Rawle Anderson, President of the Betsy’s Hope Village Council and a teacher of 36 years, says the education system in Tobago must be revamped to ensure that young people do not turn to a life of crime.
Anderson, who pledged the village council’s support for the National Crime Prevention Programme at the Tobago East outreach in Betsy’s Hope on Tuesday, said in an earlier contribution during the open discussion that unless changes were made to the education system to deal with “rights and wrongs and good and bad, we are getting very little.”
“Why do we have an education system that focuses so much on competition… it is you against me. Why do we have a system that caters for the two per cent population at the expense of the 98 per cent?” he asked.
“When we are looking for the children who could only make the 100 per cent, it is the two per cent that we are looking at and we are leaving the 98 per cent to struggle for existence. So, then the easiest way out to get our existence going, we select crime. … we push drugs, we rob, we cheat, we do all sorts of things and this is why I am saying we need to take the initiative to address our education system. They need to start the crime prevention from the schools,” Anderson said.
Responding to Anderson, Ayanna Webster-Roy, Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister and Member of Parliament for Tobago East, agreed that there were flaws in the education system but also called for individual responsibility for acts of crime in communities.
“I agree that we have flaws within the education system, but, I want to take it further and into the individual level… the only way we can address this situation of crime is if we, as the people of Tobago East, the individuals start taking personal responsibility for actions within our community,” Webdter-Roy said.
She pointed to problems in the home.
“The problems starts within the home and sometimes some families just generally cannot help the situation and there are other families who may be able to help, able to contribute, able to provide mentorship. What is the discussion in Tobago East with regards foster caring, there is a dire need for foster carers. Sometimes children generally cannot stay in their biological homes, but they need the love, care and protection of another family.
“Are we in Tobago East considering foster caring and opening up our homes and our hearts to people and children in need?” she asked.
Roxborough resident, Olga Caruth, in her contribution, pointed to several problems in her community.
“There are too many idlers on the streets. The other thing is the half an hour work that you all give them for a whole day pay, that should stop. Give them more work, there is enough work to last them for at least six hours.
“The next thing is drugs, and the policemen know where all the drug dens are, but nothing is happening,” she said.
Caruth also noted a successful initiative.
“In my street, when I look around, I see some little children running around on a Sunday evening with nothing to do. I thought to myself what to do with these children, so I came up with the idea; the Boys Brigade, which teaches them to be Christlike, to be respectable citizens. That is what I am doing right now. The system has to change… too many idlers,” Caruth said.
President of the Charlotteville Village Council, Dexter Hackett called for some intervention to have facilities fixed- the lights at the community grounds and the centre.
“We have a situation with the field in Charlotteville… for the longest while we cannot use it to develop the youths. If we could get the field up and running that would be good, we have no centre really… its leaking and for health reasons sake, we are not supposed to be inside there for more than an hour.
“We have been asking for the THA to meet with us at Charlotteville to discuss a number of the issues that we are here to discuss, but nobody is coming,” Hackett said.