He started life in the fast lane ??? liming on the block, drugs and even theft.??As a child, Anthony looked up to his father, and so learned the ???block??? culture and all it entailed from a very early age.

Soon, he began giving trouble at home and in public ??? liming on the block with what he now terms as ???bad company???, fighting and taking away other people???s belongings.??

The one good thing Anthony had going for him was that he was smart, a trait that earned him a place at The St. Michael School.??But, unfortunately, his desire to live in the fast lane won out, and he continued to give even more serious trouble.

That trouble caught up with the young lad, earning him his first stint at the Government Industrial School (GIS) in 2010 for a six-week remand. He earned his second stint at the St. Philip institution in 2012, this time for three years, after being charged for theft.

???Being at the Government Industrial School makes you look at life a lot different??? For me I came to the realisation that crime doesn???t pay and at the end of the day, you can have all the help in the world; it comes down to you as the individual to decide that you want to change,??? Anthony declared.

His is one of the success stories coming out of the GIS, and Anthony benefited from the various programmes offered by the institution to reform those in its charge.

Anthony???s turning point came in 2011 when his father died, and his grandfather and stepfather passed away soon after. ???I told myself, Anthony, right now you are the only male figure in your family and you have to set the example for your three little sisters,??? he recalled.

During an interview with the Barbados Government Information Service, Anthony said he did not want his sisters repeating his mistakes, and decided that he wanted more out of life.

With this in mind, he sat five Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) exams while at the GIS, and passed them all. Now, he is going through the application process at the Barbados Community College to further his studies in the hospitality sector.

The young man boasts that there is still much he learned at the GIS outside of academics. ???I picked up various skills. I do landscaping; I was into tailoring; I can make my own pants. My experience was a tough one but I came out with various skills,??? he admitted.

However, while he gives credit to the staff at the GIS for his turn around in life, the young man said he also had to give himself credit, because ???at the end of the day it comes down to you???.

Anthony said his stay at the GIS was one he would not forget, particularly as it was hard on his family, who came to see him for 15-minute visits once every three weeks.

???When you see your mother come through the gate, and as [soon as] you sit down and start to talk, the staff working at the door say ???time up??? and you see the reaction on your mother???s face, and your mother sees the reaction on your face, it breaks you down. It is real hard on your family and also on you when you are incarcerated,??? he stated.

However, his brush with the law and experience at GIS did not go in vain. Not only did Anthony rediscover himself and gain five CXC passes, but he also discovered who his true friends were.

???My advice is to know your friends. Because I could go to school with you, come on the block with you, and I could smile up in your face??? We could go and do this, we could party, we could go and fight, we could go and rob, at the end of the day that does not mean that we are friends,??? he stressed.

Anthony warned other young people that there were individuals out there who used people, and smiled with them until they got what they wanted.?????Me and my friend, we went everywhere together and did everything together. But we got in trouble and when we got in the court and I heard my ex-friend talk, you would swear we were strangers and didn???t know each other,??? he recalled.

He urged young persons to behave properly and stay in school, because otherwise, crime will catch up with you eventually.


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