Sun | Aug 20, 2017

Don’t ignore the at-risk youth – guidance counsellor

Published:Monday | January 16, 2017 | 1:00 AMCecelia Campbell-Livingston
Christine Russell-Lewin, guidance counsellor, Effortville Primary School.
Jermaine Barnaby/Freelance Photographer Tyrone Lecky, Central High School dean of discipline
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For real results in making things right in Clarendon, the guidance counsellor for Effortville Primary School, Christine Russell-Lewin, is steering attention to the unmonitored, unattached youth.

"I think no research or follow-up has been done when the students drop out of school, are expelled or get suspended. What happen to those young people afterwards?" she wondered at a special Gleaner Editors' Forum on Thursday at the Versalles Hotel in the parish.

Adding that these youth are the same ones who end up being part of gangs, as they were not properly engaged, she said: "They are no longer in school, they are unattached, they don't have anything, so they see crime as a way out. I think more persons need to speak out."

But for the dean of discipline at Central High, Tyrone Lecky, solving the parish's crime problem is all about showing genuine love for 'Brand Clarendon'.

"There is no attachment, no love. We need people to love their parish. People want to have their parish thriving and want to invest in their parish, so we need to have a Brand Clarendon," are the impassioned words coming from Lecky.

He said many have lost interest in the parish; he is pushing for the love to return through investment and working together.

POLICE INFORMER GANG

In the meantime, Mayor Winston Maragh thinks turning the tables on the criminal elements through a 'police informer gang' is just what the parish needs.

"Because the way I look at it, if you have a handful of guys in a community trying to hold it at ransom, why not get a group of good guys rise up and say, 'Well, we are not going to allow you to take over our place and mash up our place'," he reasoned.

The mayor said he is also in discussion with Custos William 'Billy' Shagoury about moving the Crime Prevention Committee to the parish council to include the counsellors.

"If all the counsellors become members, then they will take it from there to their communities," he said.