St. Kitts – Nevis Premier – Dr. Denzel Douglas
Photo By Erasmus Williams
Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
April 14, 2009 (CUOPM)
Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas has saluted organisations and unnamed individuals for taking initiatives to assist youths and mothers of the federation.
“My government has been using every opportunity to stress that everybody in the federation has to find some way to win the hearts and minds of our young people or maybe of some young people or at least of even one young person,” said Dr. Douglas on his weekly programme “Ask the Prime Minister.”
Dr. Douglas again warned that gang leaders are reaching out and welcoming children and teenagers into their fold, and that if “we are to have the kind of country we want, we, too, are going to have to find ways to reach out and bring young people from all walks of life into our healthier and more constructive fold.”
He disclosed that a well-established professional in the federation spoke to him over the Easter weekend about how this country might best go about influencing young men between the ages of 17 and 30.
Dr. Douglas said the unnamed person has indicated that there is a way of positively influencing them other than liming all day.
“That there is a way other than smoking ganja or breaking into people’s houses. That there is certainly a way other than shooting and stabbing each other. And this person was telling me that the only way for society to reach these young men will by interacting with them ““ one on one. eye to eye .. person to person.. human being to human being and on an ongoing and meaningful basis.
Dr. Douglas pointed out that although this person lives far away from the neighborhoods in which the shootings and stabbings are taking place and has had the best education available, is prominent and secure, that individual over the past three or four months, in response to government’s call, has established a relationship with about ten “street guys” between the ages of about 17 and 30.
“I understood from him that they meet regularly. They talk regularly. This person treats them with respect, and demands respect from them. This person makes it clear that no-body with their pants falling off can participate in any discussion or approach him in person in the street. And, believe it or not, these so-called bad boys pants are up, when they are meeting with this person on an individual basis. Their first session was constantly interrupted by calls coming in on these young men’s cell phones, and this person told them that that was disrespectful and would have to stop.
“Now these young men turn off their cells during their sessions without having to be told to – and even when they approach this person in the street to talk one-on-one, they turn off their cells. This person encourages them to admit where they’ve been wrong. He points out their areas of strength and potential. He talks to them about the rewards of hard work and sacrifice, and so on. What this role model person has learned, they say, is that expectations, standards, respect, and human concern have been totally absent from these young men’s lives. And this person believes and knows that introducing these things in their lives can make a difference, and has already begun to make a difference,” said Dr. Douglas.
He also saluted the Rotary Clubs of St. Kitts and Nevis for recognising the role that poor parenting, negligent parenting, irresponsible parenting plays in children going astray, will be erecting thought-provoking billboards throughout the federation to wake up parents to being parents, to remind every man and woman, who together create a life, what it takes to shape, and mould, and properly develop that life.
“These billboards will make a difference, and I thank the Rotary Clubs of St. Kitts and Nevis for responding to our call and stepping forward to do its part,” said Prime Minister Douglas.
He also mentioned a high school teacher who believes and knows that there is a direct relationship between those children who have difficulty reading, and those who act up in school, lose their tempers, have low self-esteem, and eventually drop out.
“This teacher lamented to me the fact that, at home, these same children get no help with their homework”¦no encouragement”¦.no guidance. And so they end up at a real disadvantage. This teacher explained to me that they have been trying to explain to friends and neighbours that working in the prisons is not the only way to fight crime,” said the Prime Minister.
“Helping 8, 10, and 12 year olds to read is also a powerful way to fight crime, this teacher stressed. This teacher has been trying to get this message out. She asked me to repeat it on this programme. We asked the public to step forward. She has stepped forward. And I thank and salute her as well,” said Dr. Douglas.
He also mentioned the Advancement of Children Foundation, which is committed to changing deviant behavior by promoting solid parenting and constructive values.
“The foundation will also be partnering with Rotary in the strong-parenting billboard campaign to which I referred earlier. We asked the public to step forward, the Advancement of Children Foundation is doing so, and we thank and salute them,” said Prime Minister Douglas.
He also thanked the Christian Council, the Evangelical Association and the Chamber of Industry and Commerce for organising the recent March Against Crime and Violence and the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force and the Boys and Girls Club of the St. Kitts and Nevis Fire and Rescue Services for organising the Boys Club and Girls and Boys Club respectively. They are stepping forward ““ as we asked them to. They are doing their part ““ as we asked them to. This was very encouraging – because this is how you strengthen a society. And this is how you secure a nation.