A new initiative dubbed ‘Hands in Gloves Not on Guns’, designed to steer troubled youth away from anti-social activities, including gun crime, is gathering momentum in Saint Lucia.
The programme has the backing of the Saint Lucia Boxing Association.
It seeks to enroll troubled youth in communities throughout Saint Lucia in boxing.
Saint Lucia Boxing Association President, David ‘Shakes’ Christopher told St Lucia Times that sports is a powerful tool to help rehabilitate errant individuals.
“You look at Trinidad, America, Guyana – some of the champions that come out in boxing especially, came from penal institutes,” Christopher observed.
He mentioned Mark Yaw of Guyana and Mike Tyson as being ‘troubled youths’ who got themselves into problems with the law.
“Boxing is the tool that rehabilitated these guys,” the Boxing Association President declared.
“Presently we have our model guy – Lazrick Montoute, out of the Boys’ Training Centre,” Christopher told St Lucia Times.
He explained that boxing has turned the youngster’s life around and made him disciplined.
He recalled that Montoute recently won silver medals at the Caribbean Development Championships and the Creole Championships, while the Boys’ Training Centre, which has a boxing club, won nine silver medals last year.
“That is why we are using the slogan ‘Hands in Gloves and Not on Guns’, because when when your hands are in gloves, you can’t hold the trigger of the gun,” the boxing official stated.
He said it is the intention of the boxing association to move around Saint Lucia to get as many young people as possible to channel their energy into sports.
“It does not have to be boxing. It can be football, it can be rugby – any sport, to make themselves better citizens and champions,” Christopher declared.
He recalled that there was a job fair on the compound of St Mary’s College last month, where over twenty youths signed up for the ‘Hands in Gloves Not on Guns’ initiative.
However Christopher lamented that his association’s boxing gym is unfinished and funds cannot be obtained to complete the facility.
He said scholarships are available for boxers with a good educational background to further their studies.
Christopher praised Tourism Minister and MP for Anse La Raye, Dominic Fedee, for supporting the ‘Hands in Gloves Not On Guns’ initiative and indicated that plans are being made to have a boxing gym set up in Anse la Raye.
“We are hoping that the powers that be work along with us like Dominic Fedee,” he told St Lucia Times.
Christopher also revealed that his association is seeking to involve inmates of the Bordelais Correctional Facility (BCF) in the ‘Hands in Gloves Not On Guns’ initiative.