PRIME MINISTER, Dr Ralph Gonsalves has again spoken out about incidences of gun violence in St Vincent and the Grenadine (SVG) which has left a number of young dead and others bearing wounds.
While speaking at the opening of the Layou Playing Field pavilion on Sunday afternoon, September 11, the prime minister said the past months have “been quite difficult, quite challenging with Covid and the volcanic eruptions, but I am just asking you that we must try not to create additional difficulties for ourselves like, for instance, the increase criminal activity with guns, among some young males.”
He cautioned that young males “cannot live in a virtual world; you have to live in a real world, and there is no opportunity in guns. You think you may be big and strong, and your gun might give you a little sense of power. But I tell you, you kill somebody today, put your pot on the fire that either that person’s friends or families are coming at you tomorrow, day after tomorrow. It makes absolutely no sense.”
Gonsalves disagreed with those who say that the economic situation in SVG is a major factor leading to gun violence.
“There are some people who tell me that people move into guns because of hardship. Well how is it that you had much more hardship long ago and did not have as many guns? And how is it that some of the people, in fact many of them with guns, they are not hand-to-mouth.”
He added: “I am witnessing something happening in the world today. Not just only in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, but the Caribbean, in the United States, all about. People seem to think that they could live in a virtual world. They watch Instagram, they go on the internet and they see certain things and they transport themselves, and what they want to do is to put postings to show them with guns or postings that they are bad men, and they have women around them, the prime minister reasoned.
“Now there is a real world. Not what you see on Instagram or on Facebook, that is a virtual world and you have to keep your feet grounded, and if you have any problems in keeping your feet grounded, talk to your mother, and your father, and your grandmother, your grandfather, and your great grandmother great grandfather. Talk to the elders in the community.
“Please do not get into all of this confusion and this violence; it will only bring you pain and suffering,” he added.
“ Take advantage of the opportunities for young people for training and education and those in sports and culture and in business, and the PRYME money to get to start your own business. Be focused.Young persons, young males in particular, the future is bright for you. But you have to seize the opportunities, not the gun.”