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Amcham hosts youth forum on crime

Sunday, May 4 2014

The American Chamber of Commerce of Trinidad and Tobago yesterday hosted its fifth National Youth Productivity Forum at the Hilton ballroom, the event putting the spotlight on students from four schools — the North Gate College, St Augustine, Presentation College, Chaguanas, Cowen Hamilton Secondary School, Moruga and Iere High School, Siparia.

The four teams represented different sectors in society: the Civil Society, Business Sector, the Labour Sector and Government; and were charged with discussing the topic of Crime and Security.

In each of their opening statements, the student teams displayed maturity and depth of knowledge while describing ways in which crime could be stopped using information gleaned from independent research and discussed measures to reduce violence. The students also drew a link between white collar and blue collar crime.

Speaking with Sunday Newsday, AmCham President Hugh Howard spoke about the structure of the forum.

“When we decided on this initiative we said we did not want a debate model where one side takes the affirmative, and the other takes the negative, and you have people hurling ideas at each other.

“What we wanted was for young people to look at an issue, whether national or international from the point of view of the society as a whole, take those various perspectives, discuss the issue, find a collaborative solution and implement the services.

“ Over the past 5 years we have seen development in terms of presentation discussions and students taking time to do research, so that when they hold the round table discussion they are speaking from knowledge that has been acquired and not just ‘airy fairy’ statements.”

Howard also commended the males on their ability to explain the points researched, and also commended the students, who came from various schools. which were not considered ‘prestige’, on their coherent expression on the main topic.

“One of the things we have been hearing all the time particularly when it comes to men that they are inarticulate and this is why they get into crime, but anyone that had the privilege of listening to these young people tonight will see that the boys are just as articulate as the girls,” he said.

Several prizes were awarded to the students who participated in the forum.

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