Wed | Oct 17, 2018

Change ‘informer fi dead culture’, Green tells youth

Published:Thursday | September 20, 2018 | 12:00 AMSyranno Baines/Gleaner Writer

Minister of state in charge of youth Floyd Green has used the first staging of Anti-Gang Week to impress upon the nation's youth the importance of their role in changing the country's deeply entrenched anti-informer culture.

In his keynote address to 60 at-risk students during a one-day retreat dubbed 'Camp Triple C Day Camp' yesterday, Green asserted that information sharing was key to community safety and charged the youngsters to go against the grain of popular culture, which dictates that "you must bun out informers".

"I'm saying all of you need to become ambassadors to say that we are changing that about society. I am thinking straight and narrow, so man can talk what I am doing. I'm fine. But I am going to talk what you're doing to ensure, in essence, that I'm protecting our society. So if is the one thing I want you all to change, and I know it's not easy, I know it's going to take time, but I want you to commit with me that we going to work on it because it has not served our purpose," said Green.

Camp Triple C (change, choice, and chance) was designed for at-risk students that have been placed on probation by the court of law.

Its general area of focus is on life skills development, presentations promoting anti-gang and motivational messages, and also anti-gang messages through edutainment.

Green reasoned with the youth, "If nobody is sharing information, what you think is going to happen? How you think we are going to end up if we have a society where nobody is looking out for anybody, nobody is talking what they know when wrong happens?"

The state minister told them: "It is a culture that was developed. It is not how we used to be. We used to be in a society, and I still have it: in parts of where I'm from in St Elizabeth, where if they see you doing something wrong, they are going to tell the police, and that is why we're safe. That is why the gang thing has not taken root as yet."

Funded by the United States Agency for International Development, the Anti-Gang Week of activities is a synergy between the police Counter-Terrorism and Organised Crime Branch and the Safety and Security Unit of the Ministry of Education aimed at encouraging positive behaviour change and deterring children and youth from engaging in illicit activities, especially gang involvement.

The initiatives will target vulnerable and at-risk individuals, including young offenders and unattached youth, in order to build their resilience and better enable communities to respond to violence.

syranno.baines@gleanerjm.com