Youth says don’t blame poverty for bad mind
When 18-year-old Kahlel Beach-Ash saw another teenager whom he knew well charged with a series of serious offences, he decided to make an intervention via a Facebook video.
Beach-Ash wanted to give his Facebook friends a positive message, but he had no idea that his message would go viral.
His video was posted on September 9 and so far, has been viewed 56,533 times, shared 2,200 times, and attracted over 620 comments.
“I did not expect the video to make such an impact and I did not really think about that. I just wanted people to hear my message. I wanted to get to the people on my page, the younger people so they will reflect and do better if they were doing bad and if they didn’t know better and were planning something then they would see and understand the message and don’t do it,” Beach-Ash told SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday.
The impetus for the Biabou resident’s message was a published news report about nine teenagers who appeared before the courts charged with offences ranging from abduction to illegal possession of firearms.
“That was the last posting I saw, and I knew one of them personally and I was really disappointed in him,” Beach-Ash said while adding that he was at home reasoning and having a conversation with himself when he decided to record the video with his laptop.
In the 31 minute 47 second long video, Beach-Ash said that the prevalence of youth crime implicates him, as people put all young people into one bracket.
He noted that when news reports on youth crime are published online, many young people, in their comments, blame poverty and unemployment.
Beach-Ash disagrees, arguing that poverty does not control one’s mind.
“Poverty is a situation, poverty is an obstacle. Any man go out he way and say he going find a gun to stick up people, why he can’t go out he way and find an honest way to make money?” Beach-Ash said.
“I ain’t telling you this as somebody looking in from outside. I been in poverty first hand…I live in house with no furniture, no TV, current gone we aint have no money to put on light, water gone, we ain’t have no money to put on water, nothing. I going school and people ain’t even know my situation, I ain’t have no lunch…”
The student of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Community College (SVGCC) said despite their poverty, he never robbed anyone or stole and his sister never slept with men for money.
On Wednesday, Beach-Ash said he has been observing the deterioration of the youths and he wants the country to do better hence his message to the youth.
“I see the youths doing worse and worse and everybody want the change, but nobody speaking up to initiate the change. Somebody had to talk to the youths,” said the student of Fine Arts, Design and Cultural Communication in SVGCC’s Division of Arts, Sciences and General Studies.
Beach-Ash, the son of singer Aurella Kahalia Beach, is hoping to pursue a career in arts and animation.
He said that he has gone through what eastern civilisation refers to as a spiritual awakening and he has no fear speaking out.
Beach-Ash also commented on a video which was recently circulated on social media and shows a male attacking a woman at Indian Bay. He said that the video proves his point.
“When I saw the video, it cemented the fact that youth make a conscious decision to do bad things because before he attacked, he was standing there, looking like a predator, lurking,” the young man observed.
He said he is open to delivering motivational speeches but at this point, he will be concentrating on his college work as he really wants to do well.
However, he thinks he made a mistake in his video when he said some youths get involved consciously.
“I want to correct that. Some youths just don’t know better, so if I can reach out, maybe I can change the minds of people who have not done anything bad as yet and maybe planning to do something.”
He said he may not be able to change the minds of those already involved in crime.
He stressed also that parental guidance is important as his mother and grandmother (deceased) always encouraged him to be a critical thinker and not to follow others.
“Every youngster can be positive. They just have to make the conscious decision to do it,” he further told SEARCHLIGHT while adding that things are looking up for him as his mother now works overseas.