You can now listen to Antigua News articles!
The Office of the Prime Minister has expressed concern over comments from sections of the Opposition United Progressive Party and its affiliated media houses seeking to cast blame for youth violence which caused an abrupt end to the annual Boxing Day Street Jam in the Point community.
Young men believed to be between the ages of 11-14 were apprehended during the jam, armed with a cutlass and knife. It is reported that two teens were injured during the event.
Prime Minister the Hon. Gaston Browne, under whose auspices the event was held, immediately ordered the stoppage of the event and called on the authorities to act swiftly to prevent any escalation of violence.
Prime Minister Browne stated that the issue of youth violence is of serious concern for his administration and called for urgent all-of-society intervention by stakeholders, foremost being parents.
The Office of the Prime Minister reminds the general public that crime and violence was at an all-time high in Antigua and Barbuda during the period of 2004 and 2014 and therefore the opposition is unfit to speak on the issue of youth violence. “The Opposition would be more effective if they desist from casting blame on other stakeholders and joined the fight to curb youth violence.”
The Office reminded the general public that it was Prime Minister Browne who summoned all stakeholders recently to a cabinet meeting to address this issue and pledged his government’s resolve to take steps to stamp out this trend.
“We need to raise better-cultured children who are hardworking, empathetic, disciplined, and not oriented to using violence to resolve conflicts. This issue threatens to undermine our developmental gains, and attainment of the SDGs requires an all-of-society intervention,” Prime Minister Browne told reporters over the holiday.
PM Browne said the situation certainly requires the support and intervention of “Parents, teachers, policymakers, church leaders, and the broader community must work in tandem to address this issue frontally. Let’s work together to nurture a society that is softer, more cultured, and more productive,” he said.
Following the incident on Boxing Day in the Point Community, Prime Minister Browne spoke with members of his Cabinet, law officials, officials in the Ministry of Social Transformation and Legal Affairs advising that addressing the issue will be a priority when Cabinet resumes in the New Year.