As government moves to block minors from being admitted to nightclubs, Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas has suggested that adults boycott establishments which continue to allow juveniles.
Speaking during his weekly call-in programme he said the Criminal Amendment (Amendment) Bill, 2011 requires the support of the entire public.
The Bill will make it a criminal offence for anyone under 18-years-old to be admitted to night clubs, casinos, and other adult entertainment spots. Owners of these establishments would be fined up to EC$5,000 (US$1,851) the first time they are found guilty of breaking the law and could also lose their business licences for a second breach.
“This is not a matter that should be left up to the police, the courts, and the business owners alone. This is a matter that must call forth the vigilance and energy of the public at large. We cannot concern ourselves only with whether or not our own underage children are properly managed,” Prime Minister Douglas told listeners.
“We must now begin to speak up and let the owners of night-time establishments know that they will lose your business that you will leave and not return, if they continue to admit underage persons into their establishment.”
“In addition, you must not, through your silence, permit underage persons to feel comfortable in those establishments You must find a way, either through direct communication with the underage person, through the calling of the police, or to whatever way works best for you, find a way to make that young person understand that they are someplace that they should not be. Any person who takes the position that that is too much for them to do will have lost their right to lament and complain whenever there is a report of yet another young person gone astray,” he added.
Dr. Douglas lamented that a sense of social responsibility is sorely missing in the Caribbean and throughout the world.
“I know that you have all tuned on the international news and seen how children and young people in other countries are filming fights of themselves and placing these fights on the internet, making ‘cool’ and ‘trendy’ what once used to be a cause for real shame. And then, you are also aware of the filming by young people, all over the world, of what should be very private behavior between adults and placing this on the internet. This, too, is mainstreaming and making almost ‘no big deal’ what, not so long ago, would have been a cause for complete shock and disgrace in every corner of the globe,” he said.
“Then, in recent years, in our own region and beyond, some members of the older generation have been allowing the younger generation to go anywhere, do anything, behave anyhow, without restrictions,” said Prime Minister Douglas added, pointing out that this “has had terrible consequences for the young people involved, and it has had terrible consequences for our society as a whole.”
He said these troubling trends are encouraging a wild, animalistic approach to life, but assured that his government would try to turn the situation around in the twin-island federation.