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Statement by Ministry of People Empowerment & Elder Affairs on Increasing Violence

The Ministry of People Empowerment & Elder Affairs registers its dismay at the prevailing spate of violence in the society as Government designates February 2 and 3, 2019 a Weekend of Prayer. Concern heightens as violent incidents during the first month of 2019 reach record levels and intimidate even the strongest among us.

This new level of violence, however, cannot be viewed in isolation, but is a reflection of social and economic realities. It is linked, for instance, to gangs and the drug trade – two illicit activities that lure our vulnerable young men and women who are faced with a sense of disenchantment and alienation, and being barred from a stake in this country’s future.

This is our society. We must, therefore, own our part in its ills, as well as its fortunes, and our collective responsibility for our youth and succeeding generations. This Ministry recognises that we can no longer treat only the symptoms but must address the root social determinants which result in violent gun crimes and homicide.

Violence in society goes beyond the police concern with far-reaching social and economic implications. It is, for example, linked to public health and puts pressure on already scarce resources. It traumatises families and friends and causes stress, anxiety, depression and additional financial burdens.

It sends the wrong messages to the tourism industry and our other productive sectors. Sadly, it particularly affects our young men in what should be their most productive years. The traditional village no longer exists to raise the child and our children are creating their own dysfunctional villages.

The Minister of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs, Cynthia Forde, expresses her gratitude to personnel of the crime-fighting agencies who continue to deploy strategies to safeguard communities, as people have the right to feel safe.  As the Minister also responsible for Ecclesiastical Affairs, she is calling on all faith-based leaders, during the Weekend of Prayer to lead us back to our basics and the principles of love and mutual respect.

Ministry of People Empowerment & Elder Affairs

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