Government Senator David Durant has made an impassioned appeal to the young people of Barbados to put away the guns and stop abusing illicit drugs.
Durant, Senior Pastor at the Restoration Ministries in Bonnetts Avenue, Gunsite Road, Brittons Hill, St Michael, suggested that too many young people were dying from drug-related gun violence.
During his contribution to the debate on the Magistrate’s Court (Amendment) Bill 2016 in the Senate, Durant contended that the anti-social behaviour arising from gun related crime and abuse of illicit drugs by today’s youth contributed to the high number of criminal cases reaching the court system.
“I want to make a very passionate plea to our young people today to put down the guns and the drugs because they are not helping you. I can speak this way because I go among some of them on the blocks and if they are hearing my voice now they know that what I am saying is true. I talk with them; I stand in the midst of them; I am not ashamed of that because I love them and I want to see them change. The guns and the drugs are not helping you and then I do not know who I will hear about tomorrow being carried away in a casket to the cemetery,” he said.
Durant spoke of cases where young men are given guns, photographs of a victim and between $1, 000 and $1, 500 by leaders on the block, and sent to murder competitors in the drug trade.
And he expressed concern that too many of those who managed to escape death ended up at Her Majesty’s Prisons Dodds in handcuffs and shackles.
“Those two are connected. The first of course is the ultimate death – being carried away in a casket – or they end up in prison. They are then on remand for years with their cases not being tried. Sometimes the particular crimes they may be charged with, they are on remand longer than the particular sentence that they should be serving. It is a quagmire.”
At the same time, the Government senator advised the youth to engage in deep introspection and to take another look at the institution of the family, while he called on the senior members of households to pass on good values to the younger generation.
“We want the level of crime reduced; we want the young people to put down the guns; we want them to get away from the drugs instead of getting up in the morning from breakfast to dinner smoking a spliff with eyes red and running water and feeling blown out and in another world. That is not life. That is a miserable situation,” Durant said.
The pastor added that too many young people were “hurting and angry and bitter” because the families, many without father figures, were dysfunctional and in shambles.