The Soufriere Youth and Sports Council (SYSC) has called for an end to gun violence in the community following a shooting death Thursday of a resident.
Dead is 34-year-old Serniah Amedee of L’esperance, Fond St Jacques.
The Council believes much work needs to be done in order to reduce the current uptick in gun violence in the area and the country by extension.
“Crime is a multi-faceted issue with multiple fronts to address, and that addressing the issue of community violence requires a communal and collaborative effort. The SYSC would be elated to collaborate with organizations and stakeholders within the community, working together towards one mission – to reduce and prevent gun and other forms of violence,” SYSC President Bernell St Rose told The VOICE recently.
According to St Rose, this collaboration is critical to the council “as we believe that it has the potential to assist in the unification of clubs/organizations as well as community members.”
The Council is looking to prioritise several areas with an emphasis on:
–Intervening and preventing youth gun violence and retaliatory gun violence.
–Relevant Youth at Risk initiatives.
–Law enforcement interventions that tackle illegal firearms, the illegal drug trade and gangs.
–Research into crime and its related factors and causes such as the drug trade, impact of increased marijuana use, impact of music and video games, a lacking education system, the impact of the pandemic, etc.
–Services for conflict resolution, depression, grief, bullying, substance abuse, and other counselling services for youth.
–Aiding in the provision of life coaching and employment opportunities for youth.
–Directing parents to the necessary resources for direct support.
St Rose said the Council has a contribution to make to be part of the solution. This involves:
– Community sporting tournaments
– Capacity building workshops
– Advocacy campaigns
– Identifying and activating positive youth champions
– Supporting Youth at Risk initiatives
“As the past several days have demonstrated, it just takes a split second for our youth to make a life-changing decision. The challenge for us, and by extension the community, is how long will it take us to put in place preventative and proactive measures to guarantee that our youth, families, and communities have the resources they need to deal with this emerging epidemic,” St Rose said.
According to her, this situation is appalling as not only does it destroy families, but also the community.
“Many persons have been growing in fear as to whether the community is safe anymore. Individuals are now afraid to speak out on what they have witnessed fearing for their lives. Youth must have the courage and determination to speak out and engage in positive actions that will change the violent culture permeating Soufriere and Saint Lucia,” St Rose stated.