The young cry for peace - Frequent violence in inner cities forces youth to speak up

Published: Wednesday | December 18, 2013 Comments 0

 Karrie Williams, Gleaner Writer

WESTERN BUREAU:

DISTURBED BY the persistent violence plaguing their inner-city communities, some of the children in these affected communities are calling for measures to be instituted to steer their peers away from the cycle of brutality, which is seemingly becoming a way of life for them.

Twenty-year-old Collin Bernard, who resides in Cornwall Courts, Montego Bay, believes that more emphasis needs to be placed on the development of sporting initiatives because of the potential sports has in fostering positive communication and relationship building.

"As youngsters, we crave bonding and bringing sporting activities inside communities to foster positive relationships," said Bernard.

"Looking at football, for example, it is a game where you have to pass the ball among team members, so even if there was a rift before a game begins, by the end of that game, the rift would be mended and people would be less prone to anger and violence."

Mark Thomas, a teenager living in the volatile Norwood community, where two persons were killed last week, blames persistent poverty and the proliferation of the lottery scam for much of the violence plaguing the community. He believes the scammers should be called upon to help in finding solutions for the constant problem.

"I have friends who are scammers, and basically they do it to get food on the table," said Thomas. "Although I myself do not condone scamming, I totally understand why my friends do so. There are no viable alternatives provided for inner-city youths, there is talk, lots of it, but no action.

SOLVING THE PROBLEM

"The way I see it, why don't the authorities recruit some of these same scammer youths to help fight the problem? Surely, if a solution must be worked out, it should involve those who are committing the act," he argued.

At the same time, adults asked to give their perspective on the situation think special emphasis should be placed on strengthening parental supervision.

"The parents have the primary responsibility," said Eileen Stephens, a retired St James-based probation officer. "They respond to the influences and, in turn, pass this on to their children."

Stephenson noted that if parents should begin to inculcate the right values in their children, they will in turn grow up to appreciate these values and use them as a moral compass for their everyday lives.

Parents who need additional skills to properly instruct their children can get the required help from the D.R.B. Grant Basic School, which is located in Catherine Hall Montego Bay.

The school, which has been in operation since 1988, operates a free parenting resource centre, Monday to Friday.

karrie.williams@gleanerjm.com

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