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Let’s resolve these issues

Let's resolve these issues

September 8, 2011

Dear Sir,

I refer to Clay Smith's column today where cricket umpire Bobby Smith commented on last Sunday's abandoned Premier match at Devonshire Recreation Club. “The social infrastructure in Bermuda has broken down. These guys are really taking the country by siege”.

I recall a Letter to the Editor [among many sent over a very considerable period] that I sent on February 19, 2003 (see below) in which I described a proposal to significantly resolve issues such as that which Mr. Smith so rightly laments apropos antisocial behaviour generally now radically affecting far too many of our young people. Tragically this has now taken our tiny island home by its very throat and will choke the life out of us all if we continue to do nothing but complain.

In view of the above I respectfully suggest that the “powers that be” most carefully reconsider the proposal that I have repeatedly mooted in the past, and whereby only one such attempt is now forwarded herewith. Incidentally, I have in recent years received supportive comments from two prominent politicians lamenting previously missed such opportunities, but to which I have responded, “it is even yet still not too late, if we have but the will”. As a consequence, and in response to a quite recent request to remind one of them of the details, I provide same herewith in the hope that “it is even yet still not too late!”

TED GAUNTLETT

Somerset

February 19, 2003

Dear Sir,

I refer to today's headline, “We have to deal with youth violence,” arising from Transport Minister Dr The Hon Ewart Brown's talk to Rotary yesterday, and wholeheartedly concur with what I understand to be the principle thrust of his address. To this end Dr. Brown will hopefully have been further updated on the very broadly based non-political input helpfully gained by his colleague the Minister of Youth & Sport last week at Government's National Youth Service Initiative Conference, when it was painfully obvious that gravely antisocial tendencies of too many of our young people have now reached an unacceptable level.

Regrettably these alienated youngsters would never consider voluntarily joining the many wholly positively motivated youth service organisations featured at the National Youth Service Initiative Forum, whose primary focus is character building for our young people. As a consequence, I respectfully suggest the following proposal as a means by which society in general could cause a constructive reorientation of many of those youngsters instead now hell bent on self-centred self-destruction, sadly also sufficient to drag all of us along with them. This proposal is as follows:

I most strongly support the creation of a Government sponsored compulsory Youth Service (e.g. “Bermudacorps”) with paid highly principled and trained youth leaders/mentors and involving both girls and boys, on the premise that character training for young people is at least as important as scholastic achievement. Under such a Youth Service every youngster would be obliged to satisfactorily complete a period of community service in the event that they were not already positively completing an alternative approved program (e.g. Girl Guides, Scouts, Sea Cadets etc.). This compulsory service would be based upon an “Outward Bound” type of format also including sail training whereby team building, life skills and positive problem solving would be principal ingredients. Furthermore, its leaders would be entrusted with a community assistance role similar to that of the Bermuda Regiment in the event of a National Emergency.

In particular I believe that such a compulsory youth service would automatically:

(a) Reduce racism by requiring all youngsters to constructively participate. (Unfortunately the Bermuda Regiment only conscripts/enlists a select few young men, and many are exempted for religious reasons. The “Bermudacorps” would conscript everyone not otherwise committed to some form of service.)

(b) Reduce drug dependency by creating a self disciplined positive outlook rather than a negative perspective among many youngsters, thus reducing their inclination to resort to drugs driven by both peer pressure as well as an inherent sense of worthlessness.

(c) Improve support for approved youth groups by those willing to volunteer rather than instead be conscripted into the “Bermudacorps” (however, the “Bermudacorps” would nevertheless have authority over anyone not satisfactorily conforming to other youth organisations' standards if they had joined simply to avoid the “Bermudacorps”).

(d) Improve work ethic, honesty and a “service above self” philosophy as a result of positive reorientation of youngsters' perspective on life, thus greatly improving the “value for money” enjoyment of the Bermuda Experience by our tourists.

(e) Reduce promiscuity, illegitimacy and advantage taken by the unscrupulous generally because each youngster would be trained to value others both before and as much as themselves.

(f) Reduce cycle theft, speeding, mugging, handbag snatching and foul language, etc, because those currently perceived 'rites of passage' would no longer be accepted by their peers as such.

(g) Reduce littering and improve attitude generally in relation to the environment because no one who values others before themselves would not similarly value and protect the environment.

In the event that we as a society can ever become willing to support such a premise, then I believe that comments from our leaders such as “I have scores to settle … accounts to draw even,” and “Don't you get it yet — we don't care what you people think,” and “Ignore this at your peril” will finally, thankfully, become a thing of the past.

TED GAUNTLETT

Somerset

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Published September 22, 2011 at 9:00 am (Updated September 22, 2011 at 9:48 am)

Let’s resolve these issues

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