Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment, Dwight Sutherland, delivering remarks to launch the Ministry’s Anti-Violence Campaign on the International Day of Peace while Principal Youth Officer John Hollingsworth listens. (C.Pitt/BGIS)

“If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”

Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment, Dwight Sutherland, emphasised this quote from Romans 12:18 during his remarks to acknowledge International Day of Peace.

International Day of Peace is celebrated worldwide every year on September 21, and, this year, under the theme: Shaping Peace Together, the Division of Youth Affairs took the opportunity to launch its Anti-Violence Campaign.

The campaign, according to Minister Sutherland, will not be a stand-alone effort by the Ministry. “We will continue to inculcate life skills exercises in all our programming with a focus on critical areas such as anger management, substance abuse prevention, conflict resolution skills, cessation of bullying, building teamwork and most importantly, community cohesion,” he stated.

The Youth Minister believes that children at any age can play an active role in promoting anti-violence behaviour.  He remarked: “It is often said, that the little children shall lead them. And I strongly believe that if we allow our children to be expressive with a view to change behaviours, with a view to allow parents and adults to see indeed that phrase, that the little child shall lead them, we can indeed be successful in reducing the level of violence that is plaguing this society.”

Noting that his Ministry is concerned about the level of violence plaguing Barbadian society, Mr. Sutherland stressed that its focus is on preventative measures to assist youth with refraining from violence. To this end, he said the Ministry will continue to work along with churches, civil society, the private sector, NGOs and youth groups to help reduce the incidence of violence among our young people.

“We do not need guns and bombs to bring peace, we need love and compassion,” the Minister affirmed with a quote from Mother Teresa, as he urged Barbadians to decry violence and to promote love and sharing within our communities. The Anti-Violence Campaign is also part of the division’s 50 Days of Activism for Youth, which commenced on Wednesday, August 12, and will conclude on Wednesday, September 30 – Caribbean Youth Day.

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