Anna-Lisa Paul and Bobie-Lee Dixon
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Former national cricketer moulding youths unto the right path
Former national cricketer Zaheer Ali recently launched the Zaheer Ali Foundation and invited youngsters from the primary schools in Aranguez to a seminar on development and the way forward using sport as an alternative to crime. Ali, who was a former West Indies youth captain gave up the game in 2003 and entered the police service. He recently got his bachelor of law degree and is currently working in the Criminal Gang and Intelligence Unit of the T&T Police Service. After seeing numerous youths bowled out by crime and drugs during his stint in the TTPS, Ali decided to make a concerted effort to work with the youths of Aranguez in an effort to mentor them unto the right path.
In his contribution Ali said: “In light of the prevalence of youth violence and criminal behaviour in schools especially the recent murder of a teenager who was found buried, we decided to target the primary schools as a proactive approach before it becomes prevalent at that level but also to take a surgical and systematic approach to addressing the problem.” He said the group would try to transform the concept of "gang leaders being dubbed and referred to as community leaders" by having police officers, sports men/women/ doctors etc be the real community leaders in the society. He added it was critical and necessary for the foundation to partner with the different stakeholders in order to effectively achieve the overall objective of building youth awareness and by extension our social and human resource capital if T&T.
Other facilitators at the event were Cpl Fraser and PC Nicholas from the Criminal Gang and Intelligence Unit, who spoke about Gang and Gang related activities & Bullying with the objective discouraging the youths from getting involved. Dr Varma Deyalsingh a medical doctor, was also on hand and he spoke about the impact from the use of drugs in terms of the brain, mind and physical body. Highlight for the students was a motivational speech by Red Force player Rayad Emrit. His points of discussion surrounded choosing sport as an alternative to crime.