The Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) has warned that it will turn to enforcing legislation against loitering, in an effort to help curb the growing problem of loitering by school children in the Town of St George after school hours.
Loitering is a criminal offence according to Chapter 137 Subsection 25 and 26 of the Criminal Code. Any person found guilty can be imprisoned for up to 3 months, be charged EC$1000 and/or be fined and also be sent to prison.
“Children found so doing may be arrested. Parents and guardians may be held liable for failure to exercise proper care and guardianship of the children under their care,” stated a release from the Community Relations Department of the RGPF. “The RGPF is therefore calling on parents and guardians to step up with their responsibility and ensure that their children get at home within a reasonable time.”
The press release stated concerns with the increase in uniformed children who loiter in the area of the bus terminus and its environs as well as behind the Bruce Street mall on a daily basis, and that parents and guardians must be mindful of the negative influences that can affect children who are allowed to roam the streets with no restrictions. The release encouraged the necessary structures to be put in place, which will ensure school children proceed to their homes or to the care of their guardians as soon as possible.
Section 25 of the criminal code states that it an offence to assemble in public way for idle purpose, and not dispersing when required. Assemble means gathering with other persons in any public place, or in any open space near a public place, for any idle, vicious, or disorderly purpose, or otherwise than in the regular performance or in pursuance of some lawful calling or object, to the annoyance or obstruction of any passenger or person frequenting such public place or of any person living near it, and who does not move away when required by any peace officer.
Loitering about shops etc, means loiters, carouses, or the like in or about any shop, or in any public place, and who does not quietly move away when desired to do so by any constable or by the owner of the shop or his agent.
The RGPF is seeking the co-operation of the teachers and the parent-teachers associations in doing their part to ensure the children desist from this practice.
By Linda Straker