Recent acts of violence do not suggest that Barbados??? crime rate is up; neither do they reflect any new trends.

Minister of Home Affairs, Adriel Brathwaite, made this point as he spoke with media personnel after the opening ceremony of the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative???s Technical Working Group on Law Enforcement Matters at the Accra Beach Resort and Spa today.

He pointed to media reports, as being partly responsible for the views that crime in Barbados was up.

???The fear of crime is as devastating as the crime itself. No matter how I use statistics to show that we are in fact down in terms of reported crime, that [fact] is not highlighted. But let someone get stabbed in St. Lawrence Gap, that???s highlighted and indicative that crime is up in the country,??? Mr. Brathwaite charged.

While admitting that there were some problem areas, the Minister stressed that they were not new. Instead, he noted that there were areas which required continuous intervention to ensure that generations of individuals did not become involved in criminal activity.?????I am sure you can tick off the areas where we had problems with crime in this country, and the areas which we consider bad areas, they are not new,??? he said.

He added that Government, through various ministries, including the Ministry of Social Care, was seeking to address the issue. This is being done through various initiatives.?????When individuals get involved in crime we try to give them tools. If you go into the prison you will see what I mean, it is not just a police issue,??? he said.

Mr. Brathwaite lamented the fact that a significant number of young people in prison experienced challenges in the school system. But, he noted, that the problematic child was often sent to the back of the class at the secondary level, rather than given the assistance required.

???We have decided that we need to intervene more with youngsters who are having issues in the traditional school setting??? We have to ensure that we can address individual cases,??? Mr. Brathwaite said, stressing that there was a need to start the reform process from the bottom up.

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