"Responsible men and women should mentor confused youths"June 26th, 2011
Grenada is full of too many armchair moralists – those who condemn youths without demonstrating an active interest in empowering and educating them, writes Craig Dixon, a 23-year-old Jamaican Commonwealth Correspondent living in Grenada.
The rampant decadence of youth is Grenada’s most visible secret. Young people are entangled in a widening web of despair, depravity and disorder.
Of all the revelations surrounding this statement of fact, the most shocking is that everyone knows what is happening, yet it appears no one knows, because no one is doing or saying anything to radically alter the course of this ill-advised generation.
A considerable number of Grenadian youth have set up ‘romping shops’. The songs they listen to are rancid and dehumanizing, whiffs of cigarette and marijuana smoke wander through the streets like stratus in the sky.
Carib lager bottles shatter like dreams on the rocks behind Creole Shack, gangs are spreading faster than tragic news. Fifteen year old drunks stagger up Melville Street on Friday nights, intoxicated and confused. And the nation is silent!
Some school walls have become obelisks for gang-inspired hieroglyphs and graffiti. Levels of truancy are high, cigarette lighters are as plenty as pen and pencils, some male students wear earrings more consistently than neckties. And the nation is silent!
For hundreds of youth, ends never meet. Dreams have been deferred or derailed. Untold numbers have given up hope. And yet the nation is silent!
What is the meaning of this silence about the state of youth affairs in Grenada? Where are the rational and instructive voices of civil society? Why is the private sector so ‘private’ in these matters? What are the plans of the government and opposition for youth? Where are the youth activists and protagonists? Where is the leadership amidst this moral and social disintegration?
Every citizen has a fundamental duty as seen in chapter III – part IV, of the constitution “to participate to the fullest extent…in the…social life of the state in such manner as to further the national interest and to foster national unity”.
It is not a choice we have, but an obligation that is firmly chiselled in constitutional (and natural) law, to stand up and respond to the needs of the young bearers of Grenada’s future. Have you not heard Dante’s admonition, that ‘the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crises maintain their neutrality’?
This is an indictment of armchair moralists – of those who condemn youth without demonstrating an active interest in empowering and educating them. We need ardent and results-oriented activists who are committed to research, analysis and action. All loquacious and myopic detractors should keep quite.
The fact that youth are in dire straits, is not a sign that this generation is lost, that we are without hope, as pessimists and cynics would like to think. Rather, our shortcomings tell the story of a generation that has been deprived of purpose by its antecedents and is crying out for help.
Our misdemeanours are not to be taken as signs that we are too far gone to change, but rather as our way of communicating our frustration with the agents of socialization in our milieu. Young people want to be positive change agents. We want to be engaged. The time to act is now!
The time for responsible men and women to begin mentoring confused youth is now. The time for churches and civil society groups to create programmes and opportunities for youth is now.
The time for the private sector to uplift youth through employment programmes is now. The time for the young Grenadians to create an active National Youth Council to uphold and protect their rights is now!
Craig Dixon is a youth activist and intern with the Ministry of Social Development, Grenada.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit:http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/