Young people in Barbados are facing a crisis!
That is the view of Roger Husbands, chairman and Director of Drug Education and Counseling Services (DECS), who told a press conference today that youth unemployment, involvement in gang and crime-related activities, teenage pregnancies and male prostitution were wreaking havoc on society.
“The issue is that we do have problems with our young people and I think it is time we take a stand. I am hoping that the Minister of Youth, Family, Sports and Culture [Stephen Lashley] would take the opportunity to sit down with key stakeholders and try to come up with some plans.
“I am tired of seeing young people unemployed, I am tired of seeing the young girls out there pregnant and the fathers leaving them and they can’t support themselves, I am tired of seeing young people committing crimes and killing each other. A few years ago I predicted that this would happen. The reality is that we are seeing more violence than we have seen before and we ain’t see nothing yet,” voiced Husbands.
The outspoken youth activist, who was been criticised for his position on a number of issues, said recent shootings point to an upsurge in gang-related activities and he is urging lawmen to increase street patrols.
“Unless we deal with this problem of gangs in Barbados we are going to continue to have problems. The reality is that there are neighborhood wars, there are even wars at schools as well . . . . We have too much young people dying through violence that could be prevented if a couple things happen.
“There are known drug lords and gang leaders who need to be under observation so that we can eliminate some of these gang wars in communities. Unfortunately, innocent bystanders will get hurt in the midst and that is what is happening. We are saying to the police force to give the gang and gun unit a little bit more manpower and resources to go out there. We need to get rid of some of these blocks . . . get the young people a little bit more excited about the communities as opposed to sitting down pun a block talking a bunch of foolishness and smoking a bunch of weed.”
The chairman, who works with scores of young people annually through his counseling programme, also called on parents to pay closer attention to the type of activities their charges are involved in.