Bill aims to bring about a new awareness and sense of social responsibility regarding youth waywardness

St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas (photo by Erasmus Williams)

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, APRIL 27TH 2011 (CUOPM) – St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas says his Government takes a multipronged approach to social regeneration and upliftment.

Speaking during his weekly radio call-in programme on Tuesday, Dr. Douglas said his administration continues to take measures to inject a greater measure of family-control and decorum in the lives of young people.

He said legislation going to the St. Kitts and Nevis National Assembly on Thursday is specially designed to bring about a new awareness that would bring to St. Kitts and Nevis a new sense of social responsibility regarding youth waywardness.

“My Government believes that all of us have to start focusing on that special spark that we all possess as, together, we work to pull ourselves back from the habits and behaviors that lead to so much trauma and distress all over the world,” said the Prime Minister.

He said his Government is calling for the support and involvement of the public in ensuring that the Criminal Law Amendment (Amendment) Bill that will be debated in parliament on Thursday has the full public support if and when it becomes law.

The Bill will make it a criminal offence for any person under 18 years of age to be admitted to night clubs, casinos, and other adult entertainment spots and owners of these establishments will be made to pay a fine up to $5,000 if they knowingly or unknowingly admit minors to their establishments the first time that they are found guilty of breaking this law.

“This is not a matter that should be left up to the police, the courts, and the business owners alone. This is a matter that must call forth the vigilance and energy of the public at large. We cannot concern ourselves only with whether or not our own underage children are properly managed. We must now begin to speak up and let the owners of night-time establishments know that they will lose your business that you will leave and not return, if they continue to admit underage persons into their establishment. In addition, you must not, through your silence, permit underage persons to feel comfortable in those establishments,” Prime Minister Douglas told listeners to the programme which is syndicated simultaneously on Choice FM. Kyss FM, ZIZ Radio, Radio One and Freedom FM.

“You must find a way, either through direct communication with the under-age person, through the calling of the police, or to whatever way works best for you, find a way to make that young persons understand that they are someplace that they should not be.

Any person who takes the position that that is too much for them to do will have lost their right to lament and complain whenever there is a report of yet another young person gone astray,” said Dr. Douglas.

Dr. Douglas said a sense of social responsibility is sorely missing in the Caribbean, sorely missing in the western Hemisphere, and sorely missing throughout the world.

“We have to re-institute it here, however, because it was once very much a part of who and what we used to be. I know that you have all tuned on the international news and seen how children and young people in other countries are filming fights of themselves and placing these fights on the internet – making ‘cool’ and ‘trendy’ what once used to be a cause for real shame. And then, you are also aware of the filming by young people, all over the world, of what should be very private behavior between adults and placing this on the internet. This, too, is mainstreaming and making almost ‘no big deal’ what, not so long ago, would have been a cause for complete shock and disgrace in every corner of the globe. Then, in recent years, in our own region and beyond, some members of the older generation have been allowing the younger generation to go anywhere, do anything, behave anyhow -without restrictions,” said Prime Minister Douglas, pointing out that this “has had terrible consequences for the young people involved, and it has had terrible consequences for our society as a whole.”

He said these troubling trends, worldwide, are encouraging a wild, animalistic approach to life that is denying people their humanity – no matter which country they live in.

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