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Aug 23, 2016

Dr. Herbert Gayle Trains Frontline Workers in Fighting Violence

Anthropologist Doctor Herbert Gayle is currently in the country. Along with a team, he is providing training to youths to equip them with the skills to effectively fight and reduce violence. The experiences of gang violence in the Central America and the Caribbean provide the backdrop of how to formulate programs to properly assist youth at risks. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Understanding, managing and working to reduce violence—those are the objectives of a three-day workshop being held at the Inspiration Center in Belize City. Hosted by the Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture through the Department of Youth Services, some fifty social workers including police officers attached to the Community Policing Unit are taking part in the training that seeks to build capacity for youth practitioners in Belize.

 

Elodio Aragon Jr.

Elodio Aragon Jr., Minister of State, Youth & Culture

“The scope of this workshop is to try to assist them with the knowledge, the understanding of some of the issues that they have to deal with in terms of when they are dealing with the young people, especially those who are engaged with at-risk youths. We need to build their capacity if they are do a better job in dealing with young people and preventing them from getting involved in crime and especially here in Belize City.”

 

The very comprehensive training, aimed at ensuring that the frontline workers are equipped with the requisite skills to effectively respond to the violent trends in Belize, is being facilitated by Doctor Herbert Gayle and his team. According to Doctor Gayle, day-one looks at the analysis of murders in Central America and the Caribbean; the Brain of a Killer, and why boys join gangs.

 

Herbert Gayle

Dr. Herbert Gayle, Facilitator

“What’s not so right, I rather put it that way, is mixing pot. And that’s a problem—not just the Caribbean, but quite often people are not only doing X, but they are doing Y, they are doing Z and they are doing a lot of stuff at once rather than understanding the structures and separations and the beginning and end of things. The other thing that is very wrong is duplication. Even when we are helping people we are creating conflict. You choose a community, but you don’t choose a community beside it. Community beside it plans to raid the community that get helped and take away their resources. We have seen a lot of crazy stuff in the Caribbean in the name of help. So those are the stuff that we are trying to see if we can get clear in the heads of people; that when it comes to people who are already downtrodden—that feel vulnerable and so forth—you take a risk if you are helping without knowing how to help. So that is why we have a whole section on methods and approached.”

 

Dianne Finnegan, Coordinator, Youth Apprenticeship Program

“If we go in with this aggressiveness and this approach of demand, we are going to get someone who is going to close up on us; who is going to just stare and would not be able to internalize anything because of the fact that this is the norm for them. Then you have to bring in this compassionate aspect for individuals to understand how valuable they are, compliment that with what is out there, your own experience in life. I think what makes a major difference in our intervention and with the Youth Apprenticeship Program is that nothing is sugarcoated; it is not a life of an unknown, but it is the life of individuals that they can identify with.”

 

One participant that has been at the forefront in terms of youth advocacy is Dianne Finnegan. Aside from her work with Eastern Division South of the Police Department and its interventions with gangs, Finnegan is at the head of the Youth Apprenticeship Program that has helped hundreds of young people in giving them a second chance teaching them life skills and preparing them for the workforce.

 

Dianne Finnegan

Dianne Finnegan

“For me it always has to start with you. You’ve got to look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself if you are an example, if you are a person that someone can imitate; that someone would want to aspire to imitate and become. So it starts with you as an individual and I think the guidance and the skills that we are going to get from Doctor Gayle is crucial because it is applicable to everything that not just working with at-risk youths, not just working in the area of crime and violence, but with ourselves—improving ourselves as human beings.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

 

Day-two of the training will look at the media and the management of murder spikes; music content management; politics, corruption, duplication, waste and violence and a holistic approach to reducing youth violence.

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