Justice Minister and St. Dominic students discuss alcohol and drug use, peer pressure

Justice Minister and St. Dominic students  discuss alcohol and drug use, peer pressure

The enthusiasm of the students at St. Dominic High School was infectious, Justice Minister Anna Richardson (right) said.

SOUTH REWARD--Minister of Justice Anna Richardson recently visited St. Dominic High School at the invitation of the school administration and discussed a range of important topics with pupils of the 3rd form. This was an inspiring and educational experience for both the students and herself, Minister Richardson said.

During the interactive session, the minister addressed key themes such as perseverance, standing up against peer pressure, making thoughtful choices, and the significance of demonstrating good behavior, including respect for both adults and peers.

A central focus of the dialogue was the recent Jouvert Jump-Up. Minister Richardson acknowledged the concerns raised by the St. Maarten Police Force KPSM regarding the alarming number of youth who were observed to be under the influence of substances during the event. The minister invited the students to share their insights on the reasons behind the increasing prevalence of drug and alcohol use, as well as risky behaviors such as early sexual activity. This led to a thought-provoking exchange of opinions.

Minister Richardson then revealed that the Ministry of Justice is actively working on the development of an event policy aimed at ensuring well-structured and safe events within the community. This policy seeks to incorporate safety measures from the initial application phase and will include provisions to prevent underage youth from participating in events with adult themes, as mandated by existing laws.

Recognizing the importance of youth perspectives in shaping a safer environment, Minister Richardson presented the students with an engaging assignment. She challenged them to collaboratively prepare a presentation outlining suggestions for fostering a secure and supportive atmosphere for the youth of St. Maarten. The goal is to counter the pressures and temptations that may lead to detrimental choices, both immediately and in the future. The Minister has granted the students a three-month timeline to craft their presentation.

Minister Richardson expressed her enthusiasm to return in three months’ time to witness the creative solutions the students propose to address the challenges faced by their peers. By actively involving the young generation in the formulation of strategies, the Ministry of Justice aims to curb unhealthy teen phenomena and promote positive choices among St. Maarten’s youth.

“I extend my heartfelt appreciation to Teacher Susan Meijnaar and Principal Esmeralda Sutton for the gracious invitation that allowed me to engage with the students,” Minister Richardson said. “The experience was nothing short of inspiring, and I am genuinely excited about the prospect of returning within a few short months. The enthusiasm of the students was infectious, and I am eager to continue our meaningful interactions."

The Daily Herald

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