A response to Cabinet’s wish to send troubled youth to National Cadet Corps.


7. The Cabinet is considering giving Magistrates and Judges the authority to assign troubled male youth, younger than 18 years, to the National Cadet Corps. The legislation is being drafted for presentation to the Parliament. The Cabinet noted that there are overwhelmingly more students that abide by the rules and do not engage in fights. Troubled youth can be very disruptive, and Cabinet wishes to provide alternatives to removing them from situations where they cause serious challenges.


My response is to say number 7

ON CABINET of Thursday 14 September 20023 should at this time be “NO”.


Let me break it out scientifically for politicians. At this time granting magistrates and judges the power to commit juveniles to the national cadet Corp invokes the labeling theory, not a good thing.


This label the child/juvenile as a deviant sentenced to time in the Cadet Corp. Not only is the child singled out and convicted in a way, but Cadet Corp would now be labeled or seen as a place where deviants go, other interested children may now not want to freely attend the Cadet Corps from fear of being labeled as one of those deviants/criminal children.


So, before moving to this stage, let us implement something that does not single out/label a child as a deviant/criminal but do something that is general to protect all children, including those who we actually do want to single out but knows it may worsen that child’s behavior because that child may accept the label that was placed on him as a deviant or criminal child from his sentencing to be committed into a program in which he or she must specifically attend against his/her wishes.


Labeling theory actually does explain some criminal behaviors, folks do accept their labels too many times and becomes the deviant and criminal they were erroneously labeled as. Everyone has witnessed this.


My solution is to get a program that all students participate in that teaches the same things to them that we frankly want all children to learn, including those we may consider to be in need of such vital lessons and in our mind considers to be deviants.


This program must be done first before putting children into the criminal justice system. Before giving them a “criminal record”, or “reputation”. We may not consider a judge ordering a child into Cadet Corps a criminal record, but it is a criminal record according to the labeling theory and just commonsense. This could lead to more social problems.


So, we should provide alternate methods to do what we need to do. We must understand children are intelligent enough to participate in community building and in their own future.


Having community type police officers, who are assigned as visiting teachers to primary and secondary school is a better tool to teach students and not single out youths when such could be avoided, giving them that label as “deviants” or “criminals”.


As mentioned in my previous articles, officers can dress in their ceremonial uniform, which is less threatening and intimidating to students, and teach a class about how to protect your community, how to stay safe, the importance of having a good moral character, police science, criminology, victimology etcetera. This will instill character in many students substantially decreasing the amount that may end up in the criminal justice system, if any.


Doesn’t this remind you of the sex education teacher who comes to your school once a week back in 1995, for me at Bolans Primary, I think it was on Fridays, to talk about Sex, and Sexual diseases etcetera. Not singling out those students who were having sex, I must say I wasn’t, wasn’t even thinking about sex at that age.


That was a brilliant idea who came up with that. It helped. I actually wished they thought us how to find a wife too, I am so single, hating it ha ha ha. I will be in Antigua to find a wife in a few weeks, call it a birthday gift to myself ha ha ha ha (a little jokey joke, as Martin Lawrence use to say). But serious on finding my wife part ha ha ha ha.


Anyway, back to the topic, officers teaching this course in primary and secondary schools serves numerous purposes. It allows officers to be on premises in a non-threatening manner to students; students and officers have access to each other, to learn about each other; student writing about general issues in the communities which includes safety and what they would like to see officers do in their communities can be gathered and used (because youths are people too and their points of view matters, our youth matters).


Officers being on campus for 30 minutes a day to teach a different class, each day of the week or whatever schedule you may want to use acts as deterrence for outside threats and positively impacts behaviors on school grounds.


I do not think making the Cadet Corp be placed in this false light as a place where deviants and criminals are sent is good for its reputation, causing it to be disparaged and shunned. But most importantly, singling out children for this punishment, as it will be looked at as punishment, a conviction, places a label of deviant and criminal to children that I am confident would have other social problems including rise in crimes and victimization.


My vote is to have a general program that allows proper, professional and kind police officers and even military members to teaching in primary and secondary schools in ceremonial/dressed uniforms, who are community officers, educated enough, to teach guidance, criminology, policing, moral character importance, protecting one’s community and family, etcetera which would encourage and build character into students, including those we vitally need to save and giving them a chance in saving their own life without the label and stigma they can never remove after it is placed on them.


All we need to do is debate on the subject matter and what information can be used by officers in policing giving by students in their essays that was part of this program.


I call once again upon these politicians to have experts guide them, experts like criminologist, victimologist, psychologist, and other social science expert before they do this nonsense like this and make folks thinks they are idiots. I do not think they are idiots, but they just hate listening to experts which causes these experts to migrate to St. Kitts, Canada, and US.


Again, I have offered my expertise in this area, the politicians all know who I am and have access to me, well some no longer but others still.


You should not go to the extreme until you do the minor things that actually has more benefits and is more likely to work than the extremes they constantly mention.


