The Acting Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment, John King (left) and Acting Permanent Secretary, Anthony Wiltshire unveil the Anti-Violence Adopt-A-Stop Bus Shelter in Haggatt Hall, St. Michael. (BGIS/S.Forde-Craigg)

The Ministry of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment is utilising bus shelters to spread the messages of anti-violence.

And, Acting Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment, John King, this morning, unveiled the first bus shelter near Sky Mall, Haggatt Hall, St. Michael, which is another phase of the Ministry’s Anti-Violence Campaign (AVC).

The Anti-Violence Adopt-A-Stop Bus Shelter in Haggatt Hall, St. Michael

This phase of the campaign involves the strategic placing of “in your face” end the violence now messages; using the Adopt-A-Stop (bus shelters) at strategic locations, such as Oistins, Speightstown, Six Roads and along Black Rock main road.  Additionally, there will be a number of benches displaying messages in places heavily traversed by pedestrians and vehicular traffic.

Minister King noted that the initiative is part of the “promised range of sensitisation programmes, targeted messages, psycho-educational training and social intervention programmes to effect change in behaviour leading to a reduction in violence”, which were announced during the launch of the AVC, on June 12, this year.

He pointed out: “The unveiling of these anti-violence messages is, therefore, a critical and timely response, as we seek to address the escalating prevalence of gun- related as well as other covert and overt instances of violence.”

Stressing that Government is committed to tackling and ultimately reducing the incidents of violence within the society, particularly among young people, Mr. King stated: “In the youth development arena, in particular, the Commonwealth Secretariat has noted that Barbados ranks the highest in the Caribbean and Central America according to the 2020 Youth Development Index….

“Nevertheless, we cannot rest on our laurels and must continue to strategise to mitigate against threats, such as violence in our society, if we want to continue on a positive development path.”

The Anti-Violence Adopt-A-Stop Bus Shelter in Haggatt Hall, St. Michael

The acting Minister of Youth and Community Empowerment urged the public to read; internalise and act on the anti-violence messages calling for an end to violence within society.  “Let us all make the choice to make this country one of the safest places that we can live, work and raise our children, by acting to end the violence now,” he implored.

Other initiatives of the AVC being rolled out this quarter are essay, poster and speech competitions; mobile advertising; billboards and a National Parenting Programme. The Ministry will also continue to work with its various partners, such as the Criminal Justice Research and Planning Unit; the Barbados Prison Service; non-governmental organisations; service providers and other ministries, to provide anti-violence messages aimed at reinforcing positive thinking and reducing violent thoughts.  Through the partnerships, it will seek to empower young people, families and communities by providing them with viable skills, opportunities for self-development and personal well-being.

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