Categorized | National News

Ex-Criminal Wants More Police in Community

A reformed criminal who once wreaked havoc on the streets of New Providence believes members of the government and the police have failed to address the root causes of crime.

Valentino Brown, 39, in his ‘gang-banging’ days, said did everything from robbing and stealing to attempting to take another person’s life.

However, the former gangster now community activist wants to help save today’s youth from a path that he says will only lead to Fox Hill Prison or even worse, an early grave.

Mr. Brown said police should take their battle with crime into schools and the communities where they can bond with the young males, particularly those between grades five and nine, who are looking for people to idolise and be like.

He said for the majority of children like him who were born in the drug era of the 1970s drug dealers became the role models who took them under their wings.

“When we [the Rebellion Raiders] were gang banging, all those young men, just like me somehow ended up deceased,” he said.

“I’m talking hundreds of young men in this country. I was the only one to break out and be able to do what I’m doing now. This country is facing a serious problem – young men that feel as though crime is the only way for them to make it in life. That is all they know.”

Mr. Brown says growing up, the people you would expect to get guidance from like pastors and policemen were the last people you would want to go to.

Fast forward 20-years later and after being shot at 22 times by 22 different people, he says today’s educational system hasn’t helped to make the situation any better because it continues to only cater to those who are into conventional careers.

“We have a tourism industry that is 120 steps away from our community,” he said.

“Why can’t we teach our girls how to braid hair? Why can’t we teach them how to do technical trades that can benefit them? Our educational system is not teaching our students the right things they need to know to be successful.

“Many of them are never going to make it to the College of The Bahamas and many of them will never make it to The Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI). So they are trapped in the community.”

He now heads his own organisation, “Movement for Change,” which connects with young men and women in urban communities and tries to steer them on the right path.

He has been doing this for the past decade and last Thursday night, he got a request for help from someone he least expected.

“The leader of one of the top three gangs in this country came up to me,” he said.
“For some strange reason, he saw me sitting down and he walked up to me and put his hand on my shoulder. He said to me “Scrooge, I like what you’re doing. Can you help me?” Now this is the same young man who controls all these young boys out there that are doing foolishness. But he came to me and asked how I can help him. If we help him, we solve a big problem.”

Mr. Brown was addressing Rotarians of East Nassau.

He urged them to get involved in the work he is doing, stressing that crime affects everyone.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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