Just use commonsense once but the problem is, communities can be so focused on party that they cannot truly see that they are not really supported or loved or in the hands of competent leaders in some areas, like this one. I am not saying this to get into any politics but to express this fact.


My recommendation employs differential association, labeling, and anomie theories, to name a few to come up with this pragmatic recommendation to better the lives of our youths and our neighborhoods.


Listen, for once. Why is it that every recommendation pertaining to children, policing and law in Antigua and Barbuda is usually extreme, outrageous and wrong? Maybe the government need to ask experts to figure this out too.


Again, this is just me in my way of helping. Remember that teacher who is harder on the students that she believes in and know is capable of more? I guess that is me.


Antigua and Barbuda is capable of so much more if folks start to accept and act as if they do.

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  1. I disagree completely! The “sentence” could be kept secret with penalties for revealing it. I being to a group that made this suggestion a few months ago. It seems that concerned citizens across the nation consider this one good solution that’s better than criminalizing youth. Clearly, many of us feel that parental guidance is falling short, due to several factors including single parents too busy working to support the family and the absence of male role models and discipline. The schools are struggling enough with their primary roles.

  2. You can not keep a enrolled in Cadet Corp or unnecessary incarceration private or the public from observing the kid that did so and so is now doing so and so after he committed so and so. Antigua and Barbuda are small islands.

    This post is not saying I do not agree with sentencing when it is appropriate but there are time that is so not the solution and may result in more harms to individuals and community.

    That is when my above recommendation is applicable.

    There are students fighting with deadly weapons, causing serious injuries to others, they MAY need to go through the full criminal justice system. But would it be justified when there was minor things we could have done to decrease this opportunity to commit that act and conditioned better behavior?

    I think a parents and society should be at least partially liable for even the intentional acts of children when parents and society did not do at least the minor things to aid the youth’s ability to make proper decision and understand consequences.

    Only when you took all reasonable and prudent steps to help the children to be able to make proper decisions and appreciate the consequences their decision can result to are liability, and blame can be removed from such parents and society.

    My program would decrease opportunities and condition those to continue to behave in a respectful, and productive manner securing their future.

    Crimes and deviance occurs for many reasons. Solutions can be many. But some solutions may have numerous positive impacts while others only solve a single problem.

  3. You may not be able to keep the fact that someone is enrolled, but no one needs to know why. Persons accused of certain sex related crimes cannot be exposed in any public media and they are not on pain of prosecution. The same can be applied here. Are you making a simple solution seriously complex?

  4. What a load of codswallop, the author of the article is governed by emotions and should not be taken seriously. It is individuals with Liberal views who have caused many youths in Antigua to have gone astray.
    What I would like see happening is the return of hanging, too many youths feel they are invincible because the law is too soft. The government and law makers need to take a firm stance against juvenile delinquency with clear boundaries and consequences. What is been suggested by the author should be placed in the waste paper basket.

    In addition, I am not in agreement with the cardet corps movement, as it will be a waste of time and tax payers money.

    ALP should take a look at the UAE model for dealing with juvenile delinquency and apply it in Antigua. There’s no doubt the youths would soon see the error of their ways.

  5. Who is advocating for the VICTIMS, of these crimes or crimes in general.
    Correct me, if I’m wrong, misread any part of this or any other article(s), put forth by whomever, to deal with these #YOUNG THUGS who for the most part know exactly what they’re doing from as early, as probably 7years old, yet were never dealt with in any way to deter them from taking these paths to become criminals.
    I read of, “single parent households(mother or father only). I hear talk of all sorts of reasons why these youths have become criminals, and while some of them are VALID, the fact of the matter is, many of those same reasons existed decades ago in Antigua. There were single parents, there was poverty, there was CLASSISM/RACISM, there was peer pressure.
    Yes, I know, that times have changed, cultures have morphed into all sorts of things(the good, the bad, the ugly), yet, not ALL who are emersed in these new cultural norms allow their habits to lead them to be criminals.

    Again, where are the VICTIMS ADVOCATES. They too have being terrorized, traumatized etc. They too need VOICES speaking up on their behalf.
    As one commenter said, we need to send a clear message to these young perps who in many ways are emulating the behaviours of seasoned criminals who are not being dealt with in proper ways as well, so, the vicious cycle continues.

    CRIME PAYS, and even a five year old who steals a candy and keep getting away with it is aware of some wrongdoing, because just like ALL OTHER CRIMINALS from that age until death, NO CRIMINAL wants what they did to others to be done to them. FULLSTOP.

    I know, that there are no easy solutions to crimes but VICTIMS need help too.
    Our system of Governance supports CRIMES, in more ways than one. For the most part, it’s guided be the mantra OUT OF CHAOS COMES ORDER.
    The same system which set policies, or lack of which produces CRIMINALS, is the same system which then have to turn around and set policies to deal with the CRIMINALS which they created.
    A clear example is the LYING, THIEVING POLITICIANS who does anything to WIN and anything, to keep winning.

    Jumbee Picknee aka Ras Smood
    De ‘ole Dutty Peg 🦶🏿Garrat_Bastard

    Vere C. Edwards.


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