Prime Minister Harris congratulates parents as fifth Explorers Club is launched

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, September 10, 2018 (PLP PR Media Inc.) — Parents in the Cayon community, and further afield including the Keys community, have come in for praise from Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Dr the Hon Timothy Harris, for standing with the young people.

Prime Minister Harris, who was speaking on Saturday, September 8 at the Cayon Primary School during the launch of Cayon Explorers Club, expressed his delight at the large number of parents who had turned out for the ceremony. He said: “I am especially delighted to see so many parents here, and I want the parents to give themselves a round of applause for standing with the young people.”

Cayon Explorers Club is the fifth after Mol-Phil (Molineux-Phillips), Shadwell, St. Peter’s and St. Paul’s Explorers Clubs formed by the Ministry of National Security as part its National Security Initiative that is part of the National Crime Reduction and Prevention Strategy targeting young people.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security Mr Osmond Petty, who was chairing the proceedings, confirmed that the Cayon Explorers Club had the largest parental support, and with 89 members it was the largest Explorers group on launch. The pioneering Mol-Phil Explorers Club now has a membership of over 150.

“Why is the presence of so many parents important?” Prime Minister Harris posed. He explained that surveys done in the eight OECS member countries, which targeted 5,000 persons, have indicated that the entity that has the greatest impact on the performance of young people is not the teachers but parents. He noted that what surprised the researchers somewhat was that the single most important entity in the lives of the children, identified by them, was the parents.

“That is why the parents have to be close to their children,” said Dr Harris. “That is why it is important that you are here today, and you will be there on the 19th of September, to see them in the Independence Day parade and I believe again, the largest group on parade come September 19 will be over 300-strong Explorers participating in the parade.”

Present at the launch ceremony included the Hon Eugene Hamilton, Minister of Human Settlement et al, and Area Parliamentary Representative for St. Christopher Eight; Cabinet Secretary Mrs Josephine Huggins; National Security Advisor Major General (Ret.) Stewart Saunders; Director of Counselling Mrs Michele dela Coudray-Blake; and Press Secretary Ms Valencia Grant.

Others were Principal of the Cayon Primary School Mrs Angela; Forces Chaplain Pastor Ericson Cumberbatch; Crime Reduction Specialist Dr Neals Chitan, and Mrs Chitan; Assistant Commissioner of Police Andre Mitchell; visiting police officers from Jamaica who are now part of the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force, Rtd. Detective Inspector Marcia Garrick, and Rtd. SSP Colin Pinnock; founder and now coordinator of the Explorers movement Inspector Rosemarie Isles-Joseph and members of the Community Policing Initiative. Also present were members of the other Explorers Clubs.

Warning of the dangers of gangs, Prime Minister Harris asked the parents to take a stand against them advising: “As you take a stand today, you have to take the stand every day. And sometimes when you take a stand, you have to be prepared as a mother or as a father, or as an uncle, to stand alone – stand alone for what is right for those who are under your care. Stand alone when you go Upper Cayon and you know there are gangs up there, as gangs down here – you have to be prepared to say ‘my child will not be part of it’.”

In closing, Dr Harris said: “If you know where the guns are please say something. If you know where the drugs are, please say something. And please keep the guns and the drugs out of the house and out of the yard, because the examples that you set, these children are likely to follow. May God again bless us and encourage us, especially the parents, to take a stand – a positive stand for our children.”

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