WRONG_WOEID WRONG_WOEID

Youth At Risk- Adults To Blame

Youth At RiskWhat is happening to our beloved Antigua and Barbuda? Elie Wiesel puts it best when he penned these words: “I have learned that whenever a community is threatened, all are affected. Whenever a single human being is humiliated, the human image is cheapened.

Whenever a person suffers for whatever the reason and no one is there to offer a hand, a smile, a present, a gift, a memory, a smile again. What happens, something is wrong with society at large.”

Our nation has been experiencing a crime wave of unbridled proportion for some time now, with many of the crimes by-and-large committed by those foreign to our culture.  Culture, according to Myers (2002) is “the enduring behaviors, ideas, attitudes, and traditions shared by a large group of people and transmitted from one generation to the next.”

Some argue that the changes in our nation are due in large part to the newcomer - the television our children and youths are watching. For those of us who can afford cable and satellite TV, our children and youths have a wide choice of channels from the Middle East, Asia, North America and Latin America. And not to be outdone, as citizens, we have the choice of watching the nightly news in English or Spanish. Yet others have gone the distance to include on this list foreign music such as rap, hip hop, reggae and movies with their sexual content and the promotion of violence against women.

The problem of crime and punishment in Antigua and Barbuda is especially grave, since it involves a great number of children and youths. While many would support and promote the incarnation of all persons found to be in breach of the law, without mercy, giving a youth man or woman a second chance to reform his or her could result in a more productive member of our nation. The late Father of the Nation, Rt Hon Dr Sir Vere Cornwall Bird,always posited that “Antigua and Barbuda’s only natural resources are its people.”  Therefore, why would we as a nation miss the opportunity to mold our children and youths to become the guardians of our democracy and the preservers of our way of life?


The crime situation in Antigua and Barbuda cannot be abated if we continue to use only a law enforcement approach. No criminologist, sociologist, psychologist or behaviourist would even advise a nation that more jail time is the best approach to alleviating crime. If we are to be successful in bringing crime levels down in Antigua and Barbuda, then the powers that be and civic society must response to our nation’s children and youth from a law enforcement, educational, economic, and social transformation approach, or we will continue to score the kind of results we are now reaping.

When we do not support our children and youths as full members of our families and societies, they turn to gangs. Gangs influence the most violent aspects of children, along with youth delinquency and crime. While the problems are new to Antigua and Barbuda and the wider Caribbean, as early as 1555, England struggled with the control of the “ragged classes”: the destitute, handicapped, vagrant, orphaned and delinquent youth (Brake 1985). In Antigua and Barbuda and the wider Caribbean, gangs, drugs, and guns severely complicate our nations' efforts to control our children and youths.

Many have asked why I am writing on these topics, and my answer is the same as that of James Hillman, The Soul’s Code: In Search of Character and Calling: “A restructuring of perception is what I am after in my writings. I want us to see the child we were, the adult we are, and the children who require us in one way or another, in a light that shifts the valences from curse to blessing, or if not blessing at least symptom of calling.”

Dr. Oswald R. ThomasDr. Oswald R. Thomas is a Certified and Registered Clinical Hypnotherapist/Psychotherapist with the American Board of Hypnotherapy, the International Association of Counselors and Therapists, and the International Board of Medical and Dental Association. He is founder of the Thomas Center Human Development, Inc. and serves on Bronx Mental Health Committee, served on Community Board #5 in the Bronx, and the Bronx Neighborhood Planning Committee as Chair of the Youth Committee. With a Ph.D. in Psychology, a Master’s in Public Administration, and a Bachelor’s of Professional Studies in Human Services, Dr. Thomas is a counseling therapist/Behaviorist, and Professor at Metropolitan College of New York.  Email:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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2 Comments In This Article   

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You are on the battlefield, keep fighting!

#2 Dr Isaac Newton » 2010-01-09 13:04

Doc,

There is a need for more than boots on the ground, the solution requires hands in the air and structures of redemption. I am referring to a holistic approach. Yes, there is need for law enforcement-boots on the ground, but our youngsters must have something to reach after not merely someone to run from or run to. And finally, there needs to be preventative and corrective interventions as you so aptly have been advocating. Keep up this great work. It will save conscientious Antiguans and Barbudans. Maybe the government needs to call upon you to develop an integrative pathway of second chances and transformation to save our children.

Valor and Virtue,

Dr. Newton
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Dr Isaac Newton

i ihave one thing to say....

#1 chuptz » 2010-01-08 11:53

Children learn what the live...if a child lives with anger he learns to be angry, if a child lives with violence he learns to be violent, if a child lives with corruption, bobol, dishonesty, immorality, juvenile adult behavior, he learns to be just that.
nuff said.
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chuptz

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Dr. Oswald R. Thomas

Dr. Oswald R. Thomas Dr. Oswald R. Thomas is a Certified and Registered Clinical Hypnotherapist / Psychotherapist with the American Board of Hypnotherapy, the International Association of Counselors and Therapists, and the International Board of Medical and Dental Association. He is founder of the Thomas Center Human Development, Inc. and serves on Bronx Mental Health Committee, served on Community Board #5 in the Bronx, and the Bronx Neighborhood Planning Committee as Chair of the Youth Committee. With a Ph.D. in Psychology, a Master’s in Public Administration, and a Bachelor’s of Professional Studies in Human Services, Dr. Thomas is a counseling therapist/Behaviorist, and Professor at Metropolitan College of New York.

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