Go work the land!
FORMER MAGISTRATE AND SOCIAL ACTIVIST Keith Simmons has a revolutionary idea to take young people off the block, and it involves taking up Guyana’s land-lease offer.
Concerned about the amount of money it costs to accommodate a growing prison population, the Queen’s Counsel believes that much of the lawless behaviour associated with the youth starts on the ‘block’, and that Government has to come up with new ideas to beat the problem.
His solution would be for Government to lease 100 acres of land from the Georgetown government, and put those youngsters who leave school and end up on the block to work on that leased land in Guyana.
“These fellows have to be taken out of this environment,” Simmons said in an interview with the DAILY NATION.
“A few years ago, the government of Guyana offered to lease an acre of land to the Barbados Government at ten dollars.”
It was in October of 2007 that the then Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Affairs and Development Mia Mottley told Barbadians the Guyana government had said it would offer 15 acres of agricultural land on a long lease, for US$5 a day per acre over a 50-year period.
“We should take up that offer and set up a programme there,” said Simmons.
“Of course, we would have to also send trained professionals there in agriculture, social work and psychology, if necessary. They would teach these youngsters basic skills, so that when they come back they would be keen to make an honest living.
“When they come back here, they would be educated in values and two or three skills, depending on the programme that Government sets out.” (CG)