Dr. Athill says children are not born with violent tendencies but learn violence from their environment, including the home


Quick fixes are not going to be the solution to the issue of youth and gang-related violence in Antigua and Barbuda, according to Dr. Cleon Athill.

Dr. Athill, a former school counselor, says that getting to the core of the problem is what is needed now – if the society is to come up with viable solutions.

She recalls that, some 15 to 20 years ago, she presented a paper on the topic of youth violence, and, since then, the problem has not gotten better but considerably worse.

Dr. Athill, who is also the United Progressive Party (UPP) Candidate for St. Paul, says that children are not born with violent tendencies; rather, they learn violence from their environment.

Unfortunately, she states, we live in a violent society, and many young people experience it at home and are forced to process it.

For young men, she says, this abuse is often internalized and they begin to see themselves as bad, believing that aggressive behaviour is their only choice.

And so, she says, it becomes a “before you do me, I will do you” type of situation.

According to Dr. Athill, the schools have an important role to play in the issue of youth violence, and should be offering options for young people to learn life skills.

The structure of these education institutions is also vital, the psychologist says, since many young people view schools as non-safe areas.

Athill says there are other influences that influence the behaviour of young people – including music, television, social media and even politics, which can, at times, be violent in nature.

Athill views these influences as “eruptions,” since young people are “barometers” who give us an idea of the health of the society.

If one wants to determine how the society is doing with respect to many issues, engage the young people, she advises.

Several proposals were recently made to the Cabinet to tackle the issue of gang-related violence among the Nation’s youth, with six recommendations being submitted by the Ministry of Social Transformation last Wednesday, November 30.

Among these is the development of appropriate legislation that will make joining and functioning with a gang illegal and closely monitoring the abuse of substances such as alcohol, marijuana and non- prescription drugs by students.

SOURCE: Real News

Advertise with the mоѕt vіѕіtеd nеwѕ ѕіtе іn Antigua!
We offer fully customizable and flexible digital marketing packages.
Contact us at [email protected]


  1. @ Cutie, Gaston and the Labour Party


  2. Wasn’t Dr. Athil the National Youth Director or Commission some time ago. Where were yhe ideas then to tackle this problem. And apart from the generalities where are the specific solutions.

    Look nice, sound nice, short on substance.

  3. Shouldn’t we try every possible fix? It would be helpful for the Newsroom to provide some background info on the people that they are quoting. E.g. is Dr. Athill a youth psychologist? a sociologist? a medical doctor? Not everyone actually knows. The paper that the good doctor put together in the past, was it the result of extensive surveys and investigations or an opinion based on studies done in other countries? Finally, why has the situation gotten worse? Was nothing done with previous recommendations? We definitely should make it illegal to be in a “gang”. But, would that alone change the mindset of those youth? Shouldn’t other social measures also be taken to redirect them towards good behaviour? Is anyone doing continuous follow-up studies? Could we get a yearly report from the relevant Ministry about the interventions that have been tried and the improvements that have been made? Actions are better than words…

    • Oh I see later down it was mentioned that she is a psychologist.
      Sounds rather defeatist though to just say that quick fixes won’t work, but offering up no specific alternatives…

    • @Quick fixes….no fixes,

      What defines, or constitutes a “gang?” Is a fraternity, sorority, a social club, Colors, hue, nationality, family, number of individuals?

      • Good question actually… Nothing wrong with a “gang” of young men out doing community service. Hopefully, they will include some mention of criminal activity in their definition…

        • @Quick Fixes…Jumbee_Picknee would like you know the following…

          Out of Chaos comes Order. The same system which create the chaotic situations is the same one reason, that’ll set policies, to mitigate the chaos.

          A…the purported “professionals” will not address the root causes, producing the increase in the violent behaviours which are sweeping the Nation. These causes are right under their noses.

          B…the purported “professionals” are we only interested, in playing the blame game.
          Even if, they criminalise certain behaviours by the youths(adults behave in similar ways too), ONLY the youths from particular classified socioeconomic groups will be targeted and made scapegoats, while ALL SOCIOECONOMIC Groups are involved in the. Organized Criminal Industry.
          Example, the Serians, Lebanese, Chinese, Caucasians, Hispanics will not be targeted like those from the Black/African Communities. The laws which are presently, on the books are applied in this manner.

          C…by criminalising the behaviors of the youths from certain socioeconomic backgrounds, they’re creating fodder for the judiciary, and actually destroying these communities/families even further.

          There are no “Quick fixes” to the centuries old problems of crime and criminality. This is due in part to habits and norms which builds society and culture.

          …habits, become Norms!
          …norms, become A Way Of Life!
          …a way of life, defines a People!
          …a People define a Culture
          …a culture creates, a Society.
          …said CUITURE will predicate
          …this CULTURE shall dictate
          …the directions, said society take
          …as, it leaves the SWASTIKA❌❌❌✝️✝️✝️☠️☠️☠️
          …and, its replica(s)
          …at life’s #CROSSROADS
          …as, TIME is left in its own wake
          …repeating itself, in cyclic motions
          …thus causing, all of the mayhem and confusion.

          Ras Smood aka Jumbee_Picknee
          de ‘ole Dutty Peg Foot Bastard

          Vere C. Edwards

  4. With no disrespect to Dr. Athill, I have a tough time trusting psychologists to come up with solutions at the moment with all the wild theories about gender fluidity etc. that some in other countries are pushing on kids these days. Two kids could experience similar situations, one learns to cope and thrive whilst the other turns to violence or dysfunctional living. The counselors and psychologists spend all their time speaking to those with poor coping strategies and conclude that nothing can be done. They ignore and even try to silence the ones suggesting better strategies that worked for them. Psychologists can provide good insight into the root causes of many problems. But, are they really best trusted to find solutions?

  5. if you do an analysis regarding the BauPanel deal, you will see that was also a big scandal. 32 acres of our land was to be transferred to this entity for 32% equity. What was the contribution of BauPanel to CHAPABAU? Remember the cedar valley deal also.

Comments are closed.