RISE St. Lucia Inc hosted a crime intervention programme for Grade Six students of four primary schools Tuesday amid concerns over a surge in violent crime resulting in 29 homicides for the year.
In the latest flare-up of gun violence, a man identified as ‘Peter Pan’ succumbed to gunshot wounds Tuesday around 8:00 am at La Clery.
RISE St. Lucia Inc. Chairman Dr. Venus Cherry lamented that reports of shootings are daily on the news.
“There’s conflict. There’s violence, whether between ordinary citizens, whether between citizens and the police, and we all have our opinions and we all have our say as to what we think went down. Most times we don’t know,” Cherry told reporters.
But he observed that if everyone, including citizens and the police, practices conflict resolution and peace, this may be a better society.
Cherry mentioned the latest fatal shooting at La Clery and questioned when the violence would stop.
“Sometimes it’s the most trivial issues that someone is losing his life over and sometimes innocent people lose their lives,” the RISE Chairman expressed.
He said he hoped that the crime intervention and conflict resolution initiative, which has reached thirty schools islandwide, would continue.
But Cherry observed that RISE St Lucia Directors had been ‘working on fumes’, paying expenses out of their pockets.
As a result, he welcomed an announcement by Minister for Equity, Social Justice, and Empowerment Joachim Henry of $15,000 grant assistance.
Nevertheless, Cherry indicated that RISE would continue regardless because it was important that young people whom criminals want to groom to commit a crime get a different viewpoint.
He indicated that it was important for the young people to hear from people from the ghetto who have been into prison and have been on the other side of the law.
At the same time, Cherry asserted that it was important for the youngsters to also hear from the police.
“The perception that all police are bad and police are just out to kill people is not correct either and we need the young people to hear from them. They can’t hear it from me because they will say ‘Sir are you a police officer ? Do you know what is taking place?’ So it is good that the police force is taking that proactive approach as well because sometimes all we hear is they respond after the crime is committed. We are trying to get to the point where the crime is not committed where people can resolve disputes in a positive manner because we all have conflicts,” Cherry told reporters.
“People think that conflict is all bad, no, conflict can teach you many different things and make you a better person. We are teaching kids that and hopefully they can take it home because it is easier to reach them than to try to go to every home in the community,” he stated.
And Cherry revealed that there had been an overwhelming response to the crime intervention initiative from school principals who want the programme at their learning institutions.
RISE has embarked upon the ‘ Way To Happiness’ conflict resolution programme in collaboration with Freewinds.
Headline photo: Students at the crime intervention session at the Evangelical Church on Waterworks Road, Castries.