Dr. Vance Gilbert delivering the featured remarks at the launch ceremony of the Lodge Explorers Community Youth Club.

(Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister)

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — Medical Practitioner and resident of the Lodge Community, Dr. Vance Gilbert, has hailed the Ministry of National Security’s Explorers Community Youth Clubs initiative as an important step in tackling crime and violence.

Dr. Gilbert delivered the featured remarks at the launch of the Lodge Explorers Club at the Violet Petty Primary School. The event was held under the auspices of Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris.

“If you want to create an environment or if you want to create a society that is going to be productive, that is going to be crime free then this investment [Explorers Community Youth Clubs] is absolutely important, because what we put into these children is absolutely what we will get out,” said Dr. Gilbert.

The Lodge Explorers Community Youth Club is the sixth such group formed under the Ministry of National Security’s social intervention programme, which is part of the its broader crime prevention strategy geared towards strengthening character and promoting positive behaviour in young people. It joins the Cayon, Mol-Phil (Molineux and Phillip’s Village), Shadwell, St. Paul’s and St. Peter’s Explorers Clubs that positively engage hundreds of young people ages 5-19 years.

Dr. Gilbert stressed the importance of maintaining programmes such as the Explorers Community Youth Clubs, noting, “Sometimes we start programmes and we catch the children when they are young but by the time they are 15 or 16 we lose them. And so I want to challenge all of us today not to lose these children. Let’s take them all the way because when we lose them we can’t get them back.”

In attendance were Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Senator Akilah Byron-Nisbett; Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Osmond Petty; National Security Advisor, Major Stewart Saunders; International Social Skills Consultant and Crime Reduction Specialist, Dr. Neals Chitan; and parents and faculty of the Violet Petty Primary School.