BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Jan. 6, 2022– A few weeks ago, one of the first actions of the Leadership Intervention Unit (LIU) established by the Ministry of Affairs to curb crime on the Southside was a retreat held at Camp D’Silva in Mountain Pine Ridge, where 50 at-risk youths from at least two communities participated in various activities. Minister of Home Affairs, Hon. Kareem Musa and his LIU team informed local reporters this week of other initiatives being planned in 2022 to steer at-risk youth away from crime and to enable them to live more productive lives.
He mentioned that the current work program that is in place will continue, but noted, “We want to see how we can now diversify the type of work these young men are doing to get them more in line with what their strengths are. If they have a particular passion to do construction or to do welding, to give them that type of training that they never had and definitely to get them on this very successful path.”
Kevin Cadle, Acting Director of the Department of Youth Services, went on to list specific skills that the unit will be trying to help at-risk young men in these communities to acquire.
“Dr. Lorna McKay is charged with working directly with the young men within their neighborhoods to create remedial opportunities in Math, English, Information Technology, as well as graphic designs. We will meet with the Taiwanese Embassy next week, our counterpart, to start mapping out the graphic designs and information technology component for the young men. In terms of their skills building, the Center for Employment Training that we’re opening up at Mile 21, known as the Central Regional Youth Training Institute, will be participating in ensuring that electrical, plumbing, and all these different types of programs are given to the young men,” he said.
According to the chairman of the Leadership Intervention Unit, William Dawson, the young men being targeted by the program have so far been very responsive to these efforts. “We have seen there is a willingness on the part of these young men to actually partake in mediation and intervention…. These young men have been reaching out to us, and I can tell you that it has come to a point where they are the ones who are calling mediation, and we are just facilitating,” he said.
The next retreat will be held at the ending of January.