Basseterre, St. Kitts, June 29, 2023 (SKNIS): The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis continues to establish programmes to ensure that boys and young men in the Federation are included and recognized for their accomplishments.
“One of the things we are looking at to deal with the issue of boys and young men – because boys are seemingly somewhat left behind – is to bring into the ministry a specialist expert who would be dealing just with boys and men issues, young men especially,” said Prime Minister, the Honourable Dr. Terrance Drew, during the first-ever Boys of Excellence Awards Ceremony held at the Solid Waste Management Corporation Conference Room on June 29, 2023. “We are doing that because we recognize that our boys are being left behind and so that is why we said that this would be a staple event where we would have our young men, our boys being recognized every single year at events like these.”
Prime Minister Dr. Drew said that in addition to ensuring boys and young men are included, the government will also look to create inspiring and appropriate spaces for them to engage and make meaningful contributions to society.
“One of the things that we want to do is to make sure that there is a space where every boy is being accounted for. There is no boy in any community who should not be accounted for,” said Dr. Drew. “We need to know if he is going to Sunday school or to some religious service for his moral groundings; we need to know if he is part of any social club within the community and we need to know if he is going to school regularly and paying attention in class. We need to know who his friends are and what he does after school. This is how we have to map the lives of our young boys and children in general. If we don’t do things like that, we will lose them along the way,” Dr. Drew added.
The prime minister recalled the spike in violence in the St. Peter’s area in the late 90s to early 2000s. He added that a decision was made to start the Eagle Boys Club to encourage boys and young men to join and be disciplined individuals in society. Dr. Drew also recalled visiting all the schools in St. Kitts to obtain the names of all the boys who lived in the community, after which the members of the Eagle Boys Club went from house to house knocking on doors accounting for every boy.
Dr. Drew said once each boy was accounted for, they were required to join the club or some other club or any sports club and they were tracked over time. He said that within a year and a half, the gang culture in St. Peter’s shifted to a culture where boys were into sports, clubs and educational activities to name a few.
Prime Minister Dr. Drew noted that this is an initiative that the government is hoping to replicate on a national level because it is something that worked then, can work now, and going forward.
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