Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley yesterday called on parents and adults, generally, to play a greater role in steering young people away from a life of crime.
Speaking to reporters at a children’s Christmas party at the South Diego Martin Recreation Ground, Rowley referred to the death of 15-year-old Isaac Simmons, who was killed in a shootout with police in Marabella on Thursday.
He noted the teenager’s grandmother had tried in vain to help him turn his life around. “Clearly, she didn’t reach him and, at age 15, he got killed,” Rowley said.
“Now, the whole idea of a 15-year-old wanting to engage the police tells me that something was not right with him.
“He saw himself as a child and why would a 15-year-old want to think that he could engage the police?”
Rowley said the issue was much more than simply “locking them up when the commit the crime or killing them when they engage you.
“There is something else that is missing and it has to be what goes into these children at the very beginning and how they are brought up.
“It is about how they see others, how they see life, who they respect, what is authority and then what do they want of themselves in life.”
Saying the country had made significant strides in the fight against crime, Rowley added the safety and security of citizens was at the top of his Christmas wish list.
He said the country’s information-gathering mechanisms were improving “and this allows the police to respond more effectively.
“We are getting more co-operation between the various agencies. So, I anticipate that in 2018, the security services will be more successful in managing.”
However, Rowley envisaged a grander role for parents in the new year.
“We really would like parents to help us more because there is nobody who could talk to a person more than a family member and if a lot of parents and uncles and aunts and neighbours could get into the act of talking to people who choose crime as a way of life, that would help along the way.
“I am really distressed to see in our country that the security services are engaging with firearms with a 15-year-old who is prepared to engage them. I think we need to call the parents and the community towards some role in this,” he added.