Young Peo­ple in Fo­cus with Youth Em­pow­er­ment for Life Project

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

The Govern­ment of Saint Lu­cia is tack­ling the is­sue of crime by not just in­vest­ing in jus­tice and se­cu­rity but get­ting to the root of the prob­lem and pro­vid­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties and sup­port to youth at risk.

Min­is­ter for Eq­uity, So­cial Jus­tice and Em­pow­er­ment, Hon­ourable Le­nard Montoute ex­plained at Tues­day’s House Sit­ting that the pi­lot pro­gramme, Youth Em­pow­er­ment for Life, is part of the Govern­ment’s over­all strat­egy to tackle crime and set our youth on the path to suc­cess.

The funds for the pro­gramme will be se­cured from the Caribbean De­vel­op­ment Bank (CDB) as ex­plained by Prime Min­is­ter and Min­is­ter for Fi­nance, Eco­nomic Growth, Job Cre­ation, Ex­ter­nal Af­fairs and the Public Ser­vice Hon­ourable Allen Chas­tanet when he moved a Mo­tion for the Govern­ment to loan US$2,860,000 from CDB’s Spe­cial Funds Re­sources (SFR) and ac­cept a grant for US$800,000.00 for the project.

Prime Min­is­ter Chas­tanet de­tailed that the Youth Em­pow­er­ment for Life Project is fo­cused on mit­i­gat­ing risk fac­tors that trig­ger crim­i­nal and anti-so­cial be­hav­iours at the in­di­vid­ual, fam­ily, com­mu­nity and so­ci­etal lev­els, with spe­cial em­pha­sis on young men and vul­ner­a­ble groups es­pe­cially chil­dren, at-risk youth and women.

This ob­jec­tive will be achieved through in­te­grated youth court di­ver­sion pro­grammes; in­te­grated com­mu­nity-based trans­for­ma­tion pro­grammes; com­mu­nity-based polic­ing ini­tia­tives; de­sign op­tions for the Ge­orge V Park in Cas­tries; and im­ple­men­ta­tion sup­port.

The PM ex­plained the main com­po­nents of the project which will in­clude a Youth Court Di­ver­sion Pro­gramme which com­prises two el­e­ments: youth re­cidi­vism re­duc­tion and an out of school sus­pen­sion pro­gramme: “Youth re­cidi­vism re­duc­tion will cater to young per­sons aged 12-19 and will in­clude pre- and post-court di­ver­sion youth who have been rec­om­mended to the pro­gramme or re­ceive non-cus­to­dial sen­tenc­ing. It will also cater to high school drop-outs. This el­e­ment will be im­ple­mented by the Pro­ba­tion and Pa­role ser­vices unit."

The out of school sus­pen­sion pro­gramme will be im­ple­mented by the Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion and will en­gage mean­ing­fully and fo­cus on sec­ondary school stu­dents sus­pended for more than five days.

Other com­po­nents of the pro­gramme in­clude com­mu­nity-based polic­ing and an in­te­grated com­mu­nity-based trans­for­ma­tion pro­gramme run by the Depart­ment of Eq­uity to in­clude com­mu­nity af­ter-school pro­grammes, com­mu­nity sum­mer pro­grammes; work­shops and train­ing re­lated to sports and de­vel­op­ment, creative and ex­pres­sive arts and busi­ness men­tor­ing and life coach­ing.

An ex­cit­ing com­po­nent of the project is the de­sign and up­grade of Ge­orge V Park which will be im­ple­mented by the Cas­tries City Coun­cil. Par­lia­men­tary Rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Cas­tries, Hon­ourable Sarah Flood-Beaubrun, told the House of As­sem­bly yes­ter­day that she was hon­oured that such a pro­gramme was be­ing pi­loted in her con­stituency and she looked for­ward to suc­cess and to see it even­tu­ally be­ing done across the is­land.

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