Government announces new initiative to deal with at-risk youth
PORT OF SPAIN (CMC):
THE TRINIDAD and Tobago government yesterday announced the establishment of a National Recovery Programme (NRP) as it appealed to young people to put down their guns and seek to improve their lives.
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley told a news conference that the recent acts of violence in the capital and its environs following the police killings of three men last weekend highlighted the need for various programmes to be implemented to help at-risk youth in various communities in the country.
“I have no doubt that some of the people involved [in the protests] were born at that time,” Rowley said, recalling that in 2004, the then government had sought to introduce such a pilot project n the Morvant Laventille area but was forced to shelve it after the opposition criticised it and he was labelled a racist.
He said that soon after coming into office, his administration initiated a programme that, to date, had resulted in TT$30 million being spent on getting young people before they are lost to the criminal elements.
“I am here to initiate or, should I say, re-initiate... a Community Recovery Programme aimed specifically at these problem areas which give birth and sustenance to the lawlessness, hurt, the anger, the discrimination, and all the negatives that are associated with what some people call glibly hotspots. Most people in those areas have the same ambition, require the same service, require peace and prosperity, so hotspots…is not how we will approach this; we will approach it as special areas requiring special attention.”