With the uptick in violence among young people again at the forefront, the government has recommitted to ensuring that there are structures in place to intervene to catch at risk youth before disruptive, antisocial behaviours take root.
To this end, Minister of Information, Melford Nicholas gave the assurance at Thursday’s post-cabinet press briefing that several options to reach troubled youngsters are being considered as the government is disinclined to rush to incarceration as a first option.
These options being examined include the redevelopment of the Boys Training School to provide holistic services to young boys in need of support and the establishment of a similar facility to serve girls who find themselves in trouble.
Where a lack of parental supervision in the home is at the root of the problem, Nicholas said the government may have to consider stepping in to make neglected children wards of the state.
He added that the government is also open to considering a cadet programme where young people can be introduced to the military in cooperation with the Antigua Barbuda Defence Force. This, he said, would help to instil discipline and structure in the lives of young people.
“In addition…or a part of the whole sum development, some type of structured environment associated with the army where they could be incorporated in the Cadet Corps as part of the whole restructured environment for improving the overall social integration.
“That will be one of the issues on the table for consideration in the wider societal discussion on this particular matter,” said Minister Nicholas.