Labour Minister, Stephenson King has called for urgent action to address this country’s social problems, including a breakdown in law and order.
The former Prime Minister was addressing the opening ceremony here on Monday of an International Labour Organisation (ILO) child labour workshop.
He told the conference that an October 2016 ILO rapid assessment report on child labour in Saint Lucia found that children and youth turn to local gang leaders as role models, after struggling to find positive role models in school and the community.
(Participants at ILO workshop opening)
King, who read excerpts of the ILO document, said for years he has personally analysed and assessed the deterioration in this country’s social fabric in which families are disintegrating, while others are simply dysfunctional.
“Parental guidance is withering away and seems to be a thing of the past while our young men resort to the block, blaming the system for failing them – a reflection of their behaviour and shortcomings,” the former Prime Minister asserted.
He observed that increasingly, there has been a break down in law and order.
King said there is a school system which, though focussed on the pursuit of academic excellence, has been struggling and accused of failing the youth in the design, ability and capacity to produce disciplined, competent, ethical and patriotic citizens enriched with spiritual and moral values.
King said those were key values for building a strong and dynamic society.
“This trend must be arrested and calls for serious social intervention through research, re-engineering and social action,” he declared.
King said Monday’s conference was a commendable initiative towards addressing one element of what he described as ‘this social malaise.’