Two Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) political representatives believe the current economic circumstances are partly to blame for the worrying upsurge in deviant behaviour and are calling for more help to be given to Barbadian youth.
St James North representative Edmund Hinkson and St Peter candidate Colin Jordan made their opinions known while jointly hosting a family fun day at the Warleigh/All Saints playing field yesterday.
While acknowledging that not all young people were getting involved in deviant behaviour, Jordan said, “we can’t close our eyes to it. But as political leaders we have a responsibility when we see deviance and we recognize it is out of a breakdown in the family structure and community system, we have a responsibility not to beat up on young people [but] to provide environments where young people can find meaningful engagements in terms of activity.”
Hinkson said, “if there is an economic downturn, naturally – and we’re not condoning it – we are going to see an increase in criminal activity”.
“If there is a situation where young people feel they don’t have opportunities to advance in terms of education, employment they are going to find deviant ways to express their human self . . . . We in the Barbados Labour Party certainly feel that we have to give families, communities, young people an opportunity”.
The Opposition’s shadow minister for education zeroed in on the inability of some poor parents to afford to send their children to university which he blamed on the 2014 decision by the Freundel Stuart administration to stop meeting the full costs of tertiary education for Barbadian students studying there.
“In our constituencies a lot of young people were not able to go to university because of the imposition of fees, or dropped out of university, or might have been at Barbados Community College, graduated and didn’t go on to the University of the West Indies because of fees.”
Contending that Government was yet to provide realistic alternatives, he repeated a commitment made by BLP leader Mia Mottley to reverse the DLP’s decision if elected in the next election, due by June next year.
“We will be removing the tuition fees that were imposed extremely erroneously and unfairly, for the last three years on Barbadian students at the University of the West Indies,” Hinkson stressed.
Contending that grants and bursaries “which were voted on in Parliament have largely been a failure” he said, “we believe that young people provide the future. We have to make an investment in them”.