Acting Attorney-General, Michael Lashley (FP)??

Avoiding the pitfalls associated with peer pressure and other negative influences was the message that was forcefully conveyed to the students of Reynold Weekes Primary and St. Martins Mangrove as they attended the first session of the 4th annual 11+ Programme, entitled ???In the Winners Circle: Making the Right Choice!‘ today at the Six Roads, Church of Christ, Marchfield, St. Philip.

Aimed at pupils who recently completed the Common Entrance Examination, the workshop sought to sensitise children on how to deal with major challenges they face as they make the transition from primary to secondary school.

Co-ordinator of the programme, Magistrate Barbara Cooke-Alleyne, told those gathered that as a Magistrate in the Juvenile Court, she was concerned about the number of young people passing through the court system who had made "bad choices" as a result of negative peer pressure or low self- esteem.

Thus, she felt compelled to "start a programme targetting youngsters that would aid in self-esteem building.

"It is about making the right choice and most importantly it is about respect for self and authority.?? Once you believe in yourself, then it doesn’t matter where you go to school but what you do when you get there," she stressed.

Acting Attorney-General, Michael Lashley, who also spoke at the workshop, said he too was "disturbed" over the number of youngsters today who chose a life of crime and drugs.?? He told the students that as they navigated their way from primary to secondary school and throughout their lives, they must make a conscience effort to associate themselves with a positive crowd.

"I urge you to put your best foot forward and choose your friends wisely.?? Remember, it’s not where you go to school but your commitment and determination to make a change in society.?? Respect authority and symbols of authority and most importantly believe in yourself.?? Do not disregard the significance of education and do not allow anyone to deter you from your dreams," implored the Minister.

Meanwhile, Director of the National Task Force on Crime Prevention (NTFCP), Cheryl Willoughby cautioned the children against engaging in "hurtful and hateful" acts like bullying.?? She said this was a matter that needed to be taken much more seriously by Principals, teachers and parents.

"Our young people are being subjected to these kinds of disgraceful acts and we must desist from this type of behaviour," she stressed.

Several experts, including members of the Royal Barbados Police Force, the Barbados Family Planning Association and the NTFCP were on hand to conduct interactive sessions that included: the Transition Process; Bullying/Conflict Resolution/Peer Pressure; Wandering; Substance Abuse; Your Body and You and Self Esteem.

Students were also treated to a presentation by Charlie the Crime Stopper and Gospel Artist, Sirrah who sang a song entitled: "Get Away" penned by Larkan Thomas of the St. Michael School.


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