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Minister Encourages Women To Help Young Men

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Fred Mitchell is encouraging women to continue assisting young men – many of whom have fallen by the wayside. He said doing so would help alleviate the violence.

Mr. Mitchell was addressing participants at the Bahamas Crisis Centre’s Peace conference on Friday at the Sheraton Cable Beach Resort.

“The statistics show that women are out achieving men in the workplace and in the academe,” he said.

“Men are outpacing women in the prisons. The violent explosions that we see on our streets are manifested mainly in and by the young black male population. We cannot just throw our hands up in the air and give up. We have to help them. I believe that with all my heart and in public life as a Member of Parliament I spend much of my time struggling with this phenomenon. I am trying to figure out what do we do to change what is a now sadly accepted as a part of the culture.”

The foreign affairs minister then told participants about a personal encounter which he had with some young men which he said changed him.

“I am standing on the basketball court one night in Fox Hill,” he said. “There is a group of 17 to 21-year-olds on the court and they are talking to me after a basketball game. I turned my attention away for what seemed seconds and suddenly there was this argument. ‘Why you always dissing me’ or some such? Then the inevitable, you much be a sissy [boy]. You like man, eh?’‘Stop whining like a girl,’ says the other. Then they began to face off.”

“I called the first one over. I said hey ‘hey, why would you want to get yourself in trouble tonight over something so stupid? Why?’”

Minister Mitchell said he told the young men that they all had long lives to live and they should not risk that over something that will not matter 10 minutes from now.

“I do not know if my intervention will make any difference in the long run because these things are deep seated and cannot be corrected with some earnest speech,” he said.

“Nor it seems can they be corrected by an appeal to logic or rationality. Our kind of rationality does not compute. What I do know is that we cannot continue to allow unabated the orgy of violence of which that kind of story is one example all too typical that has led to death of injury.”

Mr. Mitchell said one obvious solution is work and training.
“You can see them on the backs of the construction trucks in the morning, lining up to go into the hotels, digging the holes in the road, fixing the electricity wires,” he said.

“Occupations fixed the mind on positive things. Skills are important to self-esteem. So our job as politicians is to fix this economy. Fix that, find work for our people and these young men and women we are so worried about will get about the business of building the country as they build a life for themselves. With 7000 jobs to come on stream in 2014 from the Baha Mar project; there is no time like the present to get these young men and women ready for the future.”

Another solution is continuing to dialogue in conferences such as the one the Bahamas Crisis Centre hosted.

“All of these are interventions to try to bring about peace and calm to our country and to our societies. I also say that policymakers can take a page out of the book of the women’s movement, which is seeing the fruits of its labour today as women excel in all areas. There’s nothing wrong with their excelling. In fact, it is to be applauded and lauded, but we cannot let the little boys lag behind,” he said.

“We do so at our peril and the price is too often violence against women. Women, therefore, have a stake in developing the public policy that will nature the boys as they become men in the same way that the girls continue to be nurtured well past their ninth birthdays.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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