July 26, 2008

YOUTH CRIME

Posted in Education, Guyana, Messages, Philosophy tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 7:21 am by randallbutisingh

Randall Butisingh – Newspaper Interview: Question 10 of 10.

YOUTH CRIME

Randall Butisingh was recently asked a number of questions by a newspaper feature writer. This was the tenth of ten questions with the answer. We will feature these questions and answers in ten Blog entries. This is therefore the last of these ten Blog entries.

Question: Today’s Guyana is seeing many young boys turning to crime. What is your advice to young boys?

Answer: It is interesting that both your first and last question to me deals with youth. In answering your first question on “What advice I had for young people?, I made the following statement:

“So it will hardly be doing any good just talking to the youth of today, as it is so difficult to get them to listen. As elders we also give them mixed messages as we do not practice what we preach. Another reason is, that in the majority of cases, they have been so badly taught from the beginning by parents, and later by a system that paid no regard to the real purpose of education which is, “to fit the child to live and to live with”. ‘To live with’ means: That he will be instructed with the knowledge and skills that will enable him to make a living. ‘To live with’ means: That he must possess the ability to relate socially in a way that will help to bring peace and harmony in his home and community. He must be courteous, kind, willing to listen to others, be a good friend and always willing to help in time of need.”

This statement embodies my answer to this question on crime by youth in Guyana. I no longer live in Guyana but I do read the news reports. I see that many of the young people have resorted to criminal activity, sometimes using guns and other arms to get what they want. Youth crime is worldwide, so Guyana is not unique. I believe that an idle lifestyle is being propagated by television, movies and videos as well as games, whereby youth become immersed in the negative aspects of life. Rather than being producers and creators they are just consumers for the latest shoes, cell phones or gadgets for music or videos. Audio seems to be their focus. Reading is minimal, and knowledge of history and culture ignored. There is little understanding of what real life is all about and we see grown men today “graduates” of the youth culture that is built around an unreal existence of idleness, bravado, crime, incarceration and death.

The youth quickly realize that they cannot get the expensive things they see advertised or worn or used by people with the means to do so. In this materialistic world it is quite easy to become a petty criminal if the opportunity arises. Moving to a life of crime becomes is perceived as an “easy life” without hard work and sacrifice to achieve personal goals. In Guyana, the excuse of many is that there are few jobs that pay well and that therefore youths revert to crime. Few jobs or poverty is nothing new as I grew up relatively poor myself. I believe that this is a “cop out”, and if youths looked toward education and self learning they would see and realize that they could eventually achieve whatever they wanted and become successful members of society.

There is so much to learn, and there is so much to do. Start by farming a little plot, and being more self-sufficient. I started to work at the age of 15. As a youth I farmed and fish and even made my own clothes, and eked out a living when my parents were on hard times. Some may say “Oh! That was then!” I can assure you that reality is still now for many Guyanese in the countryside, who have a respect for farming and self-sufficiency. Guyana has the land and food can be cheap. Get skills and an education and with that anyone can make a living in Guyana or anywhere else in the world.

Turning to crime is negative and only leads to self-destruction, as crime is unsustainable over time. A good education, honesty and integrity are lifelong investment in oneself. You do not have to go to a formal school to learn. Make a commitment to lifelong learning and self improvement and you will be a success.

Note:Answer to question 10 which was partly answered in question 1 by Randall Butisingh was suggested by Cyril Bryan, my technical partner ,and was endorsed in its entirety.

-Randall Butisingh

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