Laville issues “wake up” call

POSTED: 03/6/12 2:38 PM

GREAT BAY – United People’s (UP) Party faction leader Romain Laville has called for the nation to “wake up” and deal with the challenges being encountered by the youth, before the country becomes even more unsafe. He made the comment in passing during Monday’s Central Committee meeting on the draft 2012 budget and then elaborated in an interview.

Laville’s anxiety over the situation stems from figures for unemployment and the makeup of the prison population that were presented to MPs on Monday. Those figures show that young people between 16 and 24 represent 42.78 percent of the people registered as unemployed and that 41 percent of the current prisoners at Point Blanche prison are between 16 and 24.

“The community has to care and the social fiber must be fixed. We must turn this country around and we have to start with our schools and our immigration problem. We see already that parents are not spending with their kids as they work two and three jobs to make ends meet,” Laville said.

The UP faction leader believes the solutions to the problems include Labor Minister Cornelius forcing businesses to hire local young people by not signing any more work permits for a year unless it is for a truly critical vacancy or for someone with specialized skills and degrees.

“We must seriously want to fix that problem. If we don’t I fear we will have a St. Maarten where violence is at a peak. One thing that concerns me greatly is all this gold snatching and that’s why I’ll be submitting a draft initiative law on pawn shops, along with some other motions during the public plenary session on the budget,” Laville said.

Later he’d add, “The young people need attention and we just need to get them employed. If we don’t there will come a time where we, as members of parliament, will need bodyguards because we’re being targeted. I am fearful and scared and I say wake up and see what’s going on. Our prison is a plantation and what future are we gonna have. I believe that the privileged people have their head in a slob troth and it will come back to bite us.”

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