Antigua looks at criminalising gangs to rid schools of violence


The Ministry of Social Transformation in Antigua and Barbuda has submitted six proposals to the government for its consideration as they look to rid gang activity and violence from the nation’s schools.

Government ministers examined the proposals during Wednesday’s cabinet meeting.

A note from the cabinet said the six proposals put forward:

  • Developing legislation that will make joining and functioning with a gang illegal.
  • Monitoring substance abuse by students, including alcohol, marijuana, and non-prescription drugs.
  • Strengthening community and civil society groups through training.
  • Provide support for children in conflict with the law, which would include the Boys Training School and a similar home for troubled girls.
  • Increasing the number of probation officers and truancy officers
  • Creating a national public relations programme to encourage acceptable behaviour among youth.

The Cabinet agreed to consult with a former soldier of the Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force, who has experience running a boys training program, to create a similar program for the state.

Information Minister Melford Nicholas noted that the legislative arsenal that will be needed to tackle juvenile crime are unlikely to be debated in Parliament before the general election, which is constitutionally due in March.

In the meantime, Nicholas said the government would utilise tools available to it to make schools safe for all students.

“There are a number of areas that we have to utilise in terms of the existing social services in the Ministry of Social Transformation, based in terms of what the Ministry of Education is doing and based in terms of what law enforcement is doing,” he stated.

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    • I have a problem with your statement or suggestion. Sometimes the problem is not necessarily the person, but the place and the people they are surrounded by. Some of these “foreigners” came here with good morals and got spoilt with bad company. If that’s the case, all you’ll be doing is to send away some only for others to be badly influenced by the same source. The better reasoning is to help people to change for the better, be reformed, be a better person.

    • @Mr. Byam, I agree with you once they are found to fall foul of the law deport them. We need to get very serious in decrease these crimes. It is getting out of hand. If our security forces are not trained to handle these types of crimes, sent them to get trained. We know we can’t eliminate these gangs’ crimes altogether but we can reduce them to some percentage. Where are the fathers of these young men or boys? A mother can do so much but needs the father to take more responsibility.

  1. The political parties are the first ones which should be considered #Criminal Gangs, their Members detained and questioned by International Crime fighting agencies, about all of the Cold Cases attached, to the Halls of Parliament. By doing this, the youths will definitely fall in line and become more involved and productive citizens.

    The Parliament is the biggest Criminal Gang/Enterprise in the Nation. They simply operate under #Immunity from prosecution(s) for their crimes and atrocities.

    The Church/Preachers is the next criminal gang using intimidation like manna to bamboozled and initiate people like PSYCHICS.

    Jumbee_Picknee aka Ras Smood
    De ‘ole Dutty Peg Foot Bastard – Vere C. Edwards

  2. This has been an issue for decades. I commend the Ministry of Social Transformation for finally addressing gangs in our society. Too many gangs have infested schools and latched onto our children.

  3. These youths need to to be locked up in a training school where they are taught a skill. They need tough discipline to change their ways. If you jail them in 1735 at this young age, what are they going to when released with no skills and education? Become career criminals.

  4. Reading some of these comments I got the impression that some Antiguans are of the opinion that the criminals that operates in the school plant are immigrants, and that they should be deported when caught. Ok, that’s fair, but what are the recommendations for the Antiguan criminals? Or am I to assume that Antiguan kids are God angels and they don’t do these things? People before you run your mouth and bad talk other nationals, check yourself and your own offsprings and see if the rotten apples aren’t in your own basket.

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