“Teen Times” re-submitted its 2013 report on youth delinquency to the Ministry of Justice.
PHILIPSBURG--The writers of the youth publication Teen Times on Monday welcomed the initiative by Minister of Justice Anna Richardson to host a national youth delinquency symposium and have re-submitted its 2013 report on the same subject as its contribution to the symposium.
Coordinator of Teen Times Nichele Smith-Abreu stated that the government was very courteous in inviting Teen Times to be part of the symposium, but the schedule time of the symposium conflicts with school hours making it challenging for its members to participate.
“We appreciate that the Minister ensured that young people are heard in discussing such a vital subject. In 2013 we submitted a five-page report to government on Youth Delinquency, with recommendations but we don’t know if anything was ever done with that report,” Smith-Abreu said.
“There are many factors that contribute to youth delinquency. The most concerning factor is the socio-economic factor. If this is not addressed and improved, nothing else that we do as a country will matter. Poverty or challenging economic situations are reoccurring factors in juvenile delinquency that is progressively getting worse in St. Maarten.
“Youth living in poverty are pressured to survive in tough circumstances on an island that lacks resources such as job opportunities, social programs, financial support and proper mental health services. The lack of resources impedes these youth from becoming successful in a society that favours those with money. Those without money are more likely lead down a path of crime as their parents are forced to choose between quality time with them and making ends meet,” she said.
Smith-Abreu added that the effects of delinquency are far-reaching and they, therefore, affect the community, victims of the delinquent, the society as a whole, and even the delinquents themselves. “It is therefore vital that this issue is addressed with a view of reducing the rates of offense and re-offense by improving society’s shortcomings in terms of programs, cost of living and education.”