Laventille West MP Fitzgerald Hinds this morning encouraged youths to hold themselves in high regard and respect and urged them to avoid being given nicknames like "zesser."
Hinds made the remarks during his feature address at the graduation of 12 students of the Success Central Community Skills Training Programme, co-ordinated by the MIC Institute of Technology at the Laventille Technology Centre.
Referring to the story of diver Christopher Burgos who survived being swept out to sea along the North Coast while fishing, Hinds said names had meaning and urged youths present to be wary of the nicknames given to them by their peers.
"When someone starts calling you 'Satan' and you accept that as rank, you must be very careful and reject it. (Reject) When they call you 'killer' or 'zesser' and all kinds of dirty names, which the almighty God who created you would frown upon.
"When you see some of our children making papers charged for murder or robbery, that is a painful experience for any parent."
Hinds also commended the twelve graduants of the programme to use their skills to help contribute to their communities and avoid being distracted by negative influences.
He lamented while illegal businesses flourished in the inner city, there was a shortage of skilled technicians and tradesmen despite there being a relatively high demand for such professions.
"We are distracted by all manners of things going on. I know if I show up at any block in this country with a good high grade weed they will come from near and far to get to get a taste. I know that if I come with a truck load of 'Venes' they will come from near and far.
"But sometimes even for that which is good, to get them to go to a class, it is very difficult. All the forces of the world pulls them away from us."
He commended president of the Success Central Community Council Terry Young for assisting in organising and co-ordinating the event and said the experience was aimed at giving youths the skills necessary to start their own businesses outside of traditional employment.
For his part, Young congratulated the youths for their participation and urged them to make the best of their new skills and use the relationships formed during the nine-month training period to form lifelong partnerships.