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Governments past and present have struggled with the issues of crime and security but secondary school students believe a solution will only come about with co-operation between all sectors of T&T. As four of the 24 schools participating in this year’s American Chamber of Commerce of T&T’s National Youth Productivity Forum spoke on Wednesday, students were adamant that better job opportunities and education were pivotal to curbing the high crime rate. Among the schools in the Central round of the competition at the University of T&T, Point Lisas Energy Campus, were Carapichaima East Secondary, Naparima Girls’ High, Presentation College, Chaguanas, and Chaguanas North Secondary School.
Leading the way with an impressive contribution, John Mohammed and Makarion Phirangee of Presentation College said the business sector in T&T needed to partner in the fight against crime.
They said business partnerships with schools, through lectures and mentorship, sponsorship of crime reduction and community projects and the employment of at-risk youths and former convicts, could bring about a drastic reduction in crime. Sharing research on their topics, the students said not only did crime cost the country $200 million in tourism annually but it also reduced the potential for foreign business, as the World Economic Forum had indicated that foreign investors were wary of doing business in T&T because of the crime rate.
First-timers in the forum, Carapichaima East Secondary, said proper educational programme within the prison system would help to reduce the number of repeat offenders. Representing the government’s perspective, the students believed alternative lifestyles and careers for criminals should be part of Government’s crime-fighting initiatives. Although they were too young to have experienced corporal punishment in school, they suggested a return to the whip and the implementation of military boot camps for delinquent teenagers to be disciplined.