Jamaica’s Ministry of Education and Youth has appealed to the public to help reduce gang influence on the youth and redirect their energies more positively. spoke on behalf of Portfolio Minister Fayval Williams during the recent
Richard Troupe, the Ministry’s Acting Director of Safety and Security in Schools Unit, made the appeal during an Anti-Gang Week Church Service at the Savanna-la-Mar Seventh-day Adventist Church in Westmoreland. Anti-Gang Week 2023 was observed from November 5-11 under the theme ‘Gang nuh Cool. Stay in school’.
Troupe emphasised the importance of providing an alternative path to thug life that routinely undermines the value of education as well as good citizenship in Jamaica.
“Ending violence or eliminating gangs from schools is a task for all of us. We all have vital roles to play as parents, caregivers, church, community leaders and mentors,” Troupe said.
He added that only through collective actions will Jamaica see a significant reduction in the number of gangs and related violent incidents in schools and society generally.
The recently published National Assessment of Perception of School Safety and Security 2023, done across 331 primary and secondary schools, revealed that approximately 62 per cent of students do not report knowledge of peers who are gang members.
“We can acknowledge that the majority of young people are not involved in violence or gangs,” Troupe added. “However, the relatively small number of young people who are, have a disproportionately large impact on the perception of their schools and communities.”
“Therefore, our continuing collective approach must be a wide-ranging focus on prevention, implementing appropriate responses to infractions, empowering our parents, partnerships with other agencies and providing support.”