Our Readers' Opinions
March 1, 2016
The plight of our kids and teenagers

Editor: It is high time someone other than a lukewarm Christian Council or Christian base address what is, maybe hidden, maybe demonstrated only by acting out, the plight of our kids and teenagers.

Fact: St Vincent is overrun with gangs, drug dealers, pedophiles, predators, not too mention questionable social media use.{{more}}

Fact: as popularly termed, a large cross-section of our young adult population do not plan their families; in fact, the males just ‘breed the girl,’ an exact quote, to hold on to the women.

Fact: police give priority to only urgent situations, and they must be overwhelmed, re: a large amount of crimes which go unpunished, and St Vincent as one of the most lawless countries worldwide (once given the moniker in international media ‘rape capital of the world’); adults can get away with just about anything.

Fact: Vincentian men are not shy of their conquests with underage girls, popularly referred to here as ‘smallies’.

Fact: addiction to pornography and other media which shapes sexual attitudes, leaves our children vulnerable to victimization by both male and female adults.

These factors indicate ‘concentration camp’ conditions for our kids, already overwhelmed by a heavy academic workload, and the many temptations to go the wrong way. Does the church help? No programmes, no advice forum, no investment, as the old credo goes: ‘God will take care of it’.

Kids: here is my advice: Do it yourself. Take care of your siblings, your peers, and initiate real discussion of issues that might help you. The more you try, the more God will answer your prayers.

On the lighter side:

Our kids are shrewd business men and women. There are a couple of primary school students helping their mom sell coconut water, brother and sister. When they assailed me with their sales pitch (in which the price went from four to five dollars, they used their charm, and I was sold.

Another group of primary school girls stormed the café where I was online and sold me candy. It turns out that these youngsters were buying candy and reselling them to make a profit. They were full of positive energy and communication skills and once again I was sold.

An older student, 17 years old, teaching himself to play the violin, finally afforded lessons, in a situation where, his mother having died recently, he has to pretty much hustle. I hope he gets out of St Vincent to a reputable university of music, because let me tell you the predators are waiting here to gobble up his idealism, like vultures biding their time.

A 10-year-old boy I met at a shop with his brother and mother, gave me his views of a bright future; when I get married, he says, I will cook, clean and wash for my wife. He also told me he does odd jobs in his spare time. I observed this young man buy a cake and share it with his five-year-old sibling.

All kids need someone to point them in the right direction, as these anecdotes demonstrate. I got from all of them an innate sense of frustration, though, fear, you know little clues they drop, an anxious look, a tic.

Kids are basically raising themselves emotionally, when all mom and dad can provide is food or shelter. They are defined by media heroes, movie stars, commercial and immoral music and lyrics from these heroes, and yet they are still capable of love and values if you look at them interact in public settings.

On the darker side: a student, CS, is an interracial mix of black and Indian. He told me that no one in Ottley Hall, where he lives, is friendly to him any more and he wishes he could return to Trinidad. His father hurls slurs at his ethnicity. His ambition is police work, naturally, since he feels that that profession could help someone like him, who is victimized.

In Kingstown, I have seen choke holds, slaps and rough handling by some of these parents who let down their guard long enough to apprise their roles as players in the concentration camps (mostly new school).

My first run-in with kids was at a delicate phase where I was being attacked. WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME, I’D OFTEN ASK. One of these kids, neglected by both parents in terms of a bizarre family life, I see him. I know he’s trying, and I am glad I didn’t prosecute him, especially in terms of his unique apology.

Remember, kids, one on God’s side is a majority: and you have what it takes.

Colin King