Family” on Nevis.
“The first thing is this, many of them are in our prisons. Imprisonment is staggering! And we are thinking of building a new prison. And when you think of building new prisons, that’s an admission of failure to address the critical issues of prevention and rehabilitation because your young people are not supposed to be in prison”.
“The young males are underachieving, and this underachievement in education in particular is leading to the anti-social behaviour. We have to ensure that most of our young people achieve in education and training in school, the Minister of Youth said.
Noting that the family held the key to the social and economic development of the region, Mr. Daniel also looked at the potential implications for the region, in the event that this trend is not addressed.
“The implication for Nevis and the Caribbean is this: it is going to burst our budgets, because we will never be able to generate the resources needed to put a cap on crime and violence and anti-social behaviour. If you look at all the budgets in the region you see a significant increase in security.
“And what that is suggesting is that you are trying to deal with a situation that is already very serious,. What we are saying in Nevis, is that we have the ability to pull this thing back. We have the means by which we could institute prevention and rehabilitation programs based on our tradition of strong families rooted in religious and cultural activities,” he said.
Minister Daniel who also holds responsibility for Community Development said with the combined efforts of the family, school, church, community and government we could work together to save the young male of the Caribbean.
“We cannot hope to provide the financial resources to arrest crime; we must work on prevention and rehabilitation, but of course we have to address the incidence of criminal activity. The problem is that the young males are under achieving and the level of engagement with their parents is low. That is the basis on which they are endangered.
“But in a country that is the size of ours we are supposed to be able with the collective efforts all people to put a cap on this and save our children, save our sons,” Mr. Daniel said.