All is not lost for Barbadian youths who have been labelled as deviant, and as a matter of fact, many can be brought into the fold of productive members of society, says Prime Minister Mia Mottley. However, this could only be accomplished if all Barbadians recommit to the motto of taking a village to raise a child.
“Pulling back requires each of us in this country to go beyond our duty to country, to family, to self, to community, and to recognize that we all have a duty to be able to raise this village, to raise these children, to raise this family called Barbados,” said Mottley.
The Prime Minister, who was delivering the featured address for the 22nd annual conference of the Barbados Association of Office Professionals, held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre this morning, contended that the issues of deviance issues did not start overnight. Instead she placed much of the blame on the ten-year tenure of the previous administration.
“You can’t not provide opportunities for young people, to not train them for 10 years, no forms of training outside of what a parent might decide to do for that particular child, and expect that they know exactly where to go, what to do and how to feel,” lamented Mottley, who went on to detail how the youth was let down.
“We used to spend $5 million a year training people from St Philip to St Lucy, cultural and sports training to complement what they learnt in school. To teach them that they have to soar together and play together. To know that I can be older than you, but still you can beat me in a game and I still have to respect you, basic things in life that make us work better, allow us to soar together.
“Instead we did all kinds of things. We found jobs for the big people. We made sure contracts could come for the big people, and we forgot that the youngsters were there and needed our support and our guidance. We forgot that things left to their own devices often go astray,” she said.
The PM noted that quite often members of the extended family will need to step up and fill voids that are sometimes left by parents.
Mottley explained, “The group of persons who are badly in need of our guidance, our support, our love and our discipline are those between the ages of 15 and 21, many of whom look like strong, strapping adults, but who we know are full still of doubt and full still of wondering. They will not show it but are usually thankful for this support in whatever way it comes.”