Monday, Feb 17, 2020
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National youth service

Dear Editor,

The Democratic National Alliance calls on the government to implement a National Youth Service.

The most pressing issue in The Bahamas today is crime and the fear of crime.  Crime has been the most pressing issue for many years and it will continue to be at the forefront in our mind unless our leaders decide to take a different approach to this vexing problem.

We continue to do the same things over and over again and yet we expect a different result.  It is high time that we realize that if we do the same things over and over again and expect a different result, that is, in the words of Albert Einstein, insanity.  But yet we would not learn.

In the prime minister’s 2013/2014 budget communication, we see this same approach Albert Einstein referred to in relation to crime.  Monies have yet again been budgeted for police vehicles.  The reasoning, I assume, is for there to be more police presence on the streets.  We have seen administration after administration purchase vehicles for the same reason and yet the end result was that police presence was not sufficient.  Crime continues to escalate.

Now I am not saying that the police force does not need vehicles and equipment.  What I am saying is that now is the time for this administration to look at how best crime can be combated.  Purchasing vehicles alone will not work.  It has not worked in the past.

It is the Democratic National Alliance’s view that in this budgetary cycle, provisions ought to have been made to start the implementation of a National Youth Service Program.  This program ought to be geared towards unemployed youth who are not engaged in formal education, employment or income-generating activities, youth who are not furthering their educations beyond high school and youth who are in conflict with the law.  The essence of the program would be to combine training in specific skills, work experience, discipline and to develop positive attitudes and values, self-esteem and love and respect for country.

A program of this nature would certainly take many people off the streets.  Hence, reducing the necessity of police presence.  The program would ensure that people learn a skill or trade so that when they are completed they become productive members of society – indeed, reducing the criminal element in our country.

Invest in the people and the people will build the country.

– Branville McCartney, DNA leader

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