Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment, Dwight Sutherland, encouraged families, corporate society, non-governmental organisations, and especially the youth to join in the campaign to stop the violence in communities. (Ministry of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment)

The Ministry of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment launched its Anti-Violence Campaign last Saturday evening at the Wildey Gymnasium, under the theme End De Violence Now.

During the virtual launch, Minister Dwight Sutherland made the call to “end de violence now”, as he encouraged families, corporate society, non-governmental organisations, and especially the youth to join in the campaign to stop the violence in communities, which is “threatening our social fabric”.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I invite you to join hands with … my Ministry as we work together to re-create a safe, enriching and productive space, now and for future generations….

“I challenge you to get on board and be a part of the positive change taking place in Barbados; the rallying call is to end violence now… [and] make Barbados the best place for young people to live, work, do business and raise a family. Ladies and gentlemen, corporate Barbados, get on board and stay on board,” Minister Sutherland urged.

He also pointed out that the Anti-Violence Campaign was not only about rallying society to end the violence, but it was also about solving the problems which lead to deviant behaviour, which in turn leads to crime and violence.

Minister Sutherland stressed that in order for the campaign to be successful, the messages and programmes created must reach their intended audience. 

“To that end, the Anti-Violence Campaign will utilise five key performance platforms. These are: Broadcasting Media; Digital Media; Print Media; School Programmes and Community Anti-violence Social Intervention Programme.

“The five platforms will be rolled out independently at various periods over the financial year 2021 – 2022, and the strategy is to have each programme build on and reinforce the previous programme and will be carried out over the course of a year,” he stated.

Last year, the Division of Youth Affairs’ Anti-Violence Campaign Competition was held, and during the presentation of awards to winners of the competition, it was stated that the winning creative, visual and performing arts pieces, which advocated for youth to stop the violence, would be utilised in the Ministry’s anti-violence campaign.

At Saturday’s launch, winner of the performing arts competition, Shontae Alleyne-Clarke, performed her winning song “Stop the Violence”. 

Other performances included a spoken word piece by former Barbados YouthAdvance Corps cadet, Devon St. Hill, and a hip-hop song by Romario Jemmott entitled “It Makes No Sense”, which was written by Youth Commissioner Hillary Austin. Mikey Mercer and Edwin Yearwood also performed, as well as Tarique Griffith, who sang a remake of John King’s song “How Many More”.

There were also video presentations from Barbadian athletes, youth advocates, Winston Farrell and six-year-old Ellerton Primary School student, Trevon Forde-Leacock, who encouraged society to stop all acts of violence. 

In his message, he urged “please, please, just make it stop”, and advised persons when they are “not fine” and want to “act out”, to go lie down and “calm down”. 

sheena.forde-craigg@barbados.gov.bb

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