February 27, 2009
Pan Against Crime celebrates 1st year

The Pan Against Crime programme, put on by the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines, celebrated its first anniversary on Sunday, February 22, 2009, at the Bishop’s College hard court in Paul’s Avenue.{{more}}

Despite the huge hype surrounding the highly anticipated event, only a handful of residents from the area turned out.

The brainchild of Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, Pan Against Crime seeks to steer the nation’s youth away from a life of crime and into the realm of music, namely the steel pan. So far, over six steel pan sides have been established throughout the length and breadth of St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Speaking at the ceremony on Sunday, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said that the programme has been working wonders, as more young people are getting involved in playing pan. Dr Gonsalves also noted that he wants more communities to get involved with the Pan Against Crime initiative and make positive things happen. Dr Gonsalves stressed the importance of the involvement of the contributions of the Anglican Church, which has been instrumental in the development of the Paul’s Avenue area. He said that the church allotted portions of their land to build the Kingstown Technical Centre and to improve the conditions of the playing field.

The Prime Minister also praised the work of the Social Investment Fund (SIF) for the tremendous work they have been doing in helping to sponsor the pan sides.

Also giving brief remarks, Commissioner of Police Keith Miller said that too many young people are getting involved in a life of crime and violence, and that it needs to stop. “The Pan Against Crime is trying to extract the positives out of young people and channel them into the music,” he stated. The top cop said that even though Paul’s Avenue has experienced a spate of crime and violence over the past two years, there is still a lot of good in the community. “I encourage the children of Paul’s Lot to emulate positive role models.”

Marlon Stevenson, president of Avenues United, said that there is a responsibility to give the children hope for a better tomorrow. “We often judge and complain about our youths… and that it is time they are given a chance.” Stevenson asked the gathering to let the project of rebuilding the football field be one of cohesiveness and a step in the right direction.

The Rythmix and Symphonix Steel Orchestras provided the entertainment at the event, along with a dance by popular dance group Avenue Dancers. (KW)