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Activist: Private sector can help young people
Officer Derrick Sharbodie, manager and founder of the St James Police Youth Club, is calling for more private sector involvement in addressing issues which affect the nation’s young people. He said many young people feel a sense of hopelessness at the negativity they see in local and international media.
“Having interacted with them, almost 90 per cent say as soon as they get a job they look for a gun to protect themselves,” he said.
Sharbodie said there is a need for balance “in terms of showing young people that despite the area they come from they can rise above it, keep their heads on their shoulders and make good choices.”
“There must be a deliberate drive to showcase the positives from communities so that young people do not feel that all is lost,” he said.
“What is required is for the private sector to come on board in a meaningful way as part of their corporate responsibility,” he said.
He also believes churches “need to redefine themselves and open their doors to young people who are displaced.” If not, the door is left open for those with negative intention to step in.
“It is unfortunate that gangsterism and drug use is glamorised. We need to counter that with public service announcements showcasing young people who have done well, even those who made errors and turned their lives around, to help change the mindset of young people.”
Pastor Clive Dottin agreed churches and religious groups should play a bigger role.
“Many of the young people are growing up in a godless environment and this is where the rubber hits the road,” he said.