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Nov 8, 2017

Youths Tackle Crime Issues at World Summit

A World Youth Conference continues today in the Belize City. Representatives from over fifty countries are revisiting the importance of the Sustainable Development goals to their own advancement.  One common, but critical issue affecting youths has to do with security. Violent crime has no borders while economic crime is destroying society.  News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

 

KK Singh

Dr. KK Singh, Chairman, International Youth Committee

“We are bringing the world youths to a common platform to address the various issues of their respective countries so that we can find a common solution together, by dialogue.”

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

The strength of the seventeen sustainable development goals – that is what youth leaders from across the globe are discussing during a four-day conference being held in Belize.  Three substantive topics: health, climate change/environmental issues and peace and security are at the forefront of the discussions. While there are equally important to the future of any country, the latter is a major challenge for most countries as criminal activities continue to have an adverse effect on development. Locally, minors are being recruited into gangs and major crimes have been on the rise.

 

Adonnis McDonald

Adonnis McDonald, Youth Delegate, Belize

“Crime in Belize is really breathtaking and in Belize, the crime rate is really getting high, especially in the city. And I guess the government need to start to do some intervention even loan certain strategies from different nations. My biggest concern is that mainly the male population, especially on the south side to be frank, they are losing their focus in school. So you have to find other ways and methods to divert from that cyclical process because really and truly Belize in a ten-year, twenty-year period, the male population—a mass majority will be on the streets, into gangs, if they don’t do any innovative ideas.”

 

…and statistics show that Belize is amongst the most murderous countries in these parts; there have been over a hundred and twenty homicides so far for the year. Regionally, however, Jamaica is considered the most murderous CARICOM country. Gangs, gun violence and other major crimes have gripped the island country, but Jamaica’s Youth Advisory Council Rep Overton Rattray says the government has been working to address the issue.

 

Overton Rattray

Overton Rattray, Youth Delegate, Jamaica

“It is a very predominant thing especially in the inner city areas; those areas where opportunities are not so much available. Where the uneducated young people are more so inclined to do so and those communities are where we have most of the problems. Where we see young people without options, they have no other options so they decide to go that way. The government of Jamaica has put in a number of projects and programs to curb such. For example, we can speak to the Ministry of Youth through Honorable Floyd Greene himself; we have seen where they have implemented projects that are directly catering to young people. We see the national secondary students’ council which is a government program that gives students a voice to voice their opinion and show the problems that they are facing. We see the Youth Advisory Council of Jamaica, which is a program that allows young people to give advice to the government on policies.”

 

Programs like these can be replicated by other countries to stem crime and violence. At the end of the conference, the youth leaders will create a guideline for their respective governments. But what about economic crimes? Liberia’s youth delegate, Wainright Acquoi, says that this form of activity, including corruption, plagues his country.

 

Wainright Acquoi

Wainright Acquoi, Youth Delegate, Liberia

“Not only from the perspective of the violent crimes, where people are robbed, people are attacked in homes or individuals; there are also economic crimes, which is done by people that you sometimes least expect, that is the educated people. This is one of the most dangerous crimes that we have there. And the issue of corruption, economic malpractices and these are things that are really prevalent in my country and this is destroying the future of young people, destroying the future of economic development. And it is affecting, maintaining or achieving the sustainable development in my country.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

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