Families Commission to Fight Youth Violence

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By Prior Beharry

PRIME Minister Dr Keith Rowley revealed plans for a Families Commission aimed at addressing youth violence and fostering positive interactions with the most vulnerable members of society—children.

The initiative involves utilising school buildings after regular hours to engage with youths and counteract the influence of violent ideologies present in some art forms, particularly within homes and schools.

He was speaking at a press conference at Piarco International Airport on Wednesday.


Dr Rowley expressed concern about the indoctrination of violence through certain art forms, stating that there was a need to take action both inside and outside school premises.

He said there were discussions at the recent 46th Regular Meeting of the Conference of CARICOM Heads of Government in Guyana where the impact of such indoctrination on young minds was a focal point.

The proposed after-school sessions would bring together volunteers and professionals to positively interact with young people on school compounds. Dr Rowley said there was the potential of involving teachers, parent/teachers, communities, and various volunteers, supported by the government, to facilitate dialogue, engagement, and contact hours with both young and older individuals.


“We have a number of schools across this country, which after three o’clock, the door is locked until the next school morning. The society can begin to make use of these premises, involving the teachers, the parent/teachers, the communities and volunteers, of one kind or the other, with significant Government support, to bring about the kind of dialogue, the kind of engagement, the kind of contact hours with young people and with older people, with professionals and non-professionals, to create a society where the concern against crime is not just a handful of politicians trying to make politics out of it but a society that is trying to save itself,” stated Prime Minister Rowley.

He said the establishment of a commission would address family involvement and provide assistance to families, acknowledging the changing landscape of parenting. The commission aims to offer support for families to play a more effective role in raising children, he said.


“In an earlier time, the parenting of children by parents and grandparents and society and the villages and the towns… was sufficient. That can no longer be assumed to be there, and therefore, a wider and larger effort is required because the proper bringing up of our children is a requirement if we are to overcome this period of violence and violent crime that so traumatizes us on a daily basis,” Dr Rowley said.

Addressing a separate inquiry about the proposed $100 million allocation for the military to enter hotspot communities, Dr Rowley said, “We are still considering how that money should be spent and who and what it should be spent on.”


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