A portion of the audience at ‘Activate Talks’ held at UN House yesterday.

Issues of youth violence overstated

The problems of youth violence and violence in schools are being exaggerated.

That’s the view of Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Harcourt Husbands. He was speaking at “Activate Talks”, an event hosted by UNICEF under the theme “Connected Generation: Necessary Tool or Window to Violence”, held at UN House yesterday.

Husbands told those gathered, including students enrolled at the University of the West Indies, the Barbados Community College and several secondary schools, that while he personally believes the issues have been exaggerated, he was not for a moment suggesting that there is not a problem.

“With all young people everywhere – in Barbados, in Trinidad and Tobago and in Timbuktu – there is a challenge of deviancy and that is a reality of modern day life,” he said.

But, the Parliamentary Secretary hinted that the deviance being exhibited among the youth is not as widespread as it would appear, noting that there are many talented youth who are out there setting good examples for their peers.

The former educator bolstered the point as he referred to persons like international superstar Rihanna, opera singer Shantal Martin and cricketers Kraigg Brathwaite, Carlos Brathwaite and Roston Chase, who he noted have all done exceptionally well in their chosen fields. His comments came as he lamented that in spite of that, our society has been focused quite a bit on youth violence, and persons tend to overlook the successes among the youth and what is at the root of that success.

“…I have been preaching to Barbadian young people for some time, that you, despite all of the talk you might hear – about violence, about this, about that, about drugs – that you are part of the most successful Barbadian generation in this country. That is not to say that there are not challenges, there are not young people dealing with deviant behaviour and so on, it may even be slightly on the increase. [But] there is no more deviancy in Barbados than anywhere else; as a matter of fact, Barbadian young people might be more productive and more engaged than many other young people elsewhere,” he said.

Husbands made the point while telling the youth present that they have a responsibility to “step forward amidst all of the challenges” confronting them and identify clearly to the adults in this society, what is behind the success their generation has achieved.

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