Head of the National Task Force on Crime Prevention, Cheryl Willoughby, has taken to task the behaviour exhibited by some of our young women and girls in terms of their dress and behaviour, and has expressed disappointment over their blatant lack of self-respect and decline in society.
Speaking yesterday at the presentation ceremony for the sixth annual Primary and Secondary Schools Art Competition at the Courtyard by Marriott, Hastings, Christ Church, Willoughby told attendees that, as she looked around Barbados these days, she was not very pleased with the conduct of some young women.
“It distresses me to see the way how our young people are dressed, the way they speak, the way how they carry themselves and the way they interface with each other. It distresses me,” she stressed.
However, while expressing delight that the task force’s message was reaching its target audience and obtaining its objectives in the schools with regards to crime prevention, the director explained that the art competition was just one of a number of strategies that were being used to address crime and deviance within schools and communities.
“We have the dispute resolution programme as well in secondary schools and that programme seeks to target children who have behavioural problems, [and] who have problems with their anger. We also have the 11-plus programme In the Winners Circle and that targets children transitioning from primary to secondary school.”
She added that as a result of the task force’s research they recognised that when children reached secondary school age they were faced with a number of challenges that they were not successfully negotiating such as drug usage as well as sexual promiscuity.
“We felt that we needed to have these programmes going so that we can educate children who are moving from one stage of their social development to the next to have a better understanding of some of the challenges that they are going to be faced with,” she explained.
Pointing out that the agency was also focusing on empowering young girls in the 13 to 17 age group, Willoughby noted that they have a Girls Talk programme that was normally conducted on the International Day for Women with the goal of uplifting young women to be the best that they could be.
“We cannot let the calypsonians or dub artistes set the tone for our children, we as parents have to set the tone and demeanour for them… Too many children are misusing Facebook, their Smartphones and what not, and we as parents need to monitor them,” she advised.
The theme for this year’s competition was Reducing Crime in our School and Communities.