PM: Our nation’s youths face a wipe out
By ANDRE BAGOO Tuesday, August 13 2013
PRIME MINISTER Kamla Persad-Bissessar yesterday warned that the nation’s youths were being wiped out and were at risk of being lost through crime and emigration.
In an official message on the occasion of International Youth Day, which was celebrated yesterday, Persad-Bissessar said, “We have to protect our youths before it is too late. We appeal to parents, teachers and the churches to assist, We must watch our young men grow. “We must be proud of them when they graduate to be doctors, lawyers, teachers, engineers etc. We must not be lining up at mortuaries, funeral homes, or cemeteries.”
She set a target for improvement, stating by 2014, there must be change.
“We must ensure that our youths are not involved in criminal activity. We must ensure that our young men are not killed by rival gangs, or by the police. We must uplift them, and ensure.that our youths are moving forward in the right direction,” she said.
The Prime Minister said gang culture and migration posed threats.
“In Trinidad and Tobago, we must be careful that we do not lose our young people. Young people are attracted by what is out there in the world today. They are attracted by the bright lights abroad,” she said. “In 2010, there were an estimated 27 million international young migrants. While migration can often offer valuable opportunities and contribute to the development of communities and society at large, it can also pose risks and lead to unacceptable situations, including discrimination and exploitation. Young people make up a significant share of the global number of international migrants.”
Persad-Bissessar said while a large number of our young people are encouraged by the global demands, we have another problem at our door steps. “A section of our young population is attracted by gang activity. According to data from the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service, there are close to 100 gangs operating in the country,” she said. “Most of the members are young men, aged between 14 and 25. These young men look up to the gang leaders. They love the culture. They feel they are not wanted by either their parents or teachers. They feel no one cares too much for them. But what is the spin-off effect? They are being wiped out.”
The Prime Minister noted reports of gang activity, whose victims are between 14 and 25 years old.
“Look at the persons being taken to court in handcuffs. They are before the courts charged with offences such as murder, robbery with aggravation, and kidnapping. They are also involved in the drug trade. The youths are everywhere in the criminal world,” she said. “Look at how mothers hold their stomachs and cry over the loss of their sons. These youths die for no reason. And while the theme for this year’s International Youth Day is ‘Youth Migration: Moving Development Forward’, our youths are migrating to the great beyond.”
On December 17 1999, the United Nations General Assembly endorsed the recommendation made by the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth (Lisbon, August 8-12 1998) that August 12 be declared International Youth Day.