(OBSERVER)The National Youth Parliament of Antigua and Barbuda (NYPAAB) has called for the swift implementation of a “combative and rehabilitative solution” to the issue of youth violence, a release said.
For the past few months, violence carried out by youth and against youth has become a concern for many citizens in Antigua and Barbuda, with several reports of cutlass-wielding assailants at school premises, sporting venues and other youth frequented areas.
As a result, two 19-year-old youth were recently charged after they were arrested for wielding cutlasses near the YMCA Sports Complex. Also, staff and students at a number of secondary schools — Clare Hall Secondary being the most recent — have been left traumatised after cutlass wielding attackers breached their compounds.
The NYPAAB has called the violence perpetrated “alarming” and publicly condemned the “unlawful behaviour of some youth who partake in these activities”, noting the increased gang activity, especially the use of weapons in carrying out attacks.
The organisation believed that youth need to understand their roles in society as the backbone of the nation and agents for progressive change.
“Therefore, these acts of violence and crime pose a serious threat to the security of our country, creating an atmosphere of instability which threatens our peace and safety,” the statement read.
They also highlighted the value of youth living purposeful lives, stating “the Association also notes that the lack of community sports and recreation also means that many young persons are not wholesomely engaged during after school hours. As a result, there is a serious gap that needs to be filled.”