THE EDITOR, Sir:
THE DISCLOSURE, in her presentation to the Sectoral Debate, by Lisa Hanna that 70 per cent of at-risk young people participating in focus groups held islandwide were either suicidal or wished to kill someone, is stunning; so much so that I would urge the minister, as a matter of urgency, to have a summary of the survey's findings published in the press to give them much greater national prominence.
Concurrently, information should be provided on the survey's design so that the significance of these results can be better understood.
Pain, defeat, desperation
Nevertheless, the fact that the minister has so spoken suggests such an enormity of pain, defeat and desperation in the minds of a significant subset of our young people that this can only be regarded as a national catastrophe.
This disclosure cannot simply be left to swell the annals of Hansard. It must be used to force our leadership into an urgent and much more critical articulation of how they propose to 'balance lives' rather than just figures, particularly in engaging the International Monetary Fund shortly.
I could neither discern this clearly nor find much comfort in the minister's proposals for addressing the reality she has so passionately described. The Sectoral Debate may well be a lost opportunity for doing so.
If economic prescriptions are not forced to seriously accommodate our social conditions going forward, our youth will experience no real hope and the 'catastrophe' will cycle into yet another generation.
Somehow, as a nation, and from some deep reservoir of anger anguish and resolve, we are going to have to think quickly and clearly and, probably, very much outside of the box on this one.
GEORGE A. CAMPBELL