Keep the youths along the straight and narrow – McKie
The Ministry of Tourism, Sports and Culture has joined the fight against crime in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) through an initiative aimed at the youths.
The program, “Sports Against Crime”, was launched on Emancipation Day, August 1, during an event at the Rabacca Recreational Park.
Describing “Sports Against Crime” as promoting wellness through sports, Minister of Tourism, Sports and Culture Cecil McKie said it is also part of the government’s “Renewal at 40” program and it involves several ministries and organisations.
These include the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Social Development, the Pan Against Crime push, and the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force (RSVGPF).
McKie said the objectives include engaging all Vincentians, mostly young people, in discussions, involving them in sporting activities and educating them in groups.
“…keep them (youths) along the straight and narrow and if they have strayed get them on the straight and narrow,” said McKie who added that coaches and other individuals will work with youths so that they can achieve their maximum potential as it relates to sport and other positive activities.
The sports minister said that various processes of the initiative will help maximize the potential of participants and steer them away from crime and activities that are not beneficial to them.
McKie said the department of physical education and sports has expanded and intensified its programs and have also intensified their work with youth groups, schools, churches, sports clubs, persons on the block, families, sporting associations, communities and the police.
“They have engaged six young persons who are qualified and trained and experienced and educated, and they have begun work,” said McKie who spoke of interactions in North Leeward, Bequia, Kingstown, the St Georges, Marriaqua, North Windward and Union Island.
He said the program will cover the entire country and the budget has already allocated EC$73,000 to pay coaches and EC$20,000 for equipment and other things. A further EC$100,000 is slated to be injected into the program with the hope that the initiative will grow in 2020.
The 63 hardcourts and 52 playing fields in the country will be used in the program and minister McKie is encouraging persons to utilize the facilities while getting young people involved. He is also encouraging persons to employ at risk youths.
The Sports Against Crime push is being coordinated by former parliamentarian Clayton Burgin with Gaylene Windsor as his assistant.
Speaking at the launch, Burgin said the police and sporting organisations cannot fight crime alone so it is important that they get help.
He said the program is focused on all communities but more so on communities that are prone to crime.
“Give full support, individuals, businesspeople, and organisations. When you reduce crime, you are the better off for it,” said Burgin.
Commissioner of Police (COP) Collin John told the launch that the RSVGPF fully endorses the program as they have a vested interest in ensuring crimes are reduced or eliminated where possible.
He noted that the RSVGPF has several tools to tackle crime, with some aimed at crime prevention and others aimed at crime detection.
“This initiative can tackle the crime prevention aspect and the crime detection. It can be a crime preventative measure by providing useful avenues for young people and others to exhort energy.
“Once persons are engaged in sporting activities it is very unlikely that they will find time to be engaged in criminal activity thus crime will be reduced significantly,” said the COP.