OFFICIAL WEBSITE OF THE UNITED NATIONAL CONGRESS, The Official Opposition In The Republic Of Trinidad And Tobago.

Govts must give youths a better future than gangs, says Chastanet

GANGS are offering young people a better future than governments and action must be taken to change this, says St Lucia Opposition Leader Allan Chastanet.

Speaking at Opposition Leader Kamla Persad- Bissessar’s anticrime talks at SWAHA Hindu College, Sangre Grande, on Monday night, Chastanet said leaders must accept blame for the problem that exists today.

‘The gangs are offering our young people a better future than we in our own country are offering. That is a truth!’ he said.

He said young men told him they do not want to live like their fathers and grandfathers; they would rather die young and enjoy their life than to die old and be miserable.

‘We must accept that the young people today want more and they want it now,’ he said.

Chastanet, the former St Lucian prime minister, said the reality is that countries are not keeping young people engaged, and they must be provided with opportunities in areas such as the creative arts and sport.

He questioned if the Government is providing opportunities in the creative sectors as he reiterated that a lead must be taken to provide the avenues and infrastructure for youth.

Work centres, he said, should be built in rural areas where people can live in their community and have an international job remotely.

Households depend on collective income and families are destroyed when they do not have job opportunities, he said.

Feeling the pain

Chastanet also said a global competitive salary must be offered to the youth.

‘We must demand because our voices of silence have produced the problem that we have; we are losing our young people.’

He said young women drop out of school and have several children before they are 18 years of age.

These children grow up in a household where there is sometimes deprivation, and many are forced to drop out of school, he added.

He noted that when a youth is killed, the mother cries and says her child was a ‘good boy’ and society is guilty of making that person a criminal.

‘We say to ourselves where there is smoke, there is fire. Is that the Christian thing to do? How are we ever going to get change when every murder and every person who is being lost doesn’t affect our heart?’ he said.

‘Do we calculate what those persons could have contributed to society and the loss of that genius? We don’t know who the next great person is going to be, but if we lose our young people, we are depriving ourselves of their own genius.’

He lamented how people have become desensitised when they hear news of murders.

‘We have to admit, we become numb to the number, we no longer put a face to who is being killed,’ he said.

People, he said, are no longer speaking out and raising their voices. He pleaded with people to change this and feel the pain of others.

Government, he said, has to take up the responsibility of taking care of those children.

Chastanet said teachers and principals are no longer tasked with educating children but have the added burden of disciplining children.

He also advised that youths who come from deprived families and who are jailed should not be made ‘career crimi nals’ when they are imprisoned with career criminals whom they befriend.

Chastanet said there must be integrity in the police force, with polygraph testing, a functioning judicial system and technology in the fight against crime.

He said as bad as the statistics are, there is still hope.

He noted that places such as New York, Washington DC, Miami, London and Paris at some point had been named the most dangerous and that changed.

Scroll to Top