by Linda Straker
Michael Pierre, Speaker of the Lower House of Parliament, believes that there is an urgent need for organisations and institutions working in the area of empowerment and advocacy, to pay more attention to young men so that they can become better productive citizens, and not carry an image of violators of the law.
“Where are our young men! They fall by the wayside! They are suspended from school! Nobody follows up with them! They turn around and react; I am not saying they wouldn’t, what I am saying is the whole system has to address the violence against young men,” Pierre said while addressing the 1st sitting of the 6th Session of the 9th Parliament on Wednesday morning.
“The emphasis is on our young women, wonderful! But let us not forget equal emphasis must also be on our young men,” he told the members, some of whom rose to support and express their own concerns about the increasing level of domestic and sexual violence among young men that needs the intervention of the legal systems and advocacy organisations.
Pierre, a former principal of a secondary school, said that over the years he has observed in graduations from schools that many who complete the 5 years, are usually not the same figure that ends, and the main dropouts are boys.
Using an example, he said that a secondary school which started with 135 students only graduated 46 at the end of the 5 years and of the 46, only 16 were boys. “Where have they gone, what is happening to the young people, especially the young boys,” he questioned.
Pierre made his emotional plea on the same day that a 17-year-old juvenile secondary school dropout appeared in court facing a capital murder charge. The juvenile who could not be named because he is a minor was charged approximately 72 hours after a 9-year-old who was missing, was found dead.
Police investigations led to the juvenile as a suspect, which eventually lead to him being charged with causing her death.
Hundreds of curious persons gathered outside the St George’s Magistrate Court hoping to get a look at the accused, but many did not get the opportunity because the police entered and exited with him, by distracting the crowd with a detour vehicle.
Reporters were not allowed into the court. However, a court official confirmed that he did not have legal counsel and was remanded to the adult prison at Richmond Hill. He will return to court in early December. An official at the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution said that under the laws of Grenada because he is facing a murder charge, the state will have to provide him with a lawyer when the matter reaches the High Court. However, because he a minor, the magistrate court where the preliminary investigations are being conducted, can request a legal counsel for the juvenile who is also facing the charge of Harm for a Previous Incident.
The police are yet to provide the cause of death or the nine-year-old.