Youth advocate Peter Skeete is encouraging parents to instill their children the importance of community-based organizations and activities.
Skeete was one of the featured speakers at the Eden Lodge Charitable Trust Christmas party for more than 100 recipients held at the Derick Smith Secondary and Vocational School Saturday afternoon.
The panel of featured speakers included Minister of Creative Economy, Culture and Sports, John King; Minister of Elder Affairs and People Empowerment Cynthia Forde; Minister of Environment and National Beautification Trevor Prescod; as well as key stakeholders from charities across the island such as the Amarone Charitable Trust.
The youth commissioner of St James South was alarmed at the rising number of Barbadian youths involved in deviant and criminal behaviors. He suggested that community-based organizations help in keeping young people in at risk communities out of trouble.
“While we continue to share in the Christmas joy we must remember that it is the community’s young that we should be mindful of. You as parents have a valuable responsibility to play in the same way that we are trying to capture the imagination of our young people by engaging them in wholesome activity by providing them with gifts, skills training programmes, providing them with job opportunities; we too must be mindful that within the communities in which we live there are persons who are capturing their attention in a negative way,” Skeete cautioned.
“We want to encourage you as parents to be mindful of the challenges that our young people face, we want you to engage them, we want you to continue to let them be part of community-based organisations,” he added.
Skeete mentioned that within the past year, more than 800 young persons were involved or charged in the judicial system. He warned parents that deviant behaviours were not sudden but manifested over a period of time and urged them to be take control of their children’s futures and put them on the right path.
“We must be able to provide for our young people, we must be able to monitor their behavior and continue to steer them away from deviant and antisocial behavior because at the end of the day a life of criminal activity ends up one place and we are concerned that so many young people are incarcerated,” Skeete said.