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Take MiLat to prisons

Published: 
Monday, December 4, 2017
Aunt of slain teen:
MiLat enrollees carry the coffin of slain schoolmate Jabari Phillip during his funeral service at the Revival Capital Prophetic Ministries, Piarco, on Saturday.

Prophetess Rev Natasha Leon has called on the Government to implement the youth-oriented Military-led Academic Training (MiLat) Academy programme in the nation’s prisons as a rehabilitative measure.

“This programme should be integrated into the prisons. We ought to look at getting into the schools from as early as pre-school and take preventative measures, rather than find solutions to problems, we would change so many lives, save so many lives,” she said on Saturday during the funeral of her 16-year-old nephew Jabari Phillip.

Phillip, who was shot dead on Piccadilly Street, Port-of-Spain, last Saturday, would have celebrated his 17th birthday on December 12 and had been in the MiLat programme for three months.

Leon recalled her nephew’s difficulty fitting into the regular school system and him being expelled from a secondary school in the west. She smiled, however, when she proudly pointed out that where others could only see Phillip’s troubled past, MiLat personnel saw his goodness. “I am sure that if he were here, he would appeal to you all, ‘the mistakes I made don’t make it,’” she put to the youths, fellow MiLat enrollees and military dignitaries on hand.

To the adults in the audience, she demanded, “Examine yourselves to see as to what more you can do to better someone else’s life. Where are the fathers and mothers of the nation, who would stand and say I will be there for you?”

Leon blasted “parents who deceive themselves that their children are their friends and would practice, wine, woman and weed” with them and made the call for society to get back to being “each others brothers’ and sisters’ keepers.”

Phillip’s mother, Vanessa Phillip, was presented with a ribboned framed photo of her son in full uniform by member of the Defence Force.

According to reports, Phillip and another individual was walking along Piccadilly Street when several shots rang out near the Mango Rose plannings. The two young men were said to have run for cover but Phillip fell to the ground a short distance away. Police and emergency health services were notified and Phillip was rushed to the Port-of-Spain General Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. Investigations are continuing.

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