Fri 25th Sep 2009

Building a jail before a university is backward thinking

The socially conscious SVG Green Party is deeply saddened by the backward thinking policies, ignorance and self righteousness of the ULP leadership. They have built a thirty million dollar jail instead of a science university.

Last week, Ralph Gonsalves show-cased his jail in Belle Isle on national news. It is built on some of the best agricultural lands. He said it is a civilised institution where inmates can learn a skill for rehabilitation into society.

Under Gonsalves' watch 2001 - 2009, teenage black youths have been going to jail in larger numbers than any other period in our history. In 2009, more boys failed common entrance than in any other single year in our history. Only last week a fifteen year old male student was remanded in custody when he pleaded guilty to two charges of burglary.

Over the past nine years, the ULP has had three ministers of education, but has not delivered an innovative or creative approach to help our boys to stay out of trouble and jail. The ULP only focus on jail rehab skills. This is ridiculous and demeaning. The only way they deal with black youths is to throw them in jail. This ULP trend of thinking cannot and should not be accepted by our society.

Clearly the ULP's education revolution has failed when their priority for the young is to herd them in to jail, rather than give them the precious opportunity of a lifetime of wealth which comes with a university education. If there was compassion in the ULP government then all children in SVG could look forward to a happy future. Unfortunately though, many youths can only look forward to pacing up and down in a cell, as they are denied a proper education.

So, the ULP's next election campaign has been unveiled: vote for us and we will guarantee that poor children will never be homeless - Belle Isle. This is obviously an extension of their low-income housing policy. We all know that it is the children of the poor who will perish in this jail and future jails. Poor families expect more and deserve more.

The ULP say they will rehabilitate children back in to society. This may sound crazy, but why don't we just keep them in society in the first place. From childhood, why don't we give them proper preschool education, then proper primary education, then proper secondary education, then a free university education in SVG, then give them marketable skills and then provide a strong a economy so they can get jobs. Miss out jails altogether and rather than perishing in jail, poor children grow up to be rich adults! Do children not deserve this?

The stupidity of the ULP thinking means we will only get more and more jails and a society rife with violent crime.

A Green government will build a science university. We will fully utilise our indigenous resources to create employment opportunities and revenue from industries, not from criminal fines and overtaxing the people. SVG's Treasury should not rely on the Serious Offences Magistrates Court.

We see the youth as tomorrow's future and we have a civic responsibility to allow them the opportunity of top-quality education from preschool to university. A Green government will create an environment in which the sky is children's limit - not Belle Isle jail!

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