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Feb 15, 2005

YFF facilitates new attitudes for youth

Story PictureIt seems that every day the news is filled with reports of deadly violence, particularly involving young people. And while most of us can do little more than shake our heads and throw up our hands, one organisation continues to agitate for new attitudes by and toward our disaffected youths. Patrick Jones has more.

Patrick Jones, Reporting
The room full of young men and women is full of emotion, anger to be specific. And the testimonies indicate that there are a lot of frustrated youths walking the streets of Belize City. The two day forum organised by Youth for the Future, is intended to help a segment of the community that often finds itself at odds with the rest of society.

Brittney Domingo, Workshop Participant
?The session is about job preparedness, anger management, HIV and AIDS and personal development. This session is very important and it is very helpful because it teaches us a lot of things that maybe we know, but you know, how to apply it to ourselves and how to give us ways of going about it if we don?t know how to. I am enjoying this programme, right now because it is very informative. It goes deep into everything, especially with HIV; about how it is spreading about Belize and ways how we could protect ourselves and the way how the virus operates.?

Patrick Jones
?The subjects of HIV and AIDS, job preparedness, anger management, do you think these are things that young people need to know how to deal with today??

Marlon Sutherland, Workshop Participant
?Yes sir. Certainly I feel as if they need to know. I would advise them to come in and have a talk with these guys and see what they can do for themselves. And also a lot of other people are out there without a job, come right here dah these guys and they will help you out. They will give you a little hand and think, but the only thing that you can?t the come with no negative mind and feel like you will still be on the street or something like that. You have to try reason and willing to learn. Once you are willing you will get it.?

Organiser of the training Douglas Hyde says the presence of the thirty participants is an indication that they are at least willing to try and turn their lives around.

Douglas Hyde, Head of Violence Reduction Youth, Y.F.F.
?This year we plan to run a lot of these sessions where we are looking at social issues that are affecting our young people, HIV/AIDS, job issues, personal development, life skills, self esteem, anger management. All these topics are things that are related to young persons: drugs, gangs. So our connection with them on the streets is one of the plus.?

Patrick Jones
?Listening to one of the sessions just now I get the impression that there are still a lot of very angry young people walking the streets of this city.?

Douglas Hyde
?Right now, the situation with our young persons is really, really a lot of frustration; a lot of anger. A lot of them–the systems that are in place in terms of getting a job is a little frustration for them. The systems that are there in their homes in terms of poverty in terms of a shelter and stuff, even makes them more frustrated.?

One of the more vocal members of the group is Steve James, the man accused of shooting at Chief Magistrate Herbert Lord a year and a half ago. He says it was a trying time for him and even though he continues to be a target of law enforcement authorities, has found a way to keep his anger in check.

Steve James, Workshop Participant
?So far I used to be a youth from the street. Once they tell me about the anger and thing and I tell them the worst days of my life was in 2003, August the twenty-third when I was accused wrongfully of shooting at Mr. Herbert Lord and the amount of pain and suffering I gone through in that time. Policeman they come beat up me and thing, and they don?t have no evidence. And up today day they still harass me when they see me.?

Patrick Jones
?Are you angry at the authorities? At the police??

Steve James
?No, I never angry at them. I angry at what they do toward me to hurt me because a man?s feeling is not something you should play with. Because is say if I innocent, I dah was innocent citizen of Belize I feel like if a man innocent until proven guilty.?

James says after sitting in jail for nine months before being let off the hook for the attempt on the life of the Chief Magistrate, he is now is trying to put his life together. But admits it?s not easy.

Steve James
?The police dem still nuh respect youth for the future as we that are staff. When they see me they want to chance me. They kind me and beat me up. I noh make no report out of that. They say I gone dah Belmopan di stone out the police and thing when they noh have no kind of record pan no video say me the stone no police. The minister them pay we fuh gone up there. I just gone up deh gone see weh di go on. I mi want go ina di house and thing and me and my friend mi deh together. And when I come down on Friday night I deh dah wah club four officers meet me and kidnap me and just beat me up and fractured four of my ribs. And I mi feel really angry about that because I say weh happen, the citizens of Belize no have no kind of rights? That the police could just come do we what they want??

Patrick Jones, for News 5.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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