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We must urgently find ways to productively engage youth

Published:Sunday | September 16, 2012 | 12:00 AM


As is customary, when the boy became a man, he was taken from his babymother to a job interview. Therein he was plunged into a world of violence and baptised in the fire of combat with the culture of the elite.

Like all the men, he was inspected. If he'd been small, or puny, or pierced, or bow-legged, he would have been discarded. Taught never to retreat, never to surrender, or have (visible) tattoos. This was his initiation, his time in the wild, for he would return to his constituency - employed.

Manufactured by 300 years of slave society to create the finest prison guards, the world has ever known. This is JAMAICA!

I couldn't help but liken the recent recruitment process for 350 correctional officers to the movie 300 because it was certainly an epic on our nightly news. Ear piercings, 'bandy legs', tattoos and other physical imperfections were used as criteria to preclude persons from joining the professional body that is the correctional service.


What this episode underscores is that there is no shortage of persons, especially young men, who are desperate for opportunities to earn an honest living. However, the perennial issue remains that while persons are willing and eager to work, they often don't meet the necessary standards.

Should we then be more lax with the criteria so as to get our people productive?

Turning away 3,500 desperate and dejected persons is not a pretty sight to behold; and as the saying goes, "a hungry man is a 'hangry' man". We must urgently find ways of productively engaging the minds of our young people and of creating opportunities for them to realise their potential or we will not have a future worth waiting for.