Barbadian youth advocate Corey Lane wants to see the island’s judicial system set an example for the youth of Barbados.
Lane was speaking to Barbados TODAY as the island recorded its 13th reported shooting and eighth death for the year. The youth advocate argued that the legislative system needed to “make an example of those who were perpetuating crime and fear in society”.
Lane said that society needed to be alarmed when disillusioned youth in society saw a life of crime as an easy solution because felons received bail after committing heinous offences.
“The young persons we need to be concerned about are the ones who are looking on and noticing that there are persons out there shooting [and] going before the law courts and in two blinks and the shake of a tail they are in front of you again.
“It sends [the message] that you can participate in this type of activity with impunity when really and truly it really speaks to our judicial system – innocent until proven guilty and it takes a while to prove someone guilty,” Lane pointed out.
Lane explained that the criminal subculture was becoming mainstream and the lack of justice and slow pace to trial was not helping to change people’s opinion. He stressed that Government and law enforcement especially needed to crack down on the importation of illegal firearms.
“We need to look at how we can intercept a lot of these guns coming in whether it is the ports or the ports outside of the main ports. Not talk about it, not look at it, just deal with it.
“Shut it off, have serious investigations, have sting operations and get rid of the persons in the system who maybe circumventing the system,” Lane contended.
“We have talked a lot about night court but how much night court have we had going? There are lights in these buildings, turn on the lights and have night court!” he added.
The founder and director of the National Fun Ranch also suggested that parental guidance programmes should be offered to parents from infancy to secondary level education and support programmes be offered to at-risk youth.
Lane indicated that at-risk youth were often pushed into the society “ripe for the drug lords and the block leaders” and this needed to be stopped. He argued that the spike in gun violence could be “the single most destabilizing phenomenon for this country” and urged Government and civil society to unite and tackle the problem head-on.
“Primary school teachers can tell you they can identify the children who will cause problems in this society. We need to pull them out and we need to put support behind programmes that will work with them, hold their hands and coach them along the way,” Lane recommended.
“Put some money behind civil society, identify these children from early at primary school and secondary school and get them alongside positive mentors. We have talked about it, we have dreamed about it [and] we have romanticized about it – it is time to do something about it.”