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‘Nip the Bud’ on Crime from Youth Level – says Education Minister Shawn Edward

Minister for Education Shawn Edward
Minister for Education Shawn Edward

Cognizant of the devastating effects that the escalating wave of crime is having on the citizenry, government is bent on utilizing a holistic approach to address this issue.

Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Education Shawn Edward, reiterated that everyone should join in the ‘fight against crime’, which at this juncture needs to be implemented from the school level.

He said from a security stand-point, the administration is “deeply concerned” about this worrisome matter that currently confronts the country.

“Every life that is lost is one too many and the government will spare no effort to ensure that we deploy all the resources at our disposal to fighting crime and criminality in this country,” Edward told reporters at a media briefing, Monday.

At this crucial juncture in the socio-economic development of the country, the minister contended that “crime is not an issue to be politicized” because it is an issue that affects everyone in society.

“In order for us to get to the bottom of the situation …we need all hands on deck and it is not just the Government of Saint Lucia that must come forward and put forward all the solutions to the current situation as it relates to criminality in this country,” he added.

The minister noted that concerned groups, including the opposition parties, civil society, organizations, parents and family must all play a role. Most importantly too, he said, “parents have a role in terms of how they orient their children, and that’s the only way we will have long-term and durable solutions to fighting crime.”

Added Edward: “Crime is a social construct, and for us as a government we’ve appreciated and understood that in the fight against crime it takes a lot more than the deployment of law enforcement personnel. And that is why …we have attempted to roll out social programmes that will help the situation as it obtains in communities, particularly, those communities where there tend to be a prevalence of criminal activity.”

While citing the deployment of joint forces in the fight, he said, “It has to be a multi-pronged approach from here”, with involvement from religious denominations, schools and the family.

“And that is why, we are currently in the budget ensuring that the amount we had allocated for social programs in the past have been increased,” said Edward.

Alluding to the civic duties of persons within the society, the minister underlined the importance of “social interventions” and the impact that it can have on the youth. “It is important that those interventions are made early in the lives of the children so that they can begin to denounce wrong at a very early age,” he noted. “As simple a concept as it is, children have to be able to discern right from wrong. And if, as adults we do not admonish children for the wrong that they do, they feel conformable violating the guidelines that would be put in place for them in the home and even at school.”

Citing the role of the education department as a conduit in the overall ‘scheme of things’, Edward said, in addressing students at school, he regularly cautions them that if “you break the school rule today and you have to suffer the consequences based on what form of punishment that the principal or the dean of discipline (may) deem  necessary. When you  graduate from Form V and you are in society and you break the rules of society, it will no longer be the principal, but it will be the magistrate and the judge, and the police officers that you have to face”.

Edward asserted: “So, if at a very early age, at the level of the pre-school, the infant and primary schools we are able to teach them right from wrong and get them to understand that there is merit in conformity, especially in a social setting, we would be doing a lot for our country in terms of creating a mindset that would cause these children to grow up and be responsible citizens.”


    In my last letter to my native home Saint Lucia, I address the importance of a well-structured home discipline, I recall growing up with my grandma, after her loving spouse pass away, leaving her to raise eleven children of different ages, it is a hard job an impossible feat for the faint of heart, but not my grandma, yes she did and boy what a job, they are now grown-ups and respectable pillar of the community, that takes me back to making my point, even at the old age of twenty my grandma would use the rod of correction to discipline and to command self-respect.
    If you should ask me what has that to do with anything, well you just have not gotten the reasoning behind my madness, that is to say, if you spear the road, you may spoil the child, the youth of today are being spoiled with lack of discipline, some parents do not raise the children, at an early age children raise the parents because they allow it to be so, some strive to work like a mule just to give them the luxury of everything, showing off their wealth through their offsprings, while others uphold the malice and wickedness practice at an early age.
    Our salvation is in our children, they are tomorrow’s generation, who eventually will have to govern our little Island, how can we not prepare them with morality and self-awareness to a perfect standard? I do not see things at the political level, nor do I want to see, I do not brown-nose anyone, not ever! Am just me, but I am not on trial here and therefore will say out loud, what others are only thinking, youths of Saint Lucia I ask you to get with the program, in my days of growing up, if you ask me what would I like to be after graduation, I would reply a policeman of course, the reasoning is because of the discipline my grandma install in me, so here is to all grandma’s, to all mother’s and father’s raise your children according to the words of the Lord, Almighty God has left you a blueprint to follow.
    If you raise them right they may wander but certainly return to the fold, youths we need you to stand predominately for justice, in the land of sunshine, your Saint Lucia, for the country, and yourself with inherited pride.

  2. Dark Shadows, you are so right. However, one may ask, how bent is the tree? Is it too late to straighten it?

    And if there is any slither of redemption, at what point do we take the tiger by the tail, spin it around and tame the savagery out of the beast?

    At this point, it is only the censures of GOD that seem plausible in solving the crime and violence that have befallen a rebellious generation

    ”… your wickedness will correct
    you …”

    The old people used to tell us, “ If you cannot hear, you will feel,”

    Today rivers of grief water gush down the eyes of the entire St. Lucian society. Mothers are ozabwa with murderers.

    Neighbors are trembling ibehind closed doors; they don’t know whom to trust. Acholma , yo con poule, avan sisere yo en caloge.

    Yes , undoubtedly , our sins have procured us these things. And when, like Nebuchadrezzer we are brought to the point where we realize that

    Justice, Judgement, Truth and Equity;
    When we come to understand that Knowledge, Wisdom and Understanding;

    that Compassion and Kindness are the virtues that must be practiced and maintained by all; ( man, woman and child)

    Then will the whip of self correction lead us to see that GOD is not a joke. Then will we return, ask for the right way; seek for the good path and follow it..

    Mr. Edward, as an astute educator, you have rightly identified the problems that plague the psychological soul of our students. Now, the most significant task is to devise strategies to guide the student out of this maze of entangled webs that modern society has cast upon them.

    Search for the points at which we strayed away from sound , ethics in instruction;

    Discard the mass of erroneous education philosophies we bought from nations which themselves are failing;

    You, sir, are well equipped for such a time as this.


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