Sat | Dec 16, 2017

Desperation driving youths to criminality

Published:Monday | August 3, 2015 | 12:00 AMChristopher Thomas

Lloyd B. Smith, the member of parliament (MP) for Central St James, is preparing to spearhead an intervention programme aimed at providing skills training to 100 at-risk youths in his constituency.

It is a part of a strategy to curtail crime in the parish.

"I am to identify 100 youngsters who are out there. They have no skills, and they are just ripe for lotto scamming and other criminal activities," Smith announced during Thursday's Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry stakeholders' meeting.

The meeting was called to address St James' rising crime rate.

"It is not easy when you have hundreds of young people who are unemployed ... . It is not easy when you go into a community and every other person says they are hungry or they do not know where their next meal is coming from, and so what you have is desperation, and desperation leads to crime," Smith said.

Smith said the young people are to be trained in hospitality and tourism, data processing, and construction. He argued, however, that training is not a panacea, as "if they cannot get a job after they have been trained, they are going to go right back into where they are coming from".

"We have these youngsters there, and all they need is the opportunity," said Smith. "It is not easy when you have hundreds of young people who are unemployed," the MP said.

"It is not easy when you go into a community and every other person says they are hungry or they do not know where their next meal is coming from, and so what you have is desperation, and desperation leads to crime."