New Minister of Home Affairs Wilfred Abrahams wants Barbadians to adopt a zero tolerance towards violence and bullying.
“The violence in Barbados has to stop. I am using this platform to launch my campaign for zero tolerance to violence, zero tolerance to bullying.
It is not ok to pick on somebody smaller than you. It is not ok to pick on that little kid that does not fit in. It is not ok for two or three or four or five of you to feel that you need to beat someone else into submission,” Abrahams said while speaking at the Barbados Labour Party’s Christ Church East annual general meeting on Sunday.
His comments have come in the wake of two incidences of bullying, one of which has resulted in a 10-year-old boy being hospitalized in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit.
Back on July 15, 11-year-old Keishawn Thomas was the center of a cyber bullying video after he made a mistake – which he subsequently corrected – while speaking to the media moments after setting the Common Entrance Examination. And on June 14, Demarco Gibbs was hospitalised after being beaten about his head with pieces of wood by four boys. He remains hospitalised up to this day.
Abrahams condemned the actions of the culprits and called for parents and adults to be more responsible.
He said adults needed to set better examples for children if they wanted to see a change in their behaviour.
“I don’t want to speak to the facts because eventually the facts are going to come out, but it cannot be ok for four people to beat one person. That is a mismatch.
“Our young people need to understand . . . unless your life is in danger it cannot be ok to lash somebody with a piece of board. The only way was if that person was putting your life in danger,” the minister stated.
“We need to change the narrative, we need to change the way how young people think, we need to change how they approach problems, we need to become more tolerant and engage them because in many respects a lot of us have failed them. For every angry young person out there, there is probably somebody who did not listen to them at a point when they needed them to. Don’t get me wrong, I am not condoning a young person’s resort to violence, what I am saying is that as adults we also need to be careful of the message that we send to young people. When our first response is to resort to anger then the children around us are going to pick that up and go with it. If our resort is to curse people as they look at you funny then the children will curse people too.” (RB